By Dr. Rochelle Campbell
Do you have a cat that is urinating or defecating outside of the litter box? For many cat owners, this is a frustrating problem. Inappropriate elimination issues are one of the leading causes for cats to be re-homed, placed to live outside or even sometimes euthanized.
There can be a number of reasons cats do not use a litter box. They could have a urinary tract infection or bladder stones. Sometimes they dislike the litter type that is being used. Sometimes they are stressed about their environment. The addition of a new family member or pet could easily cause stress to a cat and this could be enough to create a situation where the cat will no longer use the litter box.
If your cat is not using the litter box anymore, the first step is to make an appointment with your veterinarian. There, testing can be performed to determine if a medical cause is to blame for the behavior. These tests may include bloodwork, a urinalysis and X-rays. If all of the test results are normal, then your veterinarian will work with you to determine the best options for managing the inapproriate elimination behavior. Owners must also be patient as sometimes it can take a while to find the best combination of therapies that work for a particular pet. These types of problems may not always be solved completely but it is worth it to explore the options so your cat (and you) will live in harmony again!