Feline house soiling comprises 70 percent of my feline case load. Before I see a cat who is not using the litter box, it is imperative that it go to the veterinarian for a complete physical exam.
Most vets are up to date, but it is imperative that the vet do a urinalysis that is not only diagnosed on the chemical dip stick, but also have the sediment spun down in the centrifuge and read under the microscope. It is only there that the presence of urine crystals and bacteria can be found.
Once the issue of physical illness is ruled out and addressed, then behavioural issues need to be a concern. There are three issues to rule in or rule out: inter-social cat interactions, physical stimuli, and litter box aversion. This can include interactions with the cat litter, frequently based on distaste to perfumes used to mask smell for humans which are distasteful to felines. If you have any doubt of the offensiveness of these scents, put your head down to the level of the litter box and inhale – it is not a pleasant experience.
The solutions for feline house soiling vary case by case, and are dependent on each and every house hold. A typical behaviour consult takes one to two hours and the results are usually positive. This is a frustrating problem but highly solvable. If you have a cat who is not using the litter box, consult your vet first, and once he or she has a clean bill of health, you can consult me at Dorene Olson, TARA Training and Behavior.