In our previous article we talked about how to make the litter box more desirable in the eyes of your cat. But, in many cases, when house soiling is already occurring, that’s not enough. You have to make spots where housesoiling is occurring already, undesirable for your cat, as well.
If your cat had problems getting to a litter box for a while already, you’ve probably noticed he’s, usually targeting the same spots, or at least the same room in your house.
In the wild, cats use one or few locations for elimination purposes over and over again, and it’s similar for indoor pets, as well. If the carpet over here is better than a litter box over there, then the carpet it is, and up until the carpet is not made less desirable he’s not gonna have any reason to change something.
This is why improving your cat’s litter box, usually is not enough. You have to make the carpet, behind the sofa, or in the center of your living room less desirable for elimination. And here’s how you should do it.
Start with cleaning the spot, to stop inappropriate elimination by your cat
It’s the first step to do. As we already said, cats naturally have specific places where to eliminate, and, the best identification of them is their smell. If the place smells urine, the cat knows it’s the right place. So, clean off the dirt and make sure you use a detergent that is labeled for pet odor removal. “Regular” soap may not remove it completely, remember, your cat’s nose is way stronger than yours, so he can easily pick up even small partition of the smell, and assume that this is the place to go.
We are not gonna tell you how to clean, as there are different detergents available, and your cat may be eliminating on different surfaces. Make sure to read the labels and clean accordingly to manufacturer’s recommendations.
But what if you do not have a single spot where your cat eliminates? What is he’s targeting a whole room, or what if he’s going randomly, and what if his housesoiling has been going on for ages, so you cant possible remember where he’s been eliminating?
There is a solution in a form of black light, also called an ultra violet light. In this light your pet’s urine will fluorescence, and you will be able to identify spots you must clean. You will be surprised, how many of those are there, so, no wonder your cat thinks your carpet is one large litter box, so, there you must make a decision, can you clean it all, or should you change a carpet. You can find more information about black light usage here.
Block access to undesirable elimination locations
Now, that everything is fresh and lovely smelling, should you expect house soiling problems disappear? Unfortunately, not.
Even if you already have a desirable litter box for your cat, he may still use the same locations, no matter how clean they are. It all depends on individual situations, but the cat may have been developed a habit to use a specific location for elimination, so, you must block access to those locations in one way or another, at least for the time your cat develops new habits.
If your cat is targeting the whole bedroom, you , probably, should keep the door to it closed, at times you are not present to distract your cat.
If your cat has preferred few specific spots, you can work on them locally. In example, place a foot table in front of the location, put a plastic lining over the carpet in the specific corner. Place rocks or aluminum foil over the dirt in the pot. Whatever the location is, you may always think of something that will make this spot less comfortable to your cat.
However, make a notice, if you make a one corner of your room undesirable for your cat, he may still find that the other corner is now a good place to go. Even if he did not use it before.
Also, a good thing is placing a litter box on top, in front of, or right next to the spot. Your cat may find that the location is excellent, but the litter box in the same location is even better.
At first, it may seem dull placing a litter box in the middle of your living room, but don’t worry, it’s temporary. When your cat seems to use the box in that location, you may start the transition. Every day move the litter box few inches towards the desired location. Keep in mind, it must meet all the requirements for being a good litter box location.
Try other activities in the rooms where your cat is housesoiling
When elimination spots are clean and uncomfortable to your cat, you should make them associate those places to something else. In nature cats have elimination locations, and they do not use those for other purposes. That is, they do not eat, drink play or sleep in them.
And, to make your carpet less desirable for elimination purposes, you should implement other activities to those locations. Like, play with your cat in the same room every day or move his bed and feeding station closer to the location.
Food must work great, because cats in nature NEVER hunt and eat close their elimination spots. If he has food available in one location at a time, he has no choice, he must eat there, so he’s gonna find a better place for elimination, and this is your chance the make litter box his next best choice.
So, it’s easy to remember – clean, make uncomfortable and implement other activities in those locations where your cat is already house soiling. However, do not skip any other part to make your cat use his litter box.
Check his health, find out why your cat is avoiding the box, provide a better box, provide more than one box, place them in a good location from your cat’s point of view, train him to use the box, if necessary, and even think how can you improve the rest of your cat’s surroundings to make him less stressed, thus more responsive to your house order. You skip, or fast forward one of these, and all your effort becomes useless.
This article is a part of series about stopping housesoiling in cats.