Cat and Inappropriate Defectation and Urination
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Marnie Garcia
Posted on: November 27, 2006

I have 8 cats and 2 dogs. All of my cats are male except one female. She doesn’t mind the dogs, but once in a while one of the younger boy cats gets on her nerves by chasing her and just plain "bothering" her. She is about 7 years old and the other boy cats range from 11 all the way down to 2 years old. We live in a pretty spacious two story house. We keep a BIG litter box downstairs and one smaller one in an upstairs bathroom. Just recently, about a year ago, my female starting pooping outside of the litterbox if she felt it was too dirty. But, now we have a more serious problem, she is urinating on top of our open soffet (space) above our cupboards in the kitchen and it is sinking in the wood and causing the kitchen to stink and especially inside one of the cupboards it stinks bad. And she poops up there often as well. I talked to the vet about it and he said he felt it was definitely "behavioral" and that is why I put the second litter box upstairs. It worked only for a little while. Now, I am constantly trying to get rid of the urine smell. I have purchased a commercial product and some of the stuff with the pheremones that is supposed to keep them away from the areas. NOT WORKING! Do you have any tips? How do you get rid of the smell and what can I do to get her to avoid those areas? The vet says she wants a spot of her own, I don’t blame her, but I can’t have her urinating on wood when it is soaking in! Are there some herbs that I can scatter up there to make her quit?

Cats are very complex creatures and definitely know what they like and what they will not tolerate. Unfortunately, they do not speak "human" and we do not speak "cat" therefore we, as caretakers must be extra vigilant in understanding what messages animals are trying to relay. In this case, it does sound as though your cat is working very hard to let you know the status quo is not working for her. As you mention the "other boy cats range from 11 all the way down to 2 years old", does this mean a new cat came into the house shortly before she began her "messages" of inappropriate defecation? If not, did anything else happen around that time that would have affected her routine or status in the household?

In addition, cats are also very fastidious animals and some even more than others. Although you have one large and one small litter box, that still is not enough for eight cats, especially if the majority are males. You might want to try having a couple more boxes so that there are no more than two cats per box, making sure (as much as possible) that the boxes are in secluded spots where privacy and safety issues can be addressed.

There are further ideas in the posting on this website (www.richters.com) entitled "Cat and Inappropriate Spraying":

http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=./QandA/Animals/20060629-1.html

As for the areas already soaked in urine, you could try any of the products that are made from citrus concentrate followed by re-painting. Once this is done, place objects, boxes or anything that will fit in those areas so that your cat will not be able to access them. You may even want to block those areas in with a nice piece of crown moulding, if it fits with your decor.

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