Cat Behavior Problems

If your cat is exhibiting one of the dreaded cat behavior problems — urinating outside of the litter box — take her to the veterinarian first to rule out any medical conditions that may be causing the problem. Once you’ve ruled that out you’ll need to be a bit attentive to find the root of the behavioral problems.

Cat stress, cat aging, and litter box preferences are some of the main factors that contribute to cat behavioral problems like peeing outside of the litter box. Knowing how to remove cat urine may be an important skill to master during this time.

Cat Stress

Cat stress is often a cause of urinating outside of the litter box. Cats can be anxious about changes in their environment and they often show their anxiety in ways we label bad cat behavior. Things like moving, changes in routine, new pets or new people in the household, as well as pets or people leaving the household can cause cat stress. Physical factors such as obesity, illness or trauma can also cause cat stress.

To help avoid a cat behavioral problem, or to curb or stop an existing one, it’s best to try to decrease or even eliminate the cat stressors when possible. It helps to have an effective cat urine remover on hand too, just in case.

When moving keep the cat in a quiet room while packing and on moving day. When at the new residence. again, keep the cat in a quiet room with food, water, a litter box and a familiar bed or blanket. Continue to feed and change the litter box at the same time to keep a routine, and remember to spend time with her during this adjustment period. Then gradually let her explore the new home.

To help curb cat behavior problems when increasing or decreasing the size of the household, whether the change is people or pets, it’s important to keep the same routine with your cat and give her plenty of attention. When bringing a new cat into the household it’s best to keep them separated initially, giving each of them plenty of attention. Let them get used to the new smells, then gradually introduce them.

You also may want to try using pheromones to help with cat behavior problems caused by cat stress. Pheromone products, like Feliway are designed to reduce anxiety in cats. When your cat rubs on surfaces she’s leaving pheromones. These face pheromones are said to have a calming effect on other cats.

I’ve known people, including myself, who have also had good luck using Bach flower remedies, as well as herbal and homeopathic remedies for stress to help curb anxiety when going through times of change or blending households and pets.

Aging Cats

Is your elder cat not using the litter box regularly anymore? As cats reach their elder years they can start experiencing joint pain and problems with mobility; this can cause them to urinate outside of the litter box. Make sure your elder cat is able to get in and out of the litter box easily. You may need to buy a new box with a lower side, or place a step in front of the litter box and fill it with enough litter so it’s easy for her to get out but not so much that it is difficult for her to use. Also make sure the litter box is near the area where she spends most of her time so it is easy for her to get to and use.

Watch for medical conditions like feline urinary tract infections or feline constipation as your cat ages. Always make sure they have fresh water in a place with easy access, where they spend a lot of time. Don’t feed your elder cat dry food only. Their food is a source of water so if they only eat dry food they may not be getting enough liquids. You may also want to look into foods that have probiotics to help with intestinal health. You can find these online at Amazon or Only Natural Pet.

Litter Box Preferences

Some cats are, or become, pretty finicky when it comes to their litter box. They’ll let you know when they’re unhappy about the set up by exhibiting cat behavior problems like not using the litter box anymore. To avoid or stop cat behavioral problems be attentive to the type of litter, the location of the box and the cleanliness of it.

The litter you are using can be one factor. As a general rule it’s better to get unscented litter because the strong smell of some litters can cause cats to avoid using the litter box. If you want something to help with odor you can try sprinkling a little baking soda in the box.

You may also need to experiment with different types of cat litter (clumping, non-clumping, wheat, corn, pine etc) and different depths of litter in the box. The different types and textures can make a difference to your cat. Learn more at: Choosing the Best Cat Litter.

The litter box shouldn’t be in a high traffic area, or near your cat’s food or water. Just like us cats like the place where they go to the bathroom to have a sense of privacy. It should also be easily accessible, for instance on the same floor of the house where she spends most of her time.

All litter boxes should be cleaned daily. Some cats won’t use a dirty litter box and will find an alternate place to go. If you have multiple cats you should have at least one litter box for each cat. You may even consider getting an automatic litter box so it is automatically cleaned regularly.

As frustrating as cat behavior problems can be it’s not good to punish the cat by rubbing her nose in the mess. If she is already suffering from cat stress this will only increase the stress and in turn potentially increase the problem.

Here are a few other things you may want to try to help with your cat’s behavior problems:

  • If you catch your cat in the act of eliminating outside of the litter box use a correction technique that won’t associate you with the correction. You can use a spray bottle filled with water, or something to make noise like a whistle. Something to startle, but not hurt her.
  • Try feeding her in the place where she is eliminating. Most cats won’t eat in the same place where they are going to the bathroom.
  • Take her to the litter box frequently and when she uses it praise her, maybe even give her a treat.
  • Try keeping her in a separate room with her food, water, bed, toys and litter box. When she gets used to using the litter box in the smaller area slowly expand her living space.

Dealing with cat behavior problems can be difficult, but the best solution is to be attentive and try to figure out what’s causing the bad cat behavior so you can help modify it and live in harmony with your feline friend. Remember that the best solution is prevention. Of course this isn’t always possible, in which case it is important to get to the root of the problem before the behavior becomes too routine.

Cats experience anxiety and stress too; sometimes we need to try to look at things from their perspective.