One of the most important aspects of inappropriate elimination, whether it involves urine or feces, is to get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible. Never punish your cat when you find an ‘accident’, the cat will have no idea why you are hurting it and it will just make your cat more stressed and more likely to repeat the act. Consulting with your veterinarian is the first thing you should do – there could be much more to the problem than you might imagine.
There are a number of urinary conditions that can cause your cat to suddenly begin urinating outside of the box:
- Bladder infections are fairly common in cats and the irritation from the infection will cause your cat to force out small, but frequent, puddles of urine. Antibiotics are the answer.
- Bladder stones form from an alkaline diet, and these irritate the lining of the bladder, making it more likely that an infection will follow. Some stones can almost fill the bladder. These stones will have to be removed surgically, as will plugs in the urethra.
- Interstitial cystitis is a rather mysterious disease that combines both physical and mental factors. Stress seems to cause an inflammation of the nerves that are attached to the bladder, which then leads to a weakening of the protective mucus lining. Interstitial cystitis is treated mainly by varying the cat’s diet, giving pain medications and altering the environment. This results in lowering the cat’s stress levels.
If your cat is defecating outside the box, this may well be a sign that the gastrointestinal system is affected:
- Constipated cats will strain and struggle to poop, and often desperation forces them to do so wherever they are. A change of diet can often help.
- A number of things can cause your cat to have diarrhea, such as illness or infection. In this case, the cat may simply be unable to reach the box. You vet will have to diagnose the cause of the diarrhea and take appropriate steps to control it.
Treating the Psychological Aspect of Inappropriate Elimination
The sensitive nature of cats can put them under stress, and this can result in your cat’s inappropriate elimination. Some success has been achieved in reversing inappropriate elimination using medications such as the tranquillizer valium, and neurotransmitter blockers such as amitriptyline and buspar. Medications used to treat human depression, like clomipramine also have been effective.