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Toilet Trouble - Finding the Perfect Setup to Prevent Cat House Soiling

Clare Hemington DipCAPBT


If your cat has or is using your carpet, duvet, sofa or another piece of household furniture as a toilet this post that I wrote for Kittyglitz.com is for you!


As a Cat Behaviourist I treat lots of different cat behaviours, but one that I see more frequently than others is house soiling.

If you’ve experienced this issue with your cat, you’ll know how upsetting it can be, from both a practical and emotional perspective.

In this article I’ll be looking at how, by creating the perfect indoor toilet facilities for your cat you can either manage or resolve existing house soiling issues or help prevent them happening in the first place.

What is house soiling?

House soiling is when your cat uses your sofa, duvet, carpet, or any other household surface as a toilet, in preference to his litter tray. The term applies to both urinating and/or defecating.

Why Do Cats House Soil?

The first step in addressing this problem is to understand why your cat is performing the behaviour in the first place. Here are the two most common reasons why cats house soil:

· Medical issues

· The existing litter tray setup doesn’t fulfill your cat’s requirements.

Medical Issues



Whenever your cat’s elimination habits change, the first thing you should do is take him to your vet for a check-up and diagnosis. Your vet may also want a sample of your cat’s urine to analyse. If a physical cause is found this will be treated by your vet.

Litter Tray Setup

If, however no physical cause for the behaviour is found, then it’s time to look at what’s going on in your cat’s environment that could be causing the behaviour. This means taking a good hard look at the litter tray set up, assuming there is one.

If you don’t have any indoor toilet facilities for your cat now is absolutely the time put these in place, even if he has consistently toileted outdoors up until now. When your cat toilets outside he is in a very vulnerable position, quite literally. So, if a neighbouring cat decides to ambush him mid-flow, this is likely to put him off going to the loo outside for life. Under these circumstances, he will then find himself choosing an alternative site indoors that fulfils any of his personal criteria for a suitable toilet. A habit will then develop, and he will continue return to the chosen indoor location or surface as a conditioned response. But before rushing out to your nearest pet superstore, do read the guidelines below because choosing and installing a litter tray is not as easy as you might think!

Cats are very finicky when it comes to their toilet facilities, and to make life even more difficult for us