Some of the most annoying -- and odiferous -- forms of cat misbehavior center around bathroom habits. Spraying urine and avoiding the litter box are two common problems in this category.
Possible causes: Spraying is one of the ways in which cats mark their territory. Your cat's territorial instincts might have been aroused by the addition of a new pet to the family, the regular appearance of another cat outside the window, or a heightened stress level in the household. Male cats also spray to attract females.
- In most cases, spraying stops almost immediately after a male cat is neutered.
- If it doesn't, or if there's a reason your cat can't be neutered (for example, if he is a purebred stud cat), address the root cause of his marking impulse.
- On a practical level, try placing his food and water dishes close to his favorite spraying target -- cats generally won't spray near where they eat.
- When cleaning up his wet spots, avoid products that contain ammonia. Ammonia is a component of cat urine, and the similarity of the smell will draw your cat back to the same spot to do further damage.
Problem: Your cat urinates and defecates somewhere other than in her litter box.
Possible causes: Your cat may be suffering from a urinary problem or disease. If not, she might have objections to the condition of her box.
- Start with a trip to the vet, to rule out potentially serious medical problems.
- If your cat receives a clean bill of health, turn your attention to the litter box. Are you scooping out solid waste and clumping litter daily? Is there enough litter for your cat to get comfortable -- or is there too much? Does your cat dislike the scent or feel of the type of litter you're using? Tend to these concerns and your smelly problem will be solved.
Continued on page 2: Biting and Scratching