Inappropriate Elimination DisordersOct 15th, 2010 | By Michelle | Category: Featured Articles
What is “inappropriate elimination?”
This is a term that means that a cat is urinating and/or defecating in the house but not in the litter box.
What causes it?
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is essential that you rule out illness that may be causing the problem. Please have your cat vet-checked prior to determining next steps.
There are many possible non-medical causes that fall into two general categories: 1) dislike of the litter box, and 2) stress-related misbehavior.
Why should a cat not like its litter box?
One of the main reasons for this is because the litter box has become objectionable. This usually occurs because it is not cleaned frequently enough or because the cat doesn’t like the material in it. The latter is called substrate aversion; it can occur because the litter was changed to a new, objectionable type, or because the cat just got tired of the old litter.
What stresses can cause inappropriate elimination?
There are probably hundreds of these, but the most common ones are as follows:
A new person (especially a baby) in the house
A person that has recently left the house (permanently or temporarily)
Several new pieces of furniture
Rearrangement of furniture
Moving to a new house
A new pet in the house
A pet that has recently left the house
A new cat in the neighborhood that can be seen by the indoor cat
A cat in heat in the neighborhood
A new dog in the neighborhood that can be heard by the indoor cat
I feel that this is a problem that cannot be tolerated, even if the cat has to leave my house. Is that wrong?
No, many people are very proud of their home and feel that way. But there are things that can be attempted before surrendering your pet.
Can the problem be treated?
Yes, in most cases. You should work with your veterinarian to determine the best method for addressing the issue of inappropriate elimination.
Treatment is more likely to be successful if several of the following are true:
The duration is less than one month when treatment begins
There are only one or two locations in the house where the cat is inappropriately eliminating
It is possible to identify and relieve the stress-causing situation
It is possible to neutralize the odor caused by the urine or feces
You have only one cat
What is involved with treatment?
Most successful treatments rely on a combination of behavior modification and drug therapy.
What are behavior modification techniques, and how are they used?
They can be described as Aversion Therapy and Attraction Therapy. The former repels the cat from the inappropriate location, and the latter encourages the cat to choose an appropriate location.
The purpose of Aversion Therapy is to make the area of inappropriate urination or defecation undesirable for the cat. There are many ways to do this, but the following steps have proven successful in a high percentage of cases.
A product to neutralize the odor of urine or feces should be used in places where inappropriate urination or defecation has occurred. If the objectionable location is on carpet, it is necessary to treat the carpet and the pad below because most of the odor will be in the pad. This usually means soaking the carpet with the neutralizing product so it penetrates into the pad. Test an inconspicuous piece of carpet for staining before using any odor-neutralizing product.
Cover the area(s) with aluminum foil and secure it to the carpet or furniture with masking tape. Aluminum foil is a surface on which most cats won’t walk.
If the soil in potted plants is being used, place a lemon-scented air freshener at the base of the plant. This will usually repel the cat.
The purpose of Attraction Therapy is to make the litter box more desirable than the inappropriate site. The following are usually successful:
Purchase a new litter box; even well-cleaned litter boxes have odor deep in the plastic. It is important not to use a litter box with a hood. Although we like our privacy, most cats find a hooded litter box undesirable.
Purchase non-scented clumping litter. If your cat has not been using this type of litter, it will usually find it more desirable than the clay types. That increases the chances that the new litter box will be used.
Place the new litter box near the area of inappropriate urination until it is used for several days, then move it 2-3 feet per day back to the desired location.
Keep the existing litter box in the normal location in case the aversion therapy causes your cat to return to it.
What drugs are used?
There are several that have been used. Generally, they fall into three categories:
Anti-depressants, including amitripyline and buspirone
Tranquilizers, including diazepam and Phenobarbital
Hormones, including megestrol acetate and medroxyprogesterone acetate
Are these drugs approved for use in cats?
No. All of these were developed as anti-depressants or tranquilizers for humans. However, most have been used on enough cats to give us reason to believe that they are very safe.
I understand that buspirone has gained popularity recently. What is this drug?
Buspirone (trade name Buspar®) is an antidepressant drug prescribed by physicians; it is a human drug, not a veterinary drug. It has been shown to be effective in a significant number of cats with elimination behavior problems.
Its success rate is not 100% but, for the intended purpose, it has been show to be more effective than many of the other drugs.
How is buspirone dosed?
The following outline should be followed. If the sequence is not clear, please call your veterinarian for further instructions.
1) Give 5 mg (1 tablet) twice daily for 1 week
a) If there is no response, give 7.5 mg (1 ½ tablets) twice daily for 1 week
– If there is no response, discontinue bispirone
b) If there is good response, give 5 mg twice daily for 8 weeks
2) If a relapse occurs after successful therapy, resume buspirone at a dose of 5 – 7.5 mg twice daily and continue for 6-12 months
**As with any product that you would put on your carpet, flooring or furniture, please test for colorfastness. To test for colorfastness, mix a small amount of the solution and place on a hidden area of your carpet. Wait 24 hours or until carpet is dry before proceeding to full treatment.**
**We recommend extreme caution when treating fine fabrics and upholstery. You must be EXTRA CAREFUL in checking for colorfastness. Do not skip this step, thinking, “Oh, I’m sure it will be fine!” It may not! You must test a hidden area and wait 24 hours before proceeding to a full treatment.**
16 oz. (2 cups) hydrogen peroxide
2 tsp. baking soda
2 small drops liquid dishwashing soap (Dawn, Palmolive, etc.)
Place all ingredients in a glass jar or bowl. Gently stir–do not beat or shake–until baking soda is dissolved.
If urine is fresh, be sure to blot up any excess urine with dry paper towels or a dry washcloth before the next step.
Pour mixture over urine spot, making sure to cover the entire spot. Allow mixture to completely soak the area being treated. Do not rub or scrub! Let sit for 24 hours without disturbing.
After 24 hours, take clean paper towels or a clean, white washcloth and blot up any remaining liquid (Again, do not rub or scrub.).
Allow area to air dry completely. If you are treating carpet, you can vacuum over the area when dry.
Makes 16 oz. (2 cups) of solution.
The solution is most active for one hour after mixing. Be sure to apply the solution within this time period for maximum effectiveness.
Do not enclose the mixture in an airtight container, or you could have a big mess on your hands! The reason for this is because when the ingredients are combined they release oxygen (Remember making “volcanoes” out of baking soda and vinegar when you were a little kid? Similar principle here.)
For really tough odors, you may have to treat the area more than once. Carpet, furniture and mattresses typically require 1-2 treatments. Concrete, wood, tile and other hard surfaces usually need 3-5 treatments (1 treatment per day).
For concrete and other hard surfaces, you want to make enough of the recipe to completely cover the stain. Pour or spray the solution on and let it soak, soak, soak. Do not mop or wipe up. Let it sit for 24 hours (depending on the humidity level, it will usually evaporate during this time). Repeat the treatment once a day for 3-5 days.
If you purchased the recipe to treat an oriental rug, please use extreme caution. Sometimes the dyes used in the rugs are not colorfast. We are not responsible for damage to rugs.
ALTERNATE METHODS OF APPLICATION:
Spray bottle–A spray bottle works best for applying the solution to small areas of concrete, linoleum, or other hard surfaces. It is also the best way to apply the solution to vertical surfaces like walls, shower tile and furniture. Just be sure to thoroughly spray the area you are treating. A spray bottle is generally not the best way to treat carpet.
Mop–A mop is a good way to apply the solution to large areas of concrete, linoleum, or other hard surfaces. Generously apply the solution to the surface and let it soak. Do not mop or wipe up.
Garden watering can–A garden watering can is best for medium to large areas–indoors or outdoors.
Carpet cleaning machine–Just mix several batches of the recipe at a time and use it in place of the water and carpet shampoo. Don’t vacuum the solution back up–just let it soak on the carpet until it air dries. While we have had many, many customers use this method without a single report of damage to a machine, our recipe is obviously not one of the solutions approved for use by the machine manufacturers. Using the recipe in your machine is at your own risk, and we are not responsible for any damage to customers’ machines.
Chemical Sprayer–We’ve had a few customers use a chemical sprayer (the pump kind, not the kind you attach to a water hose) to apply the recipe to large areas. You would need to use a new sprayer (not one that has previously been used) so that there wouldn’t be any type of reaction with the residue in the sprayer.
For mattresses, the best thing to do is to make a double, triple or even quadruple batch of the recipe–enough to completely cover the stain–and then really pour it on. Don’t be afraid of saturating the mattress. The urine has gone deep into the mattress, so you need to make sure that there’s enough solution to go deep into the mattress as well. The solution has to reach the urine to neutralize it. We recommend treating the mattress in the morning so that the solution can work through the day. The mattress will often be dry enough for use by bedtime.
For clothing, you can spot treat the clothes, or the recipe can be used in a washing machine. Depending on the size load you are washing, you will need to make a double, triple or even quadruple batch of the recipe and pour it in with the washing machine water. Leave out the detergent until you are satisfied that the odor is gone. Then, you can wash with detergent like normal. If any of the clothes are brightly colored, be sure to do a spot check on them first before treating them. The recipe is not safe for leather.
GALLON RECIPE FOR LARGE AREAS:
16 cups (4 large 32-oz bottles) hydrogen peroxide
16 tsp. (or about 1/3 cup) baking soda
16 small drops dishwashing soap
Source: Mommy Forum