by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

You have cleaned the litter box and allowed kitty constant access to it, yet he still messes and wets outside the box. Does your pet care? No! It’s not an accident; it’s on purpose!

What gives?

cat litter

Eliminating outside the litter represents one of the more common and frustrating behavioral problems among indoor cats; however, it’s possible to remedy the problem.

Are you on vacation? Is your cat being cared for by a professional cat sitter or a pet sitting service? Is there a change in your routine? Did you just relocate? Is there turmoil in your home?

Lets face it, he box may not be as clean kitty likes. Cats’ noses are much more sensitive than humans’ sniffers. If the box smells a tad “off” to you, it smells like a portable toilet at the end of an August festival to him. Scoop litter twice daily and hire a pet sitter drop by and tidy it if you are on vacation or otherwise must be gone overnight.

The “ideal” location for your cat’s box could frighten him. The quiet laundry room can be scary if the thudding of sneakers in the dryer scares him. The spare room closet may feel claustrophobic. Try a better location that has plenty of access and privacy.

The box itself could present issues if it’s shared, feels too small or has a cover that restricts his view. He doesn’t want anyone sneaking up on him.

If a cat experiences painful elimination from constipation or other reasons, he may try new locations, hoping to find the place where it doesn’t hurt. Cats often conceal illnesses, so even if he’s otherwise behaving normally, he could be sick. Your vet can help ensure it’s not illness that makes him skip the box.

He could be marking territory, especially if your cat is an intact male (though females also mark sometimes) and seems to wet in the same place repeatedly, spray a small amount on a vertical surface, and the urine smells very bad.

Get your cats altered. Provide plenty of litter boxes for your cats (one each, plus an extra). Thoroughly clean any area that has been sprayed, using an enzymatic product, not an ammonia-based cleaner, which smells like the ammonia in urine. Daily spray the area with cat repellant or with a citrus spray. Or, restrict access to the area if possible.

Some pet parents find success by making the sprayed area positively attractive to the cat. Try placing his feeding bowls, catnip or bed on the newly cleaned area.

Reduce territorial stress by blocking access to outside views of dog walkers and deter stray cats to your yard with motion-activated sprinklers.

Your cat could be unduly stressed because of household changes or absences. Instead of kenneling him or leaving him home alone without anyone checking in on him, book a pet sitter during your vacation. That way, kitty can relax at home and receive TLC from the cat sitter. Good cat sitters take the time to groom and play with their cat clients, giving them the attention they need to feel content.

Use a local cat sitter serving Milwaukee, Kenosha, Brookfield, Wauwatosa or wherever you make your home so the company can send an employee as frequently as you need help. If they’re too far away, your cat may not get the frequent attention he needs.

Using a litter box appeals to feline instinct to bury waste. Help him tap into his natural tendencies and eliminate where he should.