Cat’s Indoor Accidents

CatChannel behavior expert Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, explains why cats must have a litterbox.

Q: My neutered male cat recently started relieving himself in the house. He is allowed to go in and out whenever he wants while we are home. If he is inside during the day, and we are gone at work, he is trained to wait and not mess in the house. Today I came home and he had pooped in the dining room even though my boyfriend was in the other room and always lets him out. Why is he doing this? He is driving me crazy, and my boyfriend wants him to stay outside for good. Please help.

A: Your cat is defecating in the dining room because he doesn’t have a more appropriate place to go to the bathroom, and he can’t wait until you get home and let him outside. Put yourself in the cat’s paws. How would you feel if you had to wait hours before being able to go to the bathroom? Cats need clean litter boxes in the house. Even though your cat is allowed outside, it is too much to expect him to wait until you are home to go to the bathroom. Another consideration for cats that are inside/outside cats is the weather. It is not uncommon for cats to not want to go outside in inclement weather.

The litterbox rule is to have one box per cat and one for the house. If you have two cats, you need three boxes in different locations in the house. Litterboxes should be large and uncovered, and they need to be scooped daily. Clean boxes with a good litter are not obvious to the nose … but they will help ensure that your cat won’t use your dining room for his bathroom.

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