Brix Veterinary Service

1829 W Main St
Shelbyville, IL 62565


Feline Inappropriate Elimination

Feline inappropriate elimination is a frustrating and difficult problem for everyone in the household.  Oftentimes, a cat may begin eliminating outside of the box due to medical reasons such as a urinary tract infection or orthopedic pain.  Once your veterinarian has ruled out medical causes, the problem will be approached as a behavioral issue.  There are several different things you can do at home to help stop behavioral inappropriate elimination.  Please note that urine spraying (marking territory on a vertical surface) is a different issue and requires a different approach.

Make the inappropriate place unattractive to your cat.

    • Treat soiled areas with an enzymatic cleaner to remove all odors.
    • Place a vinyl carpet runner, spiky side up, on the inappropriate area.
    • Use perfume or potpourri in the area.
    • Remove the area if possible, such as when a cat has chosen clothing on the floor.

Make the appropriate place attractive to your cat.

  • Litter Box:
    • You need 1 litter box per cat in the household, plus 1 extra.  (Example:  3 cats in a household would need 4 litter boxes.)
    • Place at least 1 box on each floor of the house.
    • The litter box should be large, without a cover, and without a liner.
  • Litter:
    • If using clumping litter, the box should be scooped daily and washed thoroughly weekly.
    • If using non-clumping litter, the box should be washed daily.
    • Wash the box with a mild dish soap that has little to no fragrance.
    • Litter should be 1 to 2 inches deep, and preferably a very fine grain
  • Litter Box Environment:
    • Place the litter box in a low traffic area of the house.
    • Do not place food near the box.
    • The box should be easily accessible.
    • Make sure that a cat coming out of the box cannot be ambushed by another cat or pet hiding behind furniture or just around the corner.


    • The veterinarian will decide if medication is needed on a case by case basis.
    • This will generally help if anxiety is part of the problem.
    • It is usually used for a minimum of 6 months.