Tips important than meds to deal with Inappropriate Elimination in Cats

  • Identify previously preferred substrates and locations, and replicate these.
  • Ensure there is at least one more litter box than the number of cats.
  • Ensure the litter boxes are at least 1.5 cat body lengths long (including tail). This is larger than virtually all commercially available litter boxes for cats, but rigorous research has indicated that this is the size preferred by cats.
  • Identify locations where the cat spends the most time, and place boxes accordingly.
  • Ensure that you do appropriate cleaning regimen:
    • Scoop litter multiple times daily.
    • Totally dump litter, including recyclable multi-cat litters, two to three times a week, depending on the number of cats using them.
    • Wash, rinse, and dry the litter box at least weekly.
    • Avoid liners and scented litters.
    • Ensure that covered litter boxes have good ventilation if they must be used.
  • Use good odor eliminations (e.g., Anti-Icky-Poo [AIP]) on all substrates where urine or feces has been inappropriately deposited.
  • Pheromonal analog products have been suggested for use to “calm” animals, but they may make some animals more reactive. Their efficacy is in doubt insofar as most studies are poor and show at best a weak contributory effect. No study on the use of pheromonal analogs shows efficacy to the extent seen when the underlying anxiety is treated with medication.
  • Identify potential stressors or conflicts in the household (e.g., intercat aggression) and redress them. The most common of these may be relationships between cats in the household. Intercat aggression is a serious concern if
    • One cat is avoiding one or more other cats.
    • One cat consistently leaves the room or a preferred resting spot when one or more other cats enter.
    • One cat cannot or does not eat or drink in the presence of the others.
    • One cat is always hiding.
    • One cat is hyperreactive to any noise or tactile stimuli.


  • If more animals are added to the household, clients should expect social upheaval and be prepared to restart analysis of interaction and behavior.
  • Attention should be paid to the victimized cat before the other cats.
  • Litter box hygiene must be meticulous and lifelong.
  • Outdoor or visitor cats should be kept to a minimum or excluded.
  • Consider allowing the cat to be an indoor/outdoor cat if all else fails.

Prognosis & Outcome

  • Without treatment, the prognosis is guarded. Inappropriate elimination is the single most common reason cats in North America are euthanized or relinquished. Many shelters consider cats that have litter box issues “unadoptable” and euthanize them.
  • Clients maintain cats in their household for an average of 2 years after a complaint has been identified, but the more obvious inappropriate urination is to the client, the more likely he or she is to be intolerant of it.
  • Prognosis is improved by early diagnosis, comprehensive treatment, attentive client monitoring, and open communication between clinician and client.
  • Treatment of behavioral conditions is an ongoing process, often for the life of the pet. Relapses may occur with treatment discontinuation or with added stressors.
  • Physical illness is also a stressor and may promote a behavioral elimination problem where previously none existed.


About CVC

Chappelle Veterinary Clinic is a full service Veterinary Clinic which offers a wide range of veterinary care for cats and dogs, including routine exams, vaccinations, preventative care, diagnostics, surgery, spay and neuter, wellness services, dental cleaning, emergency and more.

Working Hours

Monday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Thursday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Sunday Closed

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14128 28 Avenue SWEdmonton, AB T6W 3Y9

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