Cat Psychology: Litterbox Problems

Confession time:


Apolla in one of her more relaxed moments

My timid sweet scared cat has been spraying.  The reason we ended up with her was because she was traumatized by a dog that came into her life, and responded to that by spraying, but she seemed to be cured of this problem for the first 6 months we had her.  Now all of a sudden she’s doing it again, in my house.

My deal with Miguel was that if the cats start ruining our house, we would give them back, so naturally this is very distressing to me.  I’m attached to the little brats now, and I know they are way happier with me than they were when they had a dog to contend with.

I need to fix this problem, and I need to fix it fast.

The Why:


Mia Disapproves

Spraying is something cats do to mark their territory. While it’s more associated with male, not neutered cats, it’s actually common in most cats.  (Though not necessarily on your carpets.) This can also be due to medical conditions, so it’s important to get a vet check with this behaviour starting up.

The Ritual:

Most cats will:

1. Approach a vertical surface (wall, piece of furniture)

2. Sniff the surface and pace the floor

3. Turn his back

4. The spray.

How I Hope I’m Going to be Stopping This:

1. The possibility of medical issues: If I’m totally honest, I don’t think she just sprays, sometimes she just pees on the floor.  I’m taking her to the vet next week (it’s a busy place apparently) to rule out anything medical.  In the meantime, I’m trying to follow all the advice I can find to stop this behaviour, before it becomes her “thing.”

2. The litter box:  A cat who is acting out by doing things outside the litter box that she should be doing inside the litter box, may just hate her litter box.  It needs to be big enough, clean enough, and in a good location.  Some cats may not like their box to be covered, but everywhere I’ve been reading says that Bengals are private and do.
-New box:  I bought them a third, giant litter box.  It’s clean, covered, and convenient.
-Convenient box: I moved one of their existing litter boxes upstairs to the bathroom on my main floor.  They have been ignoring this one, but I’ll keep it available just in case.
-Clean box:  Scoop every day without fail.
-Window by the box:  Miguel thought it was the window that she didn’t like near her box.  He closed it.

3.Clean the carpet:  Cats will go back to where they’ve gone before, so cleaning things completely is essential.  Just because the humans in the house can’t smell anything, doesn’t mean the cats can’t.
Enzymatic carpet cleaner:  I got this from the vet and it smells like alcohol but it seemed to remove all stain and odor.

4. Cat relaxation and comfort:  I’ve put a Feliway plug in on each of the main floors.  One is outside my bedroom, the other is just outside the stairs where miss Apolla has been spraying.
-Feliway: Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone (what they are releasing when the rub their cheeks against everything to mark their territory) and it’s meant to make cats feel safe, comfortable and secure in their home.  It’s recommended as a way to help comfort and reassure cats and reduce their stress.  Apolla acts ridiculously stressed out all the time, so hopefully this is what she needs. I bought from this Amazon seller, since the price was the best I could find.

Will it work?  Stay tuned, but I really hope so.


2 thoughts on “Cat Psychology: Litterbox Problems

  1. The vet. visit should be very helpful. Is the urine dark or have you noticed any blood in the urine? Weather you see blood or not, there may me some that only shows microscopically. You may want to ask the vet. to take a urine sample to rule out Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC). Best wishes to you and your cat.

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