Few things challenge the human-cat bond than a feline who isn't using the litterbox, instead urinating or defecating on beds, rugs, laundry, or other places their human housemates don't consider appropriate kitty toilets.
Some of these cats get moved permanently outdoors, while others are surrendered to animal shelters or rescue groups. Fortunately, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) can help!
In an overview of their new, extensive complication of resources for cat owners, veterinarians, and anyone else looking for answers to this tough health and behavior problem, the authors say:
The AAFP/ISFM Guidelines for Diagnosing and Solving House-Soiling Behavior in Cats contain scientifically documented information when available and provide practical insight that reflects the accumulated clinical experiences of the authors. The document emphasizes that this unwanted behavior is not due to spite or anger toward the owner, but because the cat’s physical, social, or medical needs are not being met. The guidelines replace the term “inappropriate urination” with the term “house soiling” because “house soiling” implies no misconduct by the cat and thus, may encourage owners to better follow veterinary recommendations.
These guidelines help clinicians identify the causative factors of house soiling and include a cat owner questionnaire which is customizable for clinic use. Within the document is an algorithm for the diagnosis and treatment of the four basic categories of house soiling. The guidelines propose and explain two universal suggestions for the management of all cases of house soiling: (1) optimizing the litter box/tray and (2) meeting the “five pillars” of feline environmental needs. They also include specific treatment suggestions for each diagnostic category, take-home instructions for cat owners, and what steps practitioners can take if the frustrated client is considering euthanasia.
Get the complete resource list here.