Cats Out of the Box
I am frustrated as an animal communicator regarding handling cats eliminating outside the litter box. Twice I have worked exhaustively with a cat to try to stop such behavior to no avail (and this is after the human clients bent over backwards changing things in the house, daily routines, foods, etc.) I know that effort has to come from both the person and the animal. In both of these cases there has been huge effort from the people. Has anyone ever been able to stop a cat from messing in the house? I’d appreciate knowing how you worked with this situation and the results. –Elizabeth Woodward
Sometimes a lot of detective work is needed to get to the real reason the cat is doing this.–Betty Lewis
Reasons and Solutions
Our experienced pool of animal communicators agreed that the reasons and the solutions to the problem of inappropriate kitty elimination were widely varied and very much an individual matter. It boiled down to the detective work of discovering the cat’s message, then implementing strategies for creating a harmonious solution for both human and animal. Another point of agreement within the animal communicator community was checking with the vet or via body scan to see if there is a physical problem needing veterinary attention before looking for an emotional component.
Expert in the House
Lynn McKenzie has had a great deal of success resolving kitty potty issues. She has some very helpful experiences and practical tips to share.
Lynn defines the problem as a multifaceted situation that needs to be addressed on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. “I start off my sessions by getting a general idea of how the cat is feeling and what his or her experiences have been lately. I go right back to the time the problem began and try to get a good feel for what he or she was experiencing. Sometimes, having cats just share their story with their people is such a relief to them that the situation clears up effortlessly. However, more work is usually required.
“Using a healing system that I have devised through merging a number of modalities, I tune in energetically and start to clear any blocked or negative energies in the cat. When working with inappropriate eliminators, I find there are usually a good number of emotional blockages or imbalances that require clearing. One method I use for determining and clearing them is through dowsing or kinesiology using the professional kinesiology practitioner’s ‘Five Element Emotion Chart’. Since the imbalanced energy of cats naturally tend to lean more towards issues of fear, anxiety, cautiousness, and restlessness, their energetic ‘weak point’ is often found to be the kidney/bladder meridian or water element. This is not always the case, but more often than not, I find a number of blockages or imbalances in this area.
“I also go on to work on their spiritual energy level and work with their chakras (energy centers in the body). I find that there are two chakras that almost always come up in every inappropriate eliminator. I also do brain balances to help them integrate their brain energy, which allows for healing and a more logical approach to behavior.
“The energies that cats deal with are those that they have picked up or absorbed from sources outside themselves such as their people, house guests, contractors, and neighbors. They are highly sensitive and psychically in-tune creatures, and even the slightest amount of stress in their person’s life, even if it’s happening outside the home, can trigger an episode of inappropriate elimination.
“I worked with one cat that had started eliminating outside the box during the time her person’s bathroom was being renovated. Logic would have said that the cat was upset with the contractors and noise in the house; however, it turned out to be that the new paint color of the room was completely short-circuiting the cat’s energy. I was able to balance her to the new color and all has been fine since then.
“I have also worked with cats that live in condos and multiplexes that have begun eliminating outside the box due to new neighbors that have moved in nearby or above or below them. Since energy permeates walls, it can be useful to clear and protect the living space. There are a number of ways to do this, including holding an energy ceremony whereby you visualize the entire space being filled and replaced with white (or even violet) light that will keep the energy of the other units out and contain the energy within your space. You can anchor this new energy in the space by placing crystals in each corner.
“I like to use what I call guerrilla tactics when dealing with inappropriate elimination. That means pulling out the big guns. I teach clients to help their cats ground themselves and release non-beneficial ‘absorbed energy’, especially when they’re living in unnatural environments. I recommend color therapy, flower essences, and crystals, such as amber, designed to support the bladder. As a temporary measure, I also recommend placing multiple boxes around the home, often with different types of litter, especially in areas where elimination is occurring. Shower curtain liners make a good safety net for couches and beds and often act as a deterrent.”
More Information from Cats
Jennifer Dickman often finds that cats will have suggestions for solving the ‘outside the box’ problem. She’s had cats tell her they needed boxes in multiple sites and that they were spraying to mask the scent of other cats in the household.
Janel has found that if the litter box is not deep enough, the cat is splashed when it urinates. A deeper box with more litter has resolved many cat box problems she’s dealt with.
Jennifer Dickman says the solution is often found in a combination of communication work with the cat, household changes, and products like Feliway and flower essences. (She highly recommends Sharon Callahan’s flower essences, available at www.anaflora.com.)
Nedda Wittels acknowledges that marking behavior is important and natural to cats, so setting realistic expectations for the client may be as important as figuring out what’s going on. She says five or ten years of marking behavior may not be “talked away,” and understanding what the cat needs and is trying to say is the best road to success. Nedda poses questions to the cat about litter, the type of litter box, and emotional concerns similar to those addressed in the article Feline Inappropriate Urination by Dr. Jane Leon at the end of this column.
The Human Component
Cats that urinate and defecate inside the house are sometimes reacting directly to messages from their human companions that result in heightened stress for the animal. There are often dire consequences from humans for inappropriate elimination and animals are threatened with death and abandonment as a result. Nedda says the human factor includes those messages the cat is receiving about the consequences of their behavior.
Like several of our respondents, Nedda’s resolution to the problem often includes recommending flower essences. Her sessions also include eliciting a commitment from both human and animal. “I always ask both the cat and the person to make a commitment to change things,” she says.
Working with Taj, April Prager’s white tabby point, has given her thirteen years of insights into the issue. “We go for long periods without an incident. This requires a very steady routine, like clockwork, of clean litter boxes, feeding, and walking Taj on a leash at regular times as you might walk a dog. Some cats just hate the litter box. They much prefer the outdoors,” she says.
April cautions that cats are extremely sensitive to their environments and to visualizations, so she works at keeping her mental pictures harmonious. Taj, like many of our feline companions, also mirrors his person’s issues.
“Taj is a very strong willed male cat. If he gets upset about something or if I am ungrounded, that is when the problem can show up. It’s a great incentive to work with my own issues! Most of the time, when I am home, I can tell him, Taj, ‘Go pee in the box’ and he will. Then I praise him and give him a treat. I keep reinforcing good behavior,” says April.
Ask the Right Questions
Coming up with the correct questions to ask can sometimes be a challenge for an animal communicator. Coryelle Kramer offers some specific questions she has used to get to the bottom of the problem.
– What do you need in order to be completely happy in your current situation?
– What feelings come up in you before you go outside the litter box that make you feel like this is a good idea?
– How do you feel right now?
After physical causes are ruled out, Shirley Scott asks about any stress that may be occurring in the household. “Most cats hate change and even a little thing like change of food, litter, or moving their favorite house plant around can make them stop using their box,” she observes. Shirley adds that cats who are born feral are often triggered by outside stimuli. “If they smell or see another animal outside, it’s enough to make them remember their feral days when they sprayed and marked their territory.
“I also ask if it’s ‘messing’ or ‘marking.’ Some cats spray and some will urinate normally to mark their territory. Both need to be cleaned with either vinegar and water or a special cleaner just for urine. Cleaning should be done under a black light so you can see if the cleaner is really working to take away both the scent and the stain; otherwise the cat will remark it. I offer the cat the alternative of rubbing his face against the place where he wants to leave his scent. Putting up an energy wall of love around the cat helps. I ask the Universe to put this energy around him so he can see through it with love and begin to understand that his behavior is upsetting to his human companions.”
Spraying as a Stress Reliever
Dexter Del Monte reveals that spraying was comforting and grounding for her cat, Bubby, whom she felt was trapped in an unbearable living situation. “I’m embarrassed to say that living with me and my partner yelling and slamming doors, Bubby sprayed for nearly ten years! Back then, I had no idea what that sticky stuff was that I found on the computer, stereo, my artwork, and photography—all the things that were dear to us. It wasn’t until Michael and I split up that Bubby stopped spraying.”
Dexter shares another experience with a dog. “Bernie, a beagle mix, was peeing deliberately on the rug and just missing the pad provided for him. All I kept hearing from the dog was, ‘I don’t want to go back.’ The person was grieving for his other dog who had passed away. The new dog, Bernie, picked up on his person’s grief and was confused by it, so he began soiling.
“His loving person, frustrated with Bernie for peeing inappropriately, would tell his dog he was going to return him to the rescue group. Although Bernie’s person was not serious about this threat, this compounded the dog’s fear and insecurity, so he continued soiling. Bernie had come from a rescue where he had been placed several times, only to be returned. After I convinced Bernie that he had a home forever with his person and explained why his person was so sad, he stopped urinating in the house.
“Sometimes we may be spot on, but due to unknown circumstances, the problem continues. This was the case with Monster, a bulldog rescue who pooped in the bedroom—a room where he and his people spent most of their time. Monster told me that he was worried about his people leaving him and didn’t want to be alone. The people had no clue what this could possibly mean. I had three sessions with Monster. Each time I heard the same thing. Each time I reassured Monster that no one was leaving him. He continued to poop in the bedroom. I gave up. The people were going on vacation and the problem remained unresolved. I then reminded the people to tell Monster when they would return. I did the same. Monster stopped pooping in the bedroom!
“It then dawned on me: Monster began soiling around the time the people had started planning their vacation and were indeed talking about ‘leaving’. A minor detail overlooked, and the crux of the problem.”
In these kinds of cases, Dexter also observes the animal’s chakras and does some clearing as needed and has also used Emotional Freedom Technique with great success.
Kumari Mullin is no stranger to detective work. She’s negotiated truces and boundaries between animals, and cleared the energy in their homes to bring about a resolution. The solution to one cat’s issue was a bit surprising.
“One cat was peeing on a couch and it turned out she wanted to know about the mother-in-law who had sat there petting her for two months. When the woman left, the cat wondered what happened to her. Once we told the cat that all was well and the mother-in-law went back to live in her house, she stopped peeing!”
Betty Lewis cautions animal communicators to consider something that might get past them when dealing with litter box issues. “If the people wear strong scents like perfume, aftershave, or hairspray, some cats respond with their own ‘perfume.’ This can manifest in two ways: a cat who is trying to tell his people he doesn’t like the strong smells or, a cat who doesn’t care about the smells per se, but is being social and joining in with his own version.
“You may have to explain to the cat that people don’t view the scent of urine and feces in the same way that cats do (as a communication tool) and would prefer that the cat keep his perfume in the designated spot.”
Kumari Mullin is working on a case that’s been difficult, but demonstrates an area not to be overlooked. “It now appears there’s some scar tissue left over from neutering that’s bothering this kitty. So possibly there are health issues that many vets may be missing,” she says.
Cathy Currea has found that spaying or neutering an animal can lead to leaking urine and other urination difficulties which can be misconceived as inappropriate behavior. One client called Cathy after she found her cat was leaking urine on just about everything including the client’s pillow. The client thought her cat might be purposely urinating. “When I communicated with the cat,” Cathy explains, “she showed me the leaking urine was coming from what felt like weakened bladder muscles and scar tissue. The cat felt her spay surgery caused the problem and it was upsetting her to leak urine and soil herself. I immediately referred my client to a homeopathic vet. My client reported the leaking stopped shortly after she gave her cat a homeopathic remedy.”
Gena Wilson has a visualization technique that has been successful. She sends the cat an image of using the litter box, asking that those who live with the kitty send a similar image for three days. This repeated telepathic transmission reinforces the desired image for the cat over the three-day period.
Gena warns that with some older cats, she has found a depth perception issue, which can make the box threatening for them. “I suggest getting a flatter box and using a light color and darker color litter for contrast to help with the perception.”
How Long Has This Been Going On?
Dexter Del Monte notices consistencies in where the kitty is relieving herself outside the box. She’s found a dislike for the litter or a dirty box is often the reason. Urinating on the bed or furniture is often an unresolved emotional issue.
“Lucia, a two-year-old cat, had been soiling the couch for her entire two years. I assumed it most likely had to do with the person’s boyfriend or a dysfunctional relationship with her person. However, Lucia immediately sent me a picture of her litter, the clumping kind, and said it was making her nauseous. I couldn’t believe it could be this simple, but sure enough, her person had never used anything else, switched to another type, and the problem was resolved.
“Another cat didn’t like the cover on his box. Sharing the house with seven other cats, he had six boxes to choose from; all were covered.
“Another cat didn’t like his box ‘hiding’. His person had kept it half under a chair,” Dexter says.
Tim Link says that even when changes are made to better suit the cat, it takes time for them to respond positively. So when a client calls you back in an hour to say the communication didn’t work, ask them to give it some time. Tim’s technique in resolving this problem is “to ask the cat what the reasons are and trust the information that I am receiving back. Once you hit on the main reason for the behavior change, the cat will respond.”
Cathy Currea finds that an animal can stop their inappropriate bathroom behaviors after one consultation and has tremendous success helping to stop this unwanted behavior even if the behavior has been going on for years. “However, I have also had a few animals whom I can talk with until I am blue in the face and they refuse to use their litter box or go outside to do their business. It doesn’t matter if their people make changes; the animal is determined to eliminate on their terms, not the humans. Thankfully this type of situation is extremely rare,” Cathy chuckled.
Outdoors or Bust
Like many of us, Gena Wilson has also met cats who needed to get outdoors at any cost, and when their strong messages went unheeded, inappropriate elimination went unresolved. “Once I had a kitty (client) who just wanted to be an outdoor cat and that was that. If the cat continued to live inside, well, it would do its business in the house. Unhappiness can cause all of us to act out in destructive ways. This person honored the cat and found a home where she could be an indoor and an outdoor kitty. Now, she’s a very happy cat,” Gena recalled.
Shirley Scott has four cats and one of them refused to stop spraying in the house. “He now is happy to come in and visit but then wants back outside. He has his territory and I often see him spraying everything he can in that territory. He was born feral and he once told me he felt good about himself when he sprays something because he feels like it becomes his. I have an enclosed, heated house for him outside and he loves it. But he wants everyone to know he is the king of his territory and all my talking, pleading and energy work has fallen on a very bull-headed but happy cat.”
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