AAFP releases brochure on preventing, managing, or resolving feline house-soiling behaviors

Editor's note: This article was contributed by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP).

Feline house-soiling is one of the most common reasons why pet owners abandon or relinquish their cats. Unfortunately, these cats frequently end up in shelters where they are euthanized. The good news is that there are ways to prevent, manage, or resolve feline house-soiling behaviors. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has just released a brochure, “Feline House-Soiling: Useful Information for Cat Owners,” which describes the causes, treatment, management, and prevention of house-soiling. Cat owner education is the key to resolving house-soiling behaviors.

The AAFP’s brochure emphasizes that cats do not urinate or defecate outside their litter box due to spite or anger towards the owner, but because it’s physical, social, or medical needs are not being met. The brochure gives cat owners practical tips and information on: 

  • Four basic causes of house-soiling – Medical causes and problems, feline idiopathic cystitis, marking behaviors, and environmental and social factors.
  • Designing the optimal litter box – Number of litter boxes, location and placement of boxes, size of box, type of litter, and management of the box.
  • Removing marking triggers – Spay or neuter, restrict potential threats of other cats, and clean thoroughly and frequently.  
  • Meeting the environmental and social needs of the cat.

It also reminds cat owners to contact their veterinary practice immediately if their cat is exhibiting house-soiling behavior.   

“If you are experiencing feline house-soiling with your cat, please contact your veterinary practice. You should work with your veterinarian to identify the causative factors for the house-soiling behavior and effectively address those factors to cease or markedly decrease the unwanted behavior,” advises Hazel Carney, DVM, DABVP (Canine and Feline). 

“Cat owners should be educated about the basic causes and ways to prevent or manage house-soiling behaviors. This brochure is a complete and comprehensive tool with the purpose to educate thus decreasing the number of cats being abandoned or relinquished due to these behaviors, and allowing more cats to live long, happy lives in their current households,” said Heather O’Steen, executive director of the AAFP.

The AAFP would like to thank Ceva Animal Health for their sponsorship of this brochure and their commitment to help the veterinary community enhance the lives of cats.

About the American Association of Feline Practitioners

The American Association of Feline Practitioners improves the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education and scientific investigation.