How To Solve Cat House Training Problems

One of the reasons why it can be difficult to solve any type of cat behavior problem relating to house training/house soiling or litter box avoidance, is because you have to identify the cause.

The most difficult part of solving litter box avoidance problems is figuring out what caused the problem in the first place. Unfortunately, cats are very sensitive to change - and if your cat had been using the litterbox faithfully and then suddenly stopped, something has changed whether you are aware of it or not.

So your goal is to find out what has changed.

Here are a few questions to keep in mind:

The most important thing to consider when you need to figure out what has caused a house soiling problem is: Approximately when did the house soiling begin?

2nd most important: Are you certain it's not a health issue such as an Urinary Tract Infection? (The #1 symptom of an UTI is litter box avoidance)

Here are a few other questions to consider that will help you pinpoint the cause:

Did anything at all change near the time when the behavior started? (Try to think of everything, no matter how unimportant it seems)

Have you recently moved to a new house?

Have you introduced a new cat/dog/ferret/roommate into your house?

Have any of the litter boxes been moved? (Maybe he or she has a favorite box to use and that particular one was moved)

Have you rearranged any of your furniture or added new furniture?

Are you completely positive you know which one of your cats is soiling on the carpet?

If you have multiple cats, are they getting along?

Inter-cat tension is actually a lot harder to spot than most owners realize. Your cats may not be physically fighting with each other, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are getting along. One of your cat's may actually be "silently" intimidating one of the others, but you don't know how to read the signs so you aren't aware of it.

If you know exactly which cat isn't using the litter box, and you know which litter box that cat usually uses, watch to see if any of the other cats tend to spend extra time "hanging out" near that box.

If you have any covered litter boxes, pay close attention to any cats that tend to sit on top of the litter box.

One surefire method of retraining a strong-willed cat is to put the cat in a nearly empty room for a few days, with only a few toys, a scratching post, water, a comfortable bed and a litter box.

When using this technique to house train your cat, make sure you don't allow access to the rest of the house until the cat has been completely retrained and there's no risk of further accidents.

Some people are stunned when they realize just how many things can cause a litter box avoidance problem. What they don't realize is that a cat's bathroom habits are actually a very complicated and delicate piece of a cat's life, and it can be easily disturbed


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Liz Barton
Cat House Training

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