I’m so happy to introduce you to our newest Litter Box Mentor, Marilyn Krieger.
We are extremely fortunate to have her assistance here at the HLB!
Marilyn’s award-winning book, Naughty No More! focuses on changing unwanted cat behaviors through clicker training, environmental management and other positive reinforcement based methods.
To learn more about Marilyn, visit our Litter Box Mentors page.
She’ll be answering reader questions so if you have a question for Marilyn, email me at caroline (at) highpaw.com.
This week’s question is from HLB reader Kathy. She writes:
I have had cats all my life but I finally found a problem that stumps me. I have two indoor Ragdolls and rescued two feral kittens named Pooky and Cissy 1-1/2 years ago. We trapped them and had them spayed and neutered. They spend the day outdoors as we have lots of ground for them to patrol, including a state park right next door. They come in around 3 p.m. and stay in on our screened in porch for the night. They have become sweet and fun kitties. They have all the amenities that indoor kitties would love to have – a cat tree, toys, a heated house for chilly nights, and litter box. Here’s the problem: Pooky is peeing in his water bowl. I have never heard of a cat doing this. He did it for quite awhile when he was younger but grew out of it and now he is doing it again. I don’t know how he is even doing it – it is a good size dog bowl (because he would dump the smaller ones.) Have you ever come across this?
Before approaching this as a behavior issue, please have the cat checked out by his veterinarian. There are painful medical problems that can cause cats to urinate outside the litter box—some can be serious and life-threatening.
Without having more details, I will give you some generic recommendations for how to proceed if this is a behavior challenge. It sounds like you only have one litter box available for the cats. Ideally, for two cats, you should have three boxes—minimally two. Locate them in different areas of the porch, so that Pooky and Cissy have a choice of boxes. The boxes should be uncovered and large. I recommend large, translucent 66 qt. storage containers. The boxes need to be located in areas where the cats will have the best views of the whole enclosed porch area. Make sure the boxes are scooped daily, the litter dumped on a frequent basis and the boxes themselves, washed with hot water and dried.
In addition to managing the litter box situation, increase the water bowls and place them in different areas of their area. Add tall cat furniture or shelves that are a minimum of five feet high and increase the number of horizontal scratchers and scratching posts. Your boy may be claiming territorial rights to the water. Increasing the water bowls and giving him other ways to mark his territory and demonstrate status by adding scratchers and elevated areas should, along with the litter box changes, help eliminate the problem.
Thanks, Marilyn! Kathy, we hope this helps Pooky’s problem….let us know!