Why do cats run around after defecation
Content last updated on: 11/29/2014
If the cat does not use its toilet as usual, this will quickly become apparent. Whether puddles, splashes or piles: it smells and is very unpleasant. Instead of punishing the cat for its behavior, however, one should find the cause of its problem. If you have discovered a place where the cat has "unscheduled" its business, you should clean the affected area as soon as possible and ignore the cat.
No way cats should be pushed with their noses into their own aftermath! Even if this is apparently practiced especially by ignorant pet owners, this is it no Adequate way of making the cat understand that it is undesirable for them to urinate outside of their toilet. It cannot establish a connection between "being pushed into the excrement" and the undesirable behavior of "messing around".
Instead, the cat will be confused, lose confidence in the owner, and fail to understand why this just happened to her! The cat becomes anxious and may because of it even more unclean become. So it is clear that this brutal and undignified method does not lead to house training, but only to a breach of trust. Better than punishing the cat for its behavior is to take the necessary precautions and to find and remedy the respective causes.
Important: Finding and cleaning of marked areas
When cleaning up "mishaps", it is important not to use a vinegar cleaner, because this encourages most cats to remove "their scent" again. Even normal household cleaners do not remove the smell deeply enough for a cat's nose - the cat owner often doesn't smell anything anymore, but the cat with its keen sense of smell does. It is better to use special urine scents ("Biodor Animal" or "Urine off"), vodka, effective micro-organisms or myrtle oil to deflate the affected areas.
In order to find the affected urine areas really reliably, it is advisable to use a UV lamp (also called "black light"). Under UV light, the cat's urine glows conspicuously and "pebbles" become visible.
Important: "Protest pee"
No matter how often it is said and spread - Cats don't pee in protest!. It is incapable of the complex train of thought that the cat is assumed to be. She does not consciously decide to cause damage or anger to the owner by "peeing wildly" and does not use it as a means to make something clear to him. Cats don't think "I think it's stupid, that's why I pee Dosi on her pillow in revenge - because I know that it bothers her and I want to hit her with it. She deserves it!"
Rather, urinating in unusual places is based on discomfort, pain or physical causes. If you looked the cat in the head, you might read, "I'm not feeling well / I am in pain, that's my way of showing it." This is an important distinction when dealing with unclean cats. Punishment, anger and violence don't solve the problem! Insight, cause research and elimination of the causes are the only effective methods here. The causes and problem solutions listed here can help to get this behavior under control.
Physical causes of uncleanliness can be, for example, bladder and urinary tract infections, urinary stones or blocked anal glands. Before thinking of other possible solutions, it should be clarified whether the cat is completely healthy. A simple examination of the urine or feces is usually sufficient.
Bladder infections and urinary stones
Urinary stones and bladder infections are common and extremely painful triggers for uncleanliness in cats. The cats are often in great pain, urinate more often, especially on soft surfaces (e.g. carpets, towels, clothes) and often show signs of pain (aggressiveness, whining, etc.). It is also possible that blood can be found in the urine. Affected cats usually use the litter box more often than usual, urinate less but more often and often appear restless.
To diagnose urinary stones or cystitis, a urine sample must be examined for bacteria, stones and crystals. An ultrasound and / or X-ray examination may also be necessary. To have a urine test carried out, you can try to collect the urine yourself at home with the help of a few tricks (see "All about the urine sample"). Simply patting the cat off is enough Not to diagnose or rule out bladder stones!
Once all possible pathological triggers have been ruled out, all other possible causes must be considered. More information on cystitis can be found in the section "Diseases -> Cystitis". Information on urinary stones can be found in the section "Diseases -> Urinary stones".
clogged anal glands
A special secretion (anal gland secretion) is formed by the cat's anal glands to make it easier for the faeces to pass away. It acts as a "lubricant" so to speak. The anal glands are located on the side of the anus and can become clogged and even inflamed if they are not strained (excrement too soft) or infected. This is not only extremely unpleasant for the cat, but also extremely painful.
If the anal glands are blocked or inflamed, the cat may not use its litter box as usual. The cat associates the pain of constipation / inflammation with the litter box and avoids visiting the litter box. Clogged anal glands can be emptied by pressing. A visit to the vet is not always necessary. If there is already enough experience, this can also be done at home by the cat owner alone.
It is extremely advisable to wear gloves when expressing the anal glands and to keep your face out of reach, because the secretion produced is characterized by a foul smelling odor. Once the anal glands are inflamed, they should be emptied by the veterinarian, as this procedure is extremely painful and in most cases requires post-treatment with medication.
Parasites, bacteria and indigestion
Digestive problems, parasite infestation or excessive bacterial growth can also lead to uncleanliness. Typically, cats will have diarrhea, loose stools, or have trouble getting rid of stools. In such cases it is of course possible that the cat does not make it to the toilet fast enough and "something goes wrong". A fecal sample test can show how affected the cat is. Feeding bland foods helps with digestive problems and diarrhea.
In order to get a meaningful result of the fecal sample examination, the feces (of all cats) should be collected over 3 days and in the meantime stored in the refrigerator (of course in a closed container - e.g. an old jam jar). Not all parasites can be detected in just one day's fecal sample.
Incontinence due to old age or illness
Uncleanliness is not always a solvable problem. Advancing age or certain illnesses can lead to long-term incontinence. Physical causes play a role here, making it impossible for cats to keep their urge to urinate under control. Even if this type of uncleanliness cannot be finally eliminated, various aids and the correct attitude of the cat owner can help ensure that a cat with incontinence still has a lot of quality of life. More about this in the subsection "the old cat".
Uncastrated / tagging cats
There is a big difference between "simple" uncleanliness and marking behavior. Unclean animals express their distress - mental or physical - through urine and / or excrement outside the litter box. Cats who mark want to "mark out" their territory and communicate with other cats with the help of olfactory pheromones.
when marking, the erect tail of the cat trembles. Vertical surfaces are marked standing, horizontal areas are marked sitting
As a rule, the two behaviors can be easily distinguished from one another by careful observation: When marking, the cat stands in vertical positions, holds its tail upright and lets it "vibrate". However, there are also cats that mark horizontally - with corresponding tail vibrations. As a rule, only small amounts of urine are sprayed when marking, directly backwards. When using the toilet normally, on the other hand, there is no tail trembling and the cat usually sits down (with the exception of "pissers"). When you urinate, larger amounts of urine are released - in a steady (partially interrupted) stream downwards.
Cats that have not been neutered can develop the habit of urinating all sorts of objects from sexual maturity. Marking with feces is also not uncommon. A castration of the cat often helps here, but it is no guarantee that the marking behavior will not be continued or that it will not start later. Castrated animals mark particularly often when they discover a rival in their environment. This can also be cats outside of their own home.
If the cat marks because of other cats in the same household, then the coexistence of the animals should be carefully observed and optimized (see next points "Psychological causes" and "Not recommended litter box management"). If cats outside their own household are the trigger for tagging, more far-reaching measures often have to be taken. Starting with privacy protection from strange cats (for example milky foil in front of part of the window), to the castarion of stray cats or even securing your own garden from entry by strange cats.
All about the urine sample
There are several ways to catch the cat's urine. On the one hand, there are special litter that does not absorb the urine (for example "Urigrid" or "Katkor Non Absorb Cat Litter" *) and thus enables urine samples to be taken from the floor of the litter box. On the other hand, it is possible to put a transparent film (e.g. cling film) on the normal litter shortly before the cat goes to the toilet and to catch the urine that is collected in this way. It is important that no cat litter gets into the urine to be tested: the results could be falsified.
Finally, there are also cats who tolerate being held under a spoon, an old ladle or a plate while urinating. If a urine sample is to be examined by the vet, it is important that the urine sample is not older than 3 hours when it is under the microscope: otherwise sediments will collect, the urine will change and thus no longer allow reliable test results.
The last option to get urine from the cat is the option of having the vet massage or puncture it directly from the bladder. However, this should be the last option as these procedures can be uncomfortable and even painful for the cat.
* As a tip: the special urine-repellent litter does not have to be disposed of after a single use, but - packed in a small bag - can be washed in the washing machine without detergent.
It's definitely not physical, the cat doesn't do it regularly ?!
Some cat owners categorically rule out physical causes of uncleanliness from the outset, for example because the cat does not show any continuous uncleanliness or only urinates / defecates on certain items of clothing. However, this is a fallacy! Even if there is a physical illness or the cat is in acute pain, this does not mean that it behaves the same in every situation or is consistently unclean.
As with us humans, the pain often comes in waves, the intensity of the pain is not infrequently dependent on the type of day. In cats with bladder infections and bladder stones, it is known, for example, that they prefer to urinate on soft surfaces such as upholstered furniture, clothing or carpets: They associate the pain with the litter box (because that's where it occurs most intensely!) And feel the pee on fabric more pleasant.
So it cannot be ruled out in principle that the cat is acutely ill, even if it does not go regularly or even everywhere! Only a thorough physical examination will give you certainty.
Not only physical but also psychological causes lead to uncleanliness in cats. Psychological causes of uncleanliness are to be taken and treated just as seriously as physical causes. Ignoring the triggers could make the problem worse. Some of the most common triggers are:
Loneliness / underchallenge / insecurity / fear
If the cat is kept alone, contrary to its social needs, or if it is not kept busy enough, it may express its desperation by "peeing wildly" or by peeing outside the cat's box. It is then essential to check what the cat's past looks like, whether it is used to having conspecifics around and whether the daily play and cuddle times are sufficient for the cat. Keeping cats is not only about feeding, cleaning the litter box and petting them "from time to time": mental and physical exertion through regular care is just as important! One hour of play time per day should be part of everyday life for the cat.
Uncertainty and fear also turn some cats into a "bundle of nerves" that simply cannot mentally go to the toilet anymore. It is extremely important to shed light on how the cat group interacts, your own behavior and your own training methods, and to put an end to the hustle and bustle, stress and pressure for the cat. Violence or shouting in upbringing, punishment for breaking rules and corporal punishment do not belong in upbringing. You should treat cats with respect, respect their needs and raise them non-violent. If the cat has been brought out of a bad home and it shows uncleanliness, a lot of patience and expertise is required to "train" it off again. More on this in the section "Dealing with Behavioral Cats".
Change in living conditions / grief
If major or minor things change in the world of cats, this is also a reason for quite a few cats to become unclean. Whether the loved one or the cat partner dies, the caregiver has different working hours or a new partner: all of this can plunge the cat into deepest despair. Even a move, a new cat partner or a vacation of the usual people bring unwanted confusion into their intact little world.
We cannot undo many changes in our lives: they are necessary and inevitable. Nevertheless, we should understand that the cat does not understand the reasons for such often drastic changes and that their world is upside down for the time being. It is up to the cat owner to "teach" the cat these changes as gently as possible and to provide support during the worst of times.
This can be through extra long cuddling and play hours, lots of extra delicacies and a lot of time enjoyed together. It is important to make it clear to the cat that it is loved, valued and wanted even in the new situation.
Incomplete cleanliness training / separation from mother cat too early
Unfortunately, even today many kittens are separated from their mother cat and siblings from the 8th week of life. Although at this time they are usually no longer dependent on breast milk, their toilet training is not yet complete at this point. This lasts until about the 12th, sometimes to the 14th week of life, which is why the kittens should only move to their new home at this time.
If the kitten has not spent these crucial weeks with the mother cat, irregular uncleanliness and other behavioral disorders are not infrequently the result. In such a case, it is extremely difficult to get the young kitten and the later adult cat to use the litter box regularly and reliably. Often it is a recurring problem that the whole cat's life can no longer be solved. In other cases, there may be a year-long oddysee in which to try all possible cat litter, sizes, shapes, locations and types of litter boxes in order to offer the cat the "right equipment".
Not recommended litter box management
Last but not least, less suitable litter box management is also responsible for uncleanliness in cats.If the cat does not feel comfortable or safe in its toilet, it can react with uncleanliness.
Wrong litter or toilet / unclean toilets / new litter
Cats usually prefer fine-grained litter (without scent) in open, large toilets. There should be enough (guideline: number of cats + 1) toilets available, which should not be next to / near the sleeping or eating places. It goes without saying that the toilets should be cleaned regularly, because cats are clean animals who refuse to go to the toilet if they are too dirty.
The litter should be fine-grained, without fragrance and filled as high as possible so that the cat can bury its remains (about 5-7cm). A litter change to unfamiliar or unpopular litter can also cause uncleanliness in cats that have been clean up to that point. Many types of litter (especially those made from bentonite) can produce unpleasant odors, whether or not urine or feces have been removed. Switching to litter made from vegetable fibers can help here.
If the number of litter boxes is too small for several cats, it can - even after years - lead to the animals becoming unclean. Even closed toilets - with or without an entry flap - are not pleasant for some cats. In this case, it is important to remove the attachments from the toilets and provide additional toilets - with possibly different litter.
too few litter boxes / litter boxes are too close together
The cats should have sufficient toilets available so that they do not become unclean in the long run. The guideline is one more toilet than there are cats in the house - with two cats this would be three toilets. Since cats usually naturally separate their "big" and "small" business - that is, they do not urinate where their droppings are - it is often necessary to offer several toilets. Not all cats need this selection, but it is even more important when uncleanliness occurs.
It is also important that the toilets are not too close to each other: otherwise they will be viewed as a single toilet and the cat "misses" an alternative way of separating faeces and urine.
wrong location for the toilets
Litter boxes should be in quiet places that are easily accessible for the cat. Most cats accept the toilets that are on the way between sleeping and eating. The cat checks its territory (the apartment or the house) several times a day to make sure that everything is in order. If it comes comfortably past the toilets, they are usually accepted.
If the toilets are too hidden / obstructed or cannot be reached through closed doors, the cat will look for another place to loosen up - in the worst case, it will be the bed of its owner or the bathroom rug. Every cat should have at least two toilets to separate the "big business" from the "small". If two toilets are too close to each other, this spatial separation is not enough for many cats. Litter boxes should therefore always be placed apart from each other.
Eating places next to or near the toilets
Cats are clean animals with a sensitive sense of smell. If the toilet is too close to the eating place, people often refuse to go to it and instead go to another place - understandable, because who likes to eat where there is a smell of toilet or do their business where they should actually dine?
too little rest around the toilet / "toilet bullying"
If the area around the litter box is too restless, for example because it is right at the door of the apartment or in the children's room, the cat may refuse to use it. Cats also need rest when they "have to"! This also applies to disturbance from other cats: If a cat is constantly disturbed or bullied by a fellow cat when it goes to or from the toilet, this often leads to it looking for other places to relieve itself.
I haven't changed anything, the cat just wants to annoy me!
Not infrequently, a less recommendable litter box management is tolerated by one's own cats for years: whether too few toilets, closed hooded toilets, fragrant, coarse litter or wrong locations. Many cat owners conclude from this that this organization is quite sufficient for their own cats. And that the uncleanliness that occurs results from other reasons and that changes in toilet management are not necessary.
It must be said that cats are very clean animals and - if everything goes well - are often satisfied with less favorable circumstances. They are often frugal for years and tolerate the worst conditions if they do not know otherwise. However, if another problem, no matter how small, occurs in their world, this tolerance can quickly come to an end. The triggering problem - so to speak, the "drop that brings the barrel to overflow" - does not even have to be particularly obvious to people: it is often overlooked or as unimportant dismissed.
In such a case, two or more problems need to be analyzed and remedied: poor toilet management and the last problem that occurred. Just because your own cat has been forced to tolerate bad conditions for years does not mean that it was satisfied with it!
Experienced "wild pissers"
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for owners of unclean cats not to go to the vet with the affected animal or to go too late. It can take weeks, months, and in particularly bad cases even years, until the cat is finally given competent help. If the trigger for the uncleanliness is finally treated successfully, in such cases it is not that seldom possible that the cat still remains unclean.
It has been established for a long time that cats simply "go" wherever they want - a kind of "negative education", so to speak. In addition, the odor of urine that has already penetrated into textiles, carpets, furniture and wallpaper will also play its part in ensuring that the cat continues to urinate in preferred areas. Timely treatment of unclean cats is therefore very important for this reason alone!
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from our blog:
- "Quiet places for house cats", Christine Hauschild, ISBN: 978-383702225-4
- "When cats cause grief", Sabine Schroll, ISBN: 978-3-86127-137-6
- "When my cat causes problems", Denise Seidl, ISBN: 978-3-440-11399-8
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