Any feline owner knows that from time to time a cat will decide their beloved litter box is just not what it should be. They then commence using the bathroom outside their designated area. We all know how incredibly moody our kitty friends can be, so what is a person to do?

The first thing that you want to assess is if there might be something medical causing the problem. Sometimes when your beloved pet starts using other areas, that can be the first clue that something might be medically wrong with them. It might be hard to believe, like humans, they too can have trouble making it to the facilities if they are under the weather. A kitty urinary tract infection can cause these circumstances . So be sure that evaluating their health is your first step. Once you are sure their health is in good order, check for any changes to routine you have recently made. Have you bought new litter? Is the box in a new location? These seemingly small tweaks can be major mountains for animals who rely heavily on routine to climb. There are some brands of litter that seem to dissatisfy cats. You may need to test a few of them out in order to get a brand that your furry friend likes.

Another thing to consider is if you have brought a new addition into the home. In some cases, if there is a new cat on the scene your cat will give up using the litter box because it doesn’t like the smell of the new cat in it’s domain. You could consider buying a litter box specifically for them to use for a time until they get use to the new smell and personality in the home. Also if you notice a pattern of repeated use in a specific area try to move the box to that area and see if they won’t take up using the box again. Gradually, move the box back to where it was before. Also, treat the area of carpet that they soiled with some ammonia (Do a spot test first to make sure the carpet is color fast). That will break up the smell of where they have went, since animals typically use that as a marker of where and when to go.

If you catch them in the act of going be sure to FIRMLY and DIRECTLY say, “NO” to your pet so that they get the idea you are not satisfied with what they have done. Maybe carry them to their box to further reinforce the point. Many people have successfully used a small spray bottle and squirted their pet lightly so that it deters them from wanting to be sprayed again. Most cats detest water which is probably what makes this so effective.

Try to keep in mind it may take some time and patience to break the habit your kitty has started. But be positive and stick with it. Before you know it your buddy will be back on a normal potty routine once more!