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How to Deal with Feline House Soiling

Posted September 19th, 2014 by admin

Cats are wonderful pets that can enrich our lives by encouraging us to play tug-a-war over yarn, providing entertainment as they chase shadows on the floor and by being there for us to snuggle with after a long day. Of course, as with anything that can benefit us, there are the occasional problems. With our fluffy feline friends, one of the common problems the owners deal with is feline house soiling.

Messy. Smelly. Frustrated. These are but a few words one might use if cleaning up the mess left from feline house soiling. Sadly, feline house soiling is one of the most common reasons cat owners abandon or relinquish their cats. This action, far too often, results in an abundance of cats in shelters and euthanasia. But fortunately, by taking preemptive steps, you can prevent, manage and even resolve the issues that lead to feline house soiling.

Perhaps one the most important things to remember is that feline house soiling is not a result of spite or anger. Rather, it is typically due to causes such as an illness, a feeling of being threatened, not enough litter boxes for the number of cats you have, your cat’s way of telling you that they do not like having outside guests or even a dislike of something about the litter box (i.e. the litter box is not clean enough, it is too close to their food bowl, or too close to a high traffic area).

In order to determine the exact cause of the feline soiling, you will want to see your vet, and ascertain if it is due to a physical problem. Your vet will ask you a number of questions to determine if the problem is a result of a health concern or if it is more psychological in nature. Outside of any physical problems, one of the most common causes of feline house soiling is connected to the litter box. If you would like to do so preliminary testing to see if you can determine the cause –especially if you suspect the litter box – then here are some changes you will want to try.

  • If your cat has decided a sink or bathtub is preferred to the litter box, then draw an inch of water in these locations.
  • Clean the litter box more often; most cats want no part of a litter box they deem too dirty.
  • Move the litter box from a high traffic area to a quieter one.
  • Safeguard previously soiled areas by placing furniture, motion detector alarms, bedding, toys, etc. over them.
  • Some cats prefer actual sand in the box; mix it in with the standard litter.
  • It might be necessary to try out different types of litter; however, each time you change the litter you will want to use a different box.
  • In a multi-cat household, having one box per cat is most effective.
  • Confine the cat to a small area along with the litter box. Often, cats will prefer to use the box rather than the floor. It is then a matter of keeping your cat confined until the use of the litter box becomes the norm. When using this method, be sure to only allow your cat out of the confined area when you are able to supervise.
  • Move furniture or close doors in order to deny your cat access to previously soiled areas.

Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Feline Soiling

Not only is establishing the cause of feline house soiling important, it is also vital that you know what not to do should your cat frequently resort to house soiling. These Don’ts are:

  • Swatting or physically punishing your cat
  • Rubbing your cat’s nose in the mess they made
  • Rough handling of your cat followed by placement in the litter box


Things you can do to curb feline soiling, without psychologically damaging your cat, include:

  • Making a loud noise to distract them
  • Squirting them with a water gun

But whatever you may do, do not let your cat know that you are the cause of the correction or noise as this will build distrust.

Dealing with feline house soiling can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. But the trial and error approach is a must. Talk to your cat’s vet to ascertain whether the soiling is caused by a physical or psychological problem, and then begin taking steps to cease the behavior.

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