It is usually very difficult to determine the specific causes of inappropriate elimination, so we recommend the following approach, which will eventually cover all the necessary bases:
- Visit your veterinarian: this is your first step, to determine if there are any medical concerns. In addition, your vet should be a good source of ideas and will act as a gudie as you resolve the problem.
- Litter changes:
great things to try: they are cheap, easy and often effective.
Make sure to keep careful notes about what you try and give each change at least a week to decide if it is helping.
- Litter boxes: work your way through the following changes to see if there is any change in behvavior:
- number, type & location of boxes: add an additonal box or two, try a different kind of box (some cats prefer covered boxes), move some boxes to a new location. This will help if the behavior was triggered by one of these factors.
- Type of litter: change tghe type of litter in some of the boxes. There are many types of litter, including regular clay, scoopable, crystals, wheat, corn, recycled newspaper. This will help if your cat has developed an aversion to the specific type of litter.
- Environmental changes:think of anything that might have changed in the cat's environment around the time you first noticed the inapproriate elimination. If you can, change the environment to eliminate the offensive stimulus.
For example, if you recall that stray cat showed up outside the living room window around the time the behavior started, this may have caused your cat anxiety. You would close the blinds/curtains for a while to see if that eliminated the offensive bevahvior.
- Drugs: if none of the above suggestions work, we suggest you discuss the use of drugs with your vet. There are a number of drugs that are useful in controlling any underlying anxiety or aggressiveness that is causing inappropriate elimination.
Many people are hesitant to try drugs, but we have used them many times, always without regret. We have used fluozetine, amitriptyline, clomipramine with success There are many drug choices and your vet will be the best judge of which to use. Be aware that it takes for these kinds of drugs to take effect and you may have to try several before finding one that works.
- Behavioral counseling: we strongly urge you to try behavioral counseling if nothing else has worked. You can read our suggestions on counseling here.