Litterbox Accidents

Cats are wonderful, unique creatures. Whether you love them or prefer dogs instead, cats are symbols of grace and beauty. We enjoy watching our furry friends frolic and enjoying themselves. However, messes outside the litterbox are not fun to find or clean up.

There are a couple of guidelines when it comes to kitty issues. One, cats hate change and even sick cats will act normal until they are too sick to “keep up the act”. Secondly, cats are fastidious and not only love to keep themselves clean but also like clean litterboxes. Therefore, urine or feces outside the litter box usually, but not always, means one of two things: illness or stress.

Behavourial stress is one of the most common reasons that cats urinate outside their boxes. Peeing outside the litterbox can be due to changes at home (schedules, relatives visiting, home renovations, celebrations). This can also be due to other pets, changes in the brand of pet food they usually eat, changes in litter or litterboxes. Illness is the other main factor for cats leaving messes elsewhere in the house. Urinary tract infections, bladder stones and urinary crystals are some of the common issues among the many possible causes. When in doubt, please contact your veterinary. Each case must be assessed individually.

Happily, there is a lot that you and I can do at home to keep our feline friends happy. We need to remove urine and feces daily to keep boxes clean and free from unpleasant smells. In homes with more than one cat, there should be one box for every cat plus one extra box. Litterboxes should be placed in open, quiet areas to make them inviting to use from a cat’s perspective. If you have many cats, there should be a box on each level in the house or 1 box in a room. Litterboxes should be cleaned with soap and water on a monthly basis. Cats can also be very particular about the litter type. Most cats prefer unscented litter and lots of it. Hooded litterboxes need to be cleaned more frequently as they hold in the smell. However, most cats prefer open boxes.

Litterboxes are also a great way to see how healthy your cat is internally. There should be urine and feces in the box daily. Feces should be long in length, like Tootsie Rolls. If you see any poop that is soft or has blood or mucus, please contact your veterinarian. Male cats, in particular, should pee daily; no urine in 24 hours, straining or crying is very important, and you should notify your vet immediately.

We hope that you have gained some important insight into why you have been finding messes from your cat(s) around the house. This may mean that you need to check the litterboxes and get that pooper scooper in gear! You may also want to check with your veterinary team, especially if there are other behaviour changes. We hope this information will help you enjoy and understand your feline friend even more. Have a wonderful Fall Season!

Written by Dr. Rhonda Boulter