Skip to main content

Cat Inappropriate Elimination - Whose Problem?

We cause cat inappropriate elimination. Therefore, it is our problem. It is not a "cat behavior problem" but a human-to-cat relationship problem. In the wild,  the small wildcat will defecate and urinate in certain areas on the ground, on the earth. Sometimes these areas are used as markers to tell other cats of their presence - the feces remain uncovered. Cat spraying is not inappropriate elimination as the purpose of cat spraying is to give signals to other animals of the presence of the cat. The purpose is not to eliminate the urine.

The domestic cat is required by us to defecate and urinate on cat litter in a tray inside a house or some other human structure. From the cat's perspective the litter will usually be a nice place to go to the toilet because litter replicates earth. In the old days, before litter was invented, sand was used. This is why cats don't usually need training to use cat litter.

However, from the cat's perspective litter might not be a nice place to go to the toilet. The cat might prefer somewhere else. If the cat is a full-time indoor cat the only other place is somewhere that is inappropriate for us not the cat. We have the problem. From our perspective this is our problem. From the cat's perspective this is not a problem except that he or she can't find a decent alternative to litter inside a house.

If the cat is an indoor/outdoor cat he or she would almost certainly go outside and use the earth outside as an alternative to cat litter. Earth is actually better than litter as it is softer and exactly the kind of substance a cat would use in the wild.

So when a cat does not wish to use the litter box the problem is ours as we created it in the first place. The cat is simply acting naturally and reacting to the circumstances that exist before him or her.

This argument applies even if the cat is not using the litter due to anxiety, for example. The reason is unimportant. One well known reason for a cat's avoidance of litter is because it is uncomfortable to a declawed cat. This is a double human problem, one compounding the other.

The reason why I am writing this is because I sense that throughout all the many thousands of articles on inappropriate elimination on the internet and in books, the problem is perceived as belonging with the cat. The cat is seen to be at fault. He or she needs to be punished etc. for this "bad behavior".

Wrong, obviously.  Sometimes, there is a terribly arrogant approach to cat caretaking and so called "experts" are often the most guilty. The cat behaviorists - a trendy new occupation - are in fact "human behaviorists" as all their work concerns changing the behavior and habits of people!

Think on...

Related articles:

Avoiding cat behavior problems

Stopping inappropriate elimination

Michael Avatar

From Cat Inappropriate Elimination - Whose Problem? to Home Page


Popular posts from this blog

Cat Ear Mites

Brown gunge. Yes, I know this is a ferret! It does show the build up of dark brown to black ear wax caused by the presence of the cat ear mites in the outer ear canal. This parasite is not restricted to the domestic cat, which makes this photo valid and a useful illustration (I was unable to find a suitable photo of a cat with the condition). Photo Stacy Lynn Baum under a creative commons license. Ear mites (minute crab like creatures) are one of the causes of inflammation of the outer ear canal (scientific term for this inflammation is Otitis externa ). The outer ear canal is the tube that runs from outside to the ear drum (the pathway for the reception of sound), which can be seen when looking at the ear. Otitis externa affects humans and often swimmers as it is called "swimmer's ear" in humans. This YouTube video show ear mites under a microscope. They are not actually in the ear in this video. There are many possible causes of Otitis externa in c

Feline Mange

I'll write about three types of feline mange (a) feline scabies or head mange (b) demodectic mange and (c) sarcoptic mange. The source material is from Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - the best on the market . Generalised feline mange? Puerto Rico - Photo by Gotham City Lost And Found Feline Scabies - head mange Head mange or feline scabies, is a fairly rare condition in cats, which is caused by the Notoedres mite (head mite) that only reproduces on cats. The female mites burrow a few millimeters (that is a lot) into the skin around the head, and neck to lay eggs, which hatch and lay their own eggs. Their presence and activities causes intense itching that in turn causes the cat to scratch. The scratching will obviously be noticed and it will cause the skin to become red, scratched and worse infected. Symptoms: hair loss and scabs, thick wrinkled skin and grey/yellow crusts form plus the symptoms of scratching. Feline mange (head mange) is contagious and tr

Cat Anatomy

Cat Anatomy - Photo by Curious Expeditions . The picture above was taken at Wax Anatomical Models at La Specola in Florence, Italy. The photograph is published under a creative commons license kindly granted by the photographer. I am sorry if it is a bit gruesome. It is pretty well all I could find as an illustration that was licensed for publication. Cat Anatomy is a very wide ranging subject. The anatomy of a cat is very similar to human anatomy. If you were writing a biology book for students of biology you would go through every part of the a cat's anatomy in some detail. It would be similar to writing a book about the human anatomy. It would be a thick book and pretty boring for your average internet surfer. So, how do you limit such a big subject and make this post meaningful? The answer I think lies in doing two things: Having a quick general look at cat anatomy - an overview and; Focusing on the areas of cat anatomy that are particular to the cat and of parti