If you have a little accident...
Nothing upsets people with cats more than to
find that their much-loved and hitherto house-trained tiger has suddenly ceased
to be clean.
Drastic reactions – like screaming at the cat,
chasing it with a water pistol or rubbing its face in the mess – can however
lead to a complete loss of trust and be completely counter-productive.
- If the cat suddenly starts behaving in a
completely different way, there has to be a reason for it. There is a whole
range of possible explanations, and the first thing is to look into these and
investigate the cause. But if you have been sticking to all the fundamental
rules described earlier, it is unlikely that one slip is going to lead to a
permanent state of affairs.
- Is the litter too coarse for the cat’s very
sensitive paws, or have you suddenly changed to a new brand of litter?
- Is the cat’s toilet too small, located in an
inappropriate place, unsuitable or not sufficiently clean – and are enough
- Is the cat unfamiliar with the house, or is it
having difficulty in getting its bearings? Has the cat had a spell in a cattery
or an animals’ hospital, and is finding it hard to adapt, now it is back home ?
- Does the cat have any health problems (like
cystitis or diarrhoea)? Is it getting old and incontinent?
- Is the cat sexually mature and has not been
neutered – could that be why he is marking his territory?
- Is it suffering stress from a changed situation
– like moving house, competition from other cats, new furniture,
the family, a death or divorce, changes in the routine of the people around it?
- Is the cat working off a traumatic experience
(an encounter with a dog, New Year’s Eve fireworks or something like that), or
are intruders invading its territory, e.g. by way of the cat flap?
- Does the cat need more attention?
If the cat has got fixated on a place other than
the litter tray, you should act quickly to make it as unattractive as possible.
You can keep the door to the room shut at all times, or move the furniture
around. You can also move the feeding area to the place the cat has just
polluted – because cats never do their business at the same place where they
feed. If you cover the spot temporarily with plastic film or aluminium foil,
that will also act as a deterrent.
You must then place a cat’s toilet in the
immediate vicinity of the no-go area – then move it each day gradually closer
to the place where you want it to be. If even the most thorough cleaning fails
to produce results, you should get rid of the dubious blanket or carpet
altogether. If even traces of the smell remain, the place where they are
perceptible will continue to be viewed by the cat as a public convenience.
For a particularly thorough cleaning, we
recommend the following steps:
- First clean the spot intensively with hot water and
a neutral cleaning agent.
- Then rub it thoroughly with a cloth that has
been impregnated with at least 40% cleaning alcohol (you can get this
- Finally go over it again with a special
enzyme-based cleaning agent (obtainable from a pet shop or over the internet) .
- This dissolves the fat contained in the urine,
as well as the urine crystals, and the smell disappears altogether, even for