Cats toileting in the house

(24 Posts)
pigglepot Tue 22-Jun-21 18:52:14

We have four cats who we have had for a lot of years. We moved house in February and when we moved obviously kept them inside which meant they used a litter tray in the dining room. They didn't used to use a litter tray in our old house as they had access to the garden which had flowerbeds and a gravel path which they also liked to toilet in. In the new house they did sometimes go to the toilet outside the litter tray in the dining room but I put this down to stress and/or being a bit confused. They are now all allowed to go outside but we don't have a proper garden like they are used to- only a courtyard which has pots but no beds or gravel path. They (some but not all of them but not sure which ones are the culprits) are now continuing to use the house to toilet off and on. Things we have done and tried:

- putting their food bowls in the areas they have peed in. This worked to deter them but as soon as we move the bowl they go back to using the areas.
- Feliway (although admittedly only in one room as it's expensive and the house is too big to justify it in every room)
- putting a litter tray outside with gravel in for them. They use it but still also use inside.
- rug doctor cat detergent to clean the carpet to deter them.
- putting a cat flap in the fence to allow them access to the lane and the outdoor space beyond

They actually all seem happier in general in this house than the last one as it is much bigger so they have more space to roam and don't have to spend time together if they don't want to. So whilst I do wonder if it's stress related I think it's probably mainly that they don't like their toilet options outside now and /or they have got used to going inside. I say "they" but I actually think it's only one or two of them that do this. Any ideas to stop this once and for all?

OP’s posts: |
dementedpixie Wed 23-Jun-21 06:20:42

Do you still have a litter tray in the house?

cupsofcoffee Wed 23-Jun-21 07:49:58

How many litter trays do you have and are you using a proper pet enzyme spray to clean up accidents?

For four cats who all toilet inside you're looking at five litter trays really.

pigglepot Wed 23-Jun-21 09:00:29

cupsofcoffee

How many litter trays do you have and are you using a proper pet enzyme spray to clean up accidents?

For four cats who all toilet inside you're looking at five litter trays really.


The point is they aren't meant to toilet in the house they are going on the carpet instead of outside where they are supposed to go to the toilet.

OP’s posts: |
pigglepot Wed 23-Jun-21 09:00:38

dementedpixie

Do you still have a litter tray in the house?


No

OP’s posts: |
WildflowerWildfire Wed 23-Jun-21 09:03:29

You’ve answered your own question then. Get litter trays.

dementedpixie Wed 23-Jun-21 09:03:37

You should get a tray for the house then as some of them are not happy to do the toilet outside. Wouldn't you rather they did it in a tray than in your carpet?

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dementedpixie Wed 23-Jun-21 09:05:18

I still have a tray despite mine mainly doing the toilet outside. They are telling you they still want a tray indoors so that's what you should get for them

Trinacham Wed 23-Jun-21 09:21:51

I thought it was quite usual for people with outdoor cats to still have a litter tray in the house. Sounds like it's what they want anyway.

Chemenger Wed 23-Jun-21 09:25:07

You need litter tray(s), because their territory, your yard, is not suitable for them to use. I’ve always had litter trays even when my cats have been indoor/outdoor.

Veterinari Wed 23-Jun-21 10:12:53

Cats should always be provided with litter trays in the house - and they should never have to share one. Many cats won't toilet in a dirty tray.

If you provided one tray for 4 cats then you have forced them to find alternative toileting spots ie the carpet, as you have not made adequate provision

There are many reasons cats may not toilet outside - bad weather, lack of suitable toileting foots, anxiety due to competition/territoriality from neighbouring cats etc.

Unfortunately by not providing adequate toileting facilities you've now created a situation where they've learned that the carpet can also be used as a toilet. They'll continue this unless you provide proper facilities for them.

I'd suggest: 1 provide adequate litter trays - you should be providing 4-5 trays at different locations around the house.
2 dig out a bed/create a raised bed or similar large outdoor area to encourage them to use the garden.
3. Use an enzymatic cleaner on carpets
4. Use feliway plugins - your cats will be stressed and unsettled by the move.
5. Optimise their environment according to the guidelines below to reduce any stress/competition for resources.
6. Do not punish - it creates more anxiety and makes toileting problems worse.

https://journals.sagepub.com/pb-assets/cmscontent/JFM/Environmental-needs-Client-handout.pdf

And

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1098612X13477537

helpfulperson Wed 23-Jun-21 10:29:18

I'm not clear where you are expecting them to toilet. Do you have litter trays in the courtyard? It probably feels quite exposed to the.

pigglepot Wed 23-Jun-21 11:19:10

They are all outdoor cats and have never used a litter tray before. At our old house the never used to have accidents inside and used the outside 100% of the time and never used a litter tray.

We only introduced a litter tray when we moved house as we were keeping them inside whilst they got used to the house and the area.

OP’s posts: |
pigglepot Wed 23-Jun-21 11:22:22

Veterinari

Cats should always be provided with litter trays in the house - and they should never have to share one. Many cats won't toilet in a dirty tray.

If you provided one tray for 4 cats then you have forced them to find alternative toileting spots ie the carpet, as you have not made adequate provision

There are many reasons cats may not toilet outside - bad weather, lack of suitable toileting foots, anxiety due to competition/territoriality from neighbouring cats etc.

Unfortunately by not providing adequate toileting facilities you've now created a situation where they've learned that the carpet can also be used as a toilet. They'll continue this unless you provide proper facilities for them.

I'd suggest: 1 provide adequate litter trays - you should be providing 4-5 trays at different locations around the house.
2 dig out a bed/create a raised bed or similar large outdoor area to encourage them to use the garden.
3. Use an enzymatic cleaner on carpets
4. Use feliway plugins - your cats will be stressed and unsettled by the move.
5. Optimise their environment according to the guidelines below to reduce any stress/competition for resources.
6. Do not punish - it creates more anxiety and makes toileting problems worse.

https://journals.sagepub.com/pb-assets/cmscontent/JFM/Environmental-needs-Client-handout.pdf

And

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1098612X13477537


I don't agree cats always need a litter tray. Ive had cats all my life and have never needed to provide a litter tray for cats who toilet outside. In my experience cats who toilet inside are either stressed or have learnt to use the toilet inside (which is what I assume has happened for us). I'm certainly not going to have 5 litter trays in the house so I'll need to find another option! We have a standard Victorian terrace so it would mean having one in all our living spaces downstairs plus others on different floors which isn't going to happen. I love my cats but not enough to give over my whole house to their poo and wee.

I'm looking for ways to stop them from toileting in the house full stop.

OP’s posts: |
Trinacham Wed 23-Jun-21 11:37:06

I see what you're saying that they didn't used to have one, but now they have had one, they have got used to it and realised that they quite like to go inside sometimes. I know it's probably not what you want to hear, but as someone with 2 cats myself.. I know how stubborn they can be when it comes to going to the loo!smile
Mine have gotten used to having litter tray in a certain place, for example, and when I've moved the tray, they've carried on going whre the tray used to be, even though the tray hasn't been moved far!

Wombatstew Wed 23-Jun-21 11:51:37

It’s not clear where you are expecting them to go though since your court yard is not suitable and you are only providing a gravel tray. I understand you have put a cat flap in the fence but where do they actually have to go? Someone else’s garden? The laneway? Sounds like this is the problem. I think if you want them to go outside then you need to provide adequate toileting in your own garden, a large garden bed filled with something appealing to the cats to go in ( sandy soil perhaps) and clean this out regularly.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 23-Jun-21 11:55:30

Your cats disagree with you and it’s a battle you won’t win with them.

They’ve used a tray & they prefer it.

pigglepot Wed 23-Jun-21 11:56:49

Wombatstew

It’s not clear where you are expecting them to go though since your court yard is not suitable and you are only providing a gravel tray. I understand you have put a cat flap in the fence but where do they actually have to go? Someone else’s garden? The laneway? Sounds like this is the problem. I think if you want them to go outside then you need to provide adequate toileting in your own garden, a large garden bed filled with something appealing to the cats to go in ( sandy soil perhaps) and clean this out regularly.


I think this is a good point. The lane leads to a shared flowerbed and then some parkland beyond that so I had been hoping they would find this more appealing than the house or the garden but it seems not! I think a large planter or something is probably our only option out there as you say.

OP’s posts: |
Chemenger Wed 23-Jun-21 12:01:56

You may not agree that they need a litter tray but all the evidence is that they do. You are not providing somewhere suitable outside, and hoping that they will just find somewhere doesn't seem to be working out that well for you, so they will continue to use the best thing you have provided - the carpet. Do you expect them just to pee and poo on your paved courtyard? The likelihood is that other people's gardens will belong to more established cats. That is stressful for yours and will make them want to toilet inside where they feel safe. You don't seem to have thought this through at all.

Veterinari Wed 23-Jun-21 12:49:28

You can agree or disagree with the science all you like @pigglepot

I would suggest though that you have created this problem by fundamentally ignoring the needs of cats in a multicat household. If you're unwilling to learn more about feline behaviour and provide a proper multicat environment then your cats will continue to toilet inappropriately. As you rightly assert, it is a stress response and your cats are stressed.

You may well have 'got away with it' for many years - you've been lucky. Your luck has run out.

It's really up to you whether you want to safeguard your cats' welfare and your carpets, by learning from the resources I've provided, or whether you prefer to dig your heels in, insist on continuing to provide inadequate facilities for your cats and deal with their inappropriate toileting response.

Some more resources below, if you're interested in learning

https://catvets.com/guidelines/practice-guidelines/house-soiling

.
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1098612X14539092

.
https://icatcare.org/advice/soiling-indoors/

cupsofcoffee Wed 23-Jun-21 13:17:02

The point is they aren't meant to toilet in the house they are going on the carpet instead of outside where they are supposed to go to the toilet.

Then isn't it better that you provide them with a litter tray so they can use that?

If your cats have access to indoors, then they should have access to a toilet there 365 days a year.

You won't win the battle - if your cats want to toilet indoors they'll do so, and if there's no litter tray they'll use your carpets!

gamerchick Wed 23-Jun-21 13:20:54

With 4 cats you should have 5 trays. It's selfish not to provide what they need.

If you're not willing, then put up with it.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 23-Jun-21 13:28:19

On a technicality humans aren’t meant to toilet indoors either. I bet most apes just go where they are at that moment in time.

This is all an artificial construct, including owning pets.

GreatBigBird Wed 23-Jun-21 13:35:46

I think the OP would rather they toilet in other people's gardens rather have to clear up after them herself seeing as they are refusing to use her own back yard.

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