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Soiling Problems

If your cat suddenly starts soiling, there are several courses of action to take.

Health Check

If you notice changes in your cat's behaviour, first take your cat along to your local Veterinary Surgeon or a local Holistic Veterinary Surgeon, where a health check could reveal the cause of the problem. If an examination rules out problems such as cystitis, a urinary tract infection, or in a senior cat, plain incontinence, then the chances are the cat is suffering from some form of stress.

Through extensive research into feline behaviour, it is known that there are some things cats simply hate. For instance, vertical stripes on wallpaper will drive a cat to distraction and a show of claws. The smell of new electrical items or new furniture makes them a prime target for a spray of urine.

Stress caused by an unknown visitor or work-person can also cause a cat to spray. If you have any work needed to be done by outside work-people do lookout for your cat. Sadly, not all work-people are cat friendly!

Threatening whiff!

Why do cats hate change in their environment? It is because territory means everything to a cat. Their sense of smell is so acute that the first whiff of something new on their patch is considered a threat. Whether male or female, cats feel the need to mark their territory. It is not only a way to ward off potential invaders but also a method of building a security fence around their territory.

Odourless to humans but pungently powerful to other cats, feline pheromones are a cat's own unique smell. Using scent glands at the corner of the mouth, base of the tail and between the toes, cats can deposit their own personal brand of pheromones as they slink past the furniture, brush past a wall or nudge their owner's cheek. This is a mark of ownership and establishes an invisible security zone for the cat.

Outdoor marking is important too. Strategic points such as fence-posts, trees, plants and virtually anything vertical can be marked. This a fundamental form of communication, as prowling cats pick up on who has gone where and why. It is also a way for the cat to express male machismo or girl-power to feline passers-by.

Surrounded by their own familiar scent, cats feel secure, calm and confident in the home environment. Take away a familiar object or add an unfamiliar object and the scent pattern is disturbed.


By targeting your bed or clothing, your cat is trying to get close to you to say, "I'm stressed!" New furniture and equipment, especially electrical items and decorating materials, can trigger problems. The aroma of a new sofa or carpet will be overpowering to a cat's sensitive sense of smell. The temptation to plant its own smell is irresistible. Keep the cat out of the room until the new carpet or sofa has absorbed the normal smells of the house. Also rub a clean cloth around the cat's face and wipe along the new item to introduce a familiar smell, or spray a preparation like Feliway Spray at cat height. This will mimic the feline pheromones and relieve stress.

New baby or new pet? - Attention to the newcomer will encourage a cat to claw back some of the fuss for itself. Stress will cause a bout of scratching or soiling. So include the cat in the introductions. Stroke the cat when fussing him/her and make a show of grooming or stroking the cat when the new baby is the centre of attention.

Cleaning up soiled areas - How do you clean up after our cat is important and part of the treatment.

Don't reach for the bleach! Bleach contains ammonia or chlorine and both are found in urine. The area will smell clean to us but a confused cat will only want to over-mark the spot.

Do use a warm solution of biological detergent on the affected area. When this has dried, a quick scrub with a little surgical spirit (or other alcohol) should finish the job, do check for colourfastness first though!

How do you prepare for change?

New baby - show your cat there will be changes to routine by denying them access to the room where the baby will be sleeping. Play a tape of a baby crying, so the cat can familiarize themselves with the noise. When the baby arrives, make a point of including the cat when the baby is around. Lots of strokes and fuss will reassure your cat that they are still loved. Supervised meetings over time will raise and ensure the cat's confidence.

New decor or equipment - treat your cat to a supervised introduction to the new wallpaper, chair, sofa or television and all the time give the pet plenty of attention and time to adjust to the new smell and change.

New kitten or puppy - from the first supervised meeting, keep introductions short and build up the time spent together gradually, so the established resident cat can get used to the idea of the new arrival. Never be tempted to rush the introductions, be patient. In any situation, all a cat wants to know is that nothing has changed for them and that they are still loved as much as ever.

Natural Treatments

Feliway, a natural treatment, is cleverly based on the components of feline pheromones. When sprayed on new soft furnishings and walls at cat height, it will make the item smell instantly like 'home'. Treating an area that is under attack will discourage further scratching and marking. Used as a preventative measure, Feliway could ensure that a cat would never reach the desperate stage, where they need to leave a 'wee' message!

More on Feliway Spray here: Feliway Spray

To learn more about cleaning products and other helpful tips please visit the site below: The Pet Urine Stain & Odour Removal Web Site.

Litter Tray & Cat Litter:

Litter trays need to be cleaned and emptied regularly or your cat may take offense and decide to go elsewhere in your home. Where you place the tray is also very important for your cat. Too open and the cat may not use it, place the tray in a quiet spot away from doorways and in a quiet room out of the way from humans.

Some cats may just miss the tray, simply place old newspapers under and around the litter tray.

The type of Litter used can also play a role in the way a cat will behave, changing a brand of cat litter to a new brand too quickly may cause inappropriate behaviour or maybe your cat just does not like the new litter! When changing from one brand to another it is best to do it over a four day period.

  • First day: 75% old brand mixed with 25% new brand.
  • Second day: 50% old brand mixed with 50% new brand.
  • Third day: 25% old brand mixed with 75% new brand.
  • Fourth day: 100% new brand.

If at any time your cat is showing behavioural problems or is stressed out by the change, then do go back immediately to the old brand if possible.

Kittens & The Litter Tray

At around four to seven weeks of age, the kittens should be placed in the litter tray after eating. At first, kittens will just play in the litterbox, doing everything but "the business." The kittens may have some accidents, eventually, they will make the connection. Persistence and patience is the secret to teaching kitty about the litter tray.

Do not use "clumping" cat litter with kittens until they are at least four months of age. Kittens can consume too much of the litter, and this can cause serious health problems. Also watch out for the "pearl" litter, it can get stuck in a kitten's mouth. Litter labeled "scoopable" is fine.

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