Peeing outside the litter box, otherwise known as feline inappropriate
elimination, is one of the most frustrating and common behavioral problems some
cat lovers must endure. Feline inappropriate elimination refers to the location
of the deed, and it is considered inappropriate by most cat owners because
peeing on the bed, the rug, the curtains, the tile, the laundry or anywhere
outside of the litter box is not considered appropriate!
What many cat guardians may not know is that urinating outside the litter
box, or defecating for that matter, is a message from your cat. Cats have a
natural inclination toward sand. They prefer to dig in the soil before they
eliminate: that is why litter boxes are so effective, even in young kittens.
Cats do not naturally choose flat, hard, or cloth-like surfaces, and they do not
eliminate outside the litter box out of meanness or spite. Your cat is, in
essence, letting you know that something is wrong and is asking for help.
Unfortunately, this frustrating habit can be a multifaceted, difficult to
solve and is the number one reason cats are surrendered to shelters or forced to
live outdoors. The list of causes as to why a cat suddenly stops using his
litter box is long and potentially complicated, and can be a combination of both
medical and behavioral problems.
In this video, Dr. Sarah talks about idiopathic interstitial cystitis, one of
the most common medical causes of feline inappropriate elimination. Feline
idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is the term veterinarians use to indicate that “the
bladder is inflamed and we don’t entirely know why”. FIC accounts for 60-70% of
urinary disease seen by veterinarians in cats younger than 10 years of age, and
is marked by cats that pee outside their litter box, distressed meowing when
urinating and/or possibly bloody urine.
In the first of this two-part series, Dr. Sarah talks about how you can
recognize occurrences of FIC, the risk factors and possible causes of the