Litterpan or Elimination Behavior Problems

Litterpan problems are very common in cats. It helps to think about this problem from the cat's point of view sometimes when trying to deal with it. Cats like to have a clean, inviting place to defecate and urinate.Remember some of the dirty bathrooms you have had to decide whether to use or not, and you can relate to this feeling. So it is very important to make the litterpan as attractive as possible for use.

Keeping a Cat Litterpan Clean

Keep it very clean. Use a litter that the cat likes. The clumping type litters are the most commonly preferred litters in surveys of cat preference.If you are not using this type and your cat has a problem, it can help to switch.

The litterpan should be in a convenient, but private or at least semi-private site.

It helps very much to have one more litterpan than you have cats. In multicat litter households where this is impractical, it can help to give the problem cat access to the litterpan, alone, for several minutes twice aday.

When a cat is using a place in the house other than the litterpan to urinate or defecate, the opposite is also true. You want to make these spots unattractive. Cleaning the area with an enzymatic cleaner so the cat is not drawn back to the same site helps. Putting plastic or aluminum foil over the area, if possible, can be very helpful. Putting the litterpan at the site the cat prefers, then very gradually moving it to a site you like can be helpful.

Cat Not Using the LitterPan

Cats may not be using the litterpan because they are ill. Cystitis (abladder infection or inflammation) is a common problem that can lead to litterpan aversion. One theory is that the cat associates the litterpan with the painful sensation or urinating with this disease and avoids it.Some anatomical defects can lead to an increased need to urinate frequently.Diseases that increase the need to urinate, like diabetes and hyperthyroidism should be ruled out if that seems appropriate. Disorders that might affecta cat's ability to get to the litterpan, like low potassium levels in the bloodstream or arthritis need to be considered. If there are no medical problems and good litterpan maintenance is in place, then the problem ismore likely to be behavioral.

Not Using the Litterpan due to Marking Territory

Some cats are not using the litterpan because they are marking territory.This can occur in either male or female cats. It is more common in cats in multi-cat households, especially if there are five or more cats. It can occur when an inside cat is bothered by frequent appearances of ano utside cat at the windows. In this case, limiting access to seeing the other cat can help. If a cat is not neutered, this should be done first.Neutering is often helpful, even after urine marking (spraying) behavioris established. Currently, it is estimated that 80 to 90% of cats willstop urine marking within a couple of months after neutering. When neutering alone does not work, urine marking behavior is often responsive to medical therapy with medications like diazepam (Valium) or buspirone (Buspar).It can be responsive to megestrol acetate (Ovaban), but this medication has significant side effects that must be considered. It should be a last resort medication. Your vet can help you decide that best approach to this problem.