I’ve had good results resolving ‘inappropriate’ elimination, most of my clients being feline and a few dogs.
Regarding cats, I’ve found that peeing directly outside the box can indicate a dislike for their litter, the position or location of the box or a dirty box. The cause for urinating on the bed or furniture can be a response to this as well, but most likely is an unresolved emotional issue. (I first rule out bladder infection by doing a body scan and also suggest a urinalysis at the Vet if the session is not successful.) Spraying is usually a more adamant and immediate demand to be heard, like us yelling. Especially when they spray or urinate in front of us. This by no means is the golden rule, just a generalization based on the cases that I’ve had. And of course, situations can be much more complex.
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.
One 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. One cat didn’t like his box ‘hiding’. His person had kept it half under a chair.
Scarlet was pooping outside the litter box and peeing in the sink. She told me she wasn't happy. When I asked her what would make her happy, she showed me an outside area that she no longer had access to, and missed. Her person, Abby said that she had always taken Scarlet to an outside courtyard until they moved. Abby agreed to take her out at the new home. Scarlet started using the box.
Cats will spray when they are overwhelmed or stressed; due to humans, they may not like or too many cats or chaos in the household. Perhaps it is like us humans venting, not necessarily in anger, but in an attempt to get it off our chests.
Spraying was comforting and grounding for my own cat Bubby, trapped in an unbearable living situation. I’m embarrassed to say...living with me and my partner, both of us yelling and slamming doors. Bubby sprayed for nearly 10 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 & I split up that Bubby stopped spraying. My girl cat Ertha would pee on Michael’s bed. Never mine. Hmmm.
Often the people need to change. When the problem isn’t cleared up after I’ve gotten a clear answer from the animal and the people have made all the changes they can, I know the animal's problem is mirroring the people.
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.” It turned out that the person had been grieving his other dog who passed away. The new dog, Bernie, picked up on his person’s grief, was confused by it and began soiling. As it turned out, his loving person, frustrated with Bernie for peeing, would tell his dog he was going to take him back. Although he was not serious, it compounded the dog’s fear and insecurity, and he continued soiling. Bernie had come from a rescue, and while there had been placed in potential homes several times, only to be returned to the rescue again and again. 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.
Often clients will call and tell me that if I can’t stop their animal from soiling they are going to get rid of them. These are extremely difficult cases since the animal now fears losing his home on top of everything else. How you react to your animal soiling can help or harm the problem. Remember that animals hear your thoughts (and words) and respond to your intentions. Soiling is communication, not spite.
Sometimes we may be spot on, but due to unknown circumstances, the problem continues. As with Monster, a bull dog rescue who pooped in the bedroom, a room his people spent most of their time in, and a red flag. Monster told me that he was worried about his people leaving him, that he didn’t want to be alone. The people had no clue to what this could possibly mean. They had no intentions of ever giving Monster away. “He is loved dearly and never left alone."
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 still continued to poop in the bedroom. I gave up. The people would be going on vacation soon 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 his people had started planning their vacation and were indeed talking about ‘leaving’. A minor detail overlooked, and the crux of the problem.
When I doubt myself or what I’ve heard from the animal and think that I may have missed the mark (usually I have not), I take a look at the animal's chakras. If I see the heart chakra is out of balance, for example, and the people swear to me that they “work at home, have a great relationship with their animal, and s/he is not lonely”, I will clear and balance that chakra for the animal. Sometimes this will be enough to restore inner harmony and resolve the problem. If not, it will at least help to validate my findings. I can then proceed to ask the animal the right questions. Why are you lonely? How do you feel when your people are not paying attention to you?, what can they do to make it better? etc.
Another thing that helped a dog with an anxiety separation/pee problem was EFT. (Emotional Freedom Technique) I couldn’t get through to this dog any other way. Although he expressed his feelings to me clearly, and I worked with him extensively, when his person left he was out of control. I simply told the person to call the next time she left her dog alone, and immediately started EFT from my home. It works.
Voice of Experience:
Cats Out of the Box
Species Link Magazine
Spring Issue 74, 2009