My cat has started to go to the toilet in the house rather than in the litter tray. Can you help?

Author: Aussie Vet Products   Date Posted:15 April 2014 

Jonathan writes:


My cat has started to go to the toilet in the house rather than in the litter tray. Can you help? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hi Jonathan,

There are a few reasons why your cat may have started going to the toilet in other areas of your house. Have you recently moved house? Moved your cat's litter tray? Introduced a new cat into your family?  or changed something about your cat’s litter tray such as the type of litter used?

Cats are territorial animals are also creatures of habit and normally a small change in their environment can become very distressing. This stress can result in unwanted behaviours such as urine marking or spraying, toileting in other areas of the house or scratching furniture. The reason for this is that cats organise everything in their environment using a system of facial pheromone recognition.

Cats use facial pheromones to mark objects or areas in the environment as ‘safe zones’. They also organise their territory into ‘isolation areas’:  where they feel safe to rest, ‘activity areas’:  where they can play or eat and ‘passageways’: between these areas where they can explore. In addition to this cats can also mark areas they feel are not safe, with behaviours like urine spraying or scratching.

If you have recently moved house or moved the position of your cats litter tray, then you have in fact disrupted your cat’s territory.

Your cat may be experiencing stress associated with this and is trying to mark out a new territory.

I can recommend a fantastic product called Feliway that will help your cat to accept their new environment.

It is the only product on the market that is a synthetic copy of a cat’s naturally occurring facial pheromone.  This product can be plugged into a power socket and diffused into a particular room or sprayed on areas such as the couch, cats bedding, carpets etc. It helps tell your cat that these areas are in fact “safe zones” and should not be marked again.

Usually cats do not like to go to the toilet anywhere near where they like to eat, so make sure these two areas are separated. Cats also like their privacy so I would recommend placing the litter box in an area that is quiet and protected, so your cat will feel safe.

If you have recently changed your type of litter in your cats litter tray, this may also be a reason your cat does not want to use it. I would recommend changing the litter back to the type of litter your cat is used to.

If your cat is urine spraying in other areas of your house, these areas will need to be cleaned properly with a special enzyme based cleaner that will help to completely remove any trace of the urine. I would recommend Urine Free odour and strain remover.

If this is not done correctly, your cat will continue to smell the urine and may continue to spray in these areas.  These areas will then need to be sprayed with feliway so that your cat understands they are ‘safe zones’ within the house.

If the problem does not improve after looking at all these factors I would highly recommend a trip to your local vet.

Kind regards,

Dr Simon