Inappropriate Elimination Questionnaire

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Questionnaire for Cats with

Inappropriate Elimination Disorders

Help us to help you with the least amount of time and funds spent for the both of us. Inappropriate elimination is a big and annoying problem. The sooner we get to the core cause the happier your household will be. 

Environment: Floor plan:  Please draw a map of your home to bring to your appointment– include: 

  1. All screen doors, inside doors, and front and back doors
  2. Locations of all litter boxes, (assign each a number) exact dimensions of each litter box, and whether or not each or any of the boxes is covered.
  3. Include locations of washer and dryer, and any furniture in the vicinity of the litter box(es).
  4. Indicate which windows or doors give your cat(s) visual access to the outside.
  5. Indicate all areas where you have discovered inappropriate urination or defecation occurring. Note whether this is occurring on a flat surface (carpeted area, throw rug, tile or hardwood floor, clothes on the floor, plastic on the floor), or on a horizontal surface (the wall, inside of a door).
  6. Indicate which portions of the house each cat “hangs out in” most frequently and if these areas are on elevated surfaces (cat trees, window sills, countertops, etc.)
  7. Indicate locations of all cat food bowls. 

 Use the following keys to indicate location of each of the following: 

  • Litter boxes (use the numbers 1,2,3, etc. to correspond to box locations)
  • Feeding locations (F)
  • Scratching posts (SP)
  • Sleeping spots – daytime (SD)
  • Sleeping areas – nighttime (SN)
  • Play area (P)
  • Site of inappropriate scratching (IS)
  • Site of inappropriate urination (IU)
  • Site of inappropriate bowel movements (ID) 

Medical and General History:  

  • How old is your cat?
  • Where did it come from?
  • At what age was the cat neutered?
  • How many previous owners has your cat had?
  • Is the cat an indoor only cat? Indoors/outdoors? Outdoors only? Put out on a leash? Explain.
  • What do you feed your cat? (Include brand names of dry, canned, treats, snacks, people food and supplements.)
  • When was the last time it was wormed? With what?
  • Has it been to another vet for any reason?
  • Have you noticed any changes in his or her weight recently? Describe.
  • Do you have copies of previous blood work and urinalysis so that we can evaluate them?
  • Have there been any changes in frequency or amount of urine? Number of bowel movements or consistency of the stool?
  • Is your cat drinking more water than usual?
  • What type of water do you use for your cat?
  • Have you noticed any changes in his or her water intake? Describe.
  • How often is the water dish cleaned?
  • How much water does your cat consume?
  • Is your cat eating normally?        

How many cats are in your home? Ages? (See multi cat household questions below).

  • Have you noticed any changes in his or her appetite? Describe.
  • Have you noticed changes in your cat’s appearance or behavior?
  • Do you see any blood or worms in the stool?
  • How would you describe the size, shape, color and numbers of stools?
  • What, if any changes, have you noticed in your cat’s coat?
  • Is his or her behavior normal otherwise? 

History of Inappropriate Elimination

  • When did you first notice the occurrence of inappropriate urination/defecation?
  • Is there a pattern to the inappropriate elimination?  (e.g. seasons of the year, days of the week, time of day or while owner is out of town)? 
  • Have there been previous episodes of inappropriate urination? 
  • Do you see any visible blood in the urine?
  • What’s new in the household? For example:
  • Were there any changes in the litter, litter box, or box location when the problem began? 
  • Was the cat “litter box trained”?
  • Have you noticed any changes in his or her urination?  Describe.
  • How was the situation handled so far? What correction techniques have been tried and what were the outcomes of each? 
  • Does the cat have any health problems that you know of?
  • Do other cats in the household have existing or new health problems?
  • Has your cat ever been on any medication for his/her inappropriate elimination or any other problem?
  • Have any drugs been tried for inappropriate urination? If yes, please list and describe the effect of each.
  • Do you use Feliway?
  • Has the cat ever had a urinalysis performed? If yes, what were the results and treatment?  
  • If your cat is inappropriately urinating, how would you describe the amount of urine? 
  • New child in home?
  • Long or short term visitors?
  • Owners on vacation?
  • Boarding or pet sitter?
  • Repairman or construction projects?
  • New friends?
  • New pets introduced?
  • Death or people or pets in the family?
  • New carpets? Flooring?
  • Newly waxed floors?
  • Parties?
  • Family difficulties?
  • Did you move the litter boxes to a new location?
  • To the best of your knowledge, were any of your cats ever “attacked” or “pounced upon” by another animal? Was this around the litter box?
  • What do you use to clean up the urine or feces in inappropriate areas and around the litterbox?
  • Do you use ammonia products such as Windex? This will cause the cat to mark over the ammonia smell. 

Owner Awareness

  • When did the inappropriate elimination begin? 
  • How often does it occur?
  • Have you ever witnessed the inappropriate elimination?
  • Or did another family member tell you about it?
  • Can we talk to the family member that may give us the most information?
  • Do you clean your pets litter box?
  • How often does your cat urinate outside of the box? Defecate outside of the box?
  • What do you think is causing the problem? 
  • If you have actually SEEN your cat in the act of not using the box
    • Do you perceive that your cat is in any discomfort when urinating or defecating?
    • How did you handle the situation? 


  • Are the areas close to doors or windows where the cat is spraying?
  • Which levels of the house does the problem occur? 
  • Can your cat see, hear, or smell other cats on your property? 
  • Are the drapes left open or closed when you leave the house?
  • Have you recently moved to a new house?
  • Do you know of any new cats in the neighborhood?
  • Do you have any dogs or other pets in your home?
  • Do you see stray/feral/or owned cats frequently in your neighborhood?
  • Were there any changes in the household when the problem began? 
  • Are there new work schedules? Changes of routine?
  • Are you spending as much or more time with the cat as you were spending with it last month?
  • Were there any events that you may be aware of that could have precipitated the problem?
  • Are the litter boxes in easy-to-get to places where it is quiet and out of the way of foot traffic?
  • Is there easy access to the litter boxes?
  • Is there a litter box on the same floor as the cat spends most of its time?
  • Have there been any loud noises discharged when the cat was in the litter box?  

Litter Box Behavior: 

Describe your cat’s behavior in the litter box.  

  •  Does the cat get into the litter box fully?
  • Does it stand outside the litter box while eliminating?
  • Does it dig in the litter or paw outside the box?
  • Does it get in and out as quickly as possible?
  • Does it spend a lot of time digging around both before and after urinating or defecating?
  • Are all four of its feet in the litter box when he/she is using it?
  • Anything else you’ve noticed? Please describe.
  • Has the cat ever had any variation in covering the feces or urine, and is any of that variation associated with the presence or absence of any other situation or cat? For example, does your cat leave urine uncovered, covers only the feces or leaves it uncovered?
  • Does the cat ever use a shower, sink or bathtub for elimination?
  • Does the cat ever vocalize while he eliminates?
  •  Does your cat consistently urinate or defecate outside the litter box or will he/she sometimes use the box?
  • Does the cat use one box for urinating and another for defecating?
  • Will the cat immediately use a freshly cleaned litter box? This suggests the need for very clean litter.
  • Will the cat spray against the back of a covered or tall-backed litter box? Or on the wall against which the litter box sits?
  • Does your cat use the box to urinate but the urine sprays over the top of the ledge of the box? 

Elimination behavior: 

  • Are there any surfaces where your cat will not eliminate? Linoleum, carpet, dirt, certain types of litter, paper.
  • Is there a preference for urinating on:
    • Upright surfaces (e.g. walls)?
    • Horizontal surfaces (e.g. floors)?
  • Is there a particular object, clothing, or piece of furniture that is involved? 
  • What kind of surface does your cat use outside of the box? 
  • Does any straining or pain accompany: Urination? Defecation?
  • Does the animal eliminate in the presence of other animals or people, or is the elimination behavior secret? If the cat seems to prefer privacy, place the box appropriately. 

Litter Box Section

  • Where are the boxes? (Please bring or send a floor plan.) 
  • List the types of litter boxes you have tried in the past and the cat’s reaction to each.
  • List previous litter box locations and the cat’s reaction to each.  
  • Does the cat respond differently to any of the above styles of boxes or litters, sizes of box, or depths of litters? 
  • How many litter boxes are available to the cat(s)? 
  • How many cats share the litter boxes? 
  • What are the sizes of the boxes that you are currently using? 
  • How old is each litter box? 
  • How many of the boxes are covered? 
  • How deep is the litter in each of the boxes? 
  • How deep (in inches) is the litter in each of the boxes?
  • How frequently is the litter changed or scooped?
  • How frequently are the litter boxes washed? 
  • Are deodorants used in the cleaning process? What do you use?
  • Are liners ever used in your litter boxes? If liners are used, are they scented? 

Kitty Litter Substrate:  

  • List all the types and brand names of litter used for each box.
  • List any other litters you have tried in the past and the cat’s reaction to each. 
  • Are any of the litters you use scented?
  • Do you add anything extra to the litter?
  • Are you using a flushable litter?
  • Did you recently purchase a new brand of litter?  
  • How do you dispose of the litter? 
  • What do you do with the litter after it is scooped?
  • How long after the litter was scooped is it taken outside? 

Multi Cat households: 

  • What are the ages of all your cats?
  • How many female cats do you have?
  • Are all of the females in the home neutered (spayed)?
  • How many male cats do you have?
  • Are all of the males in the home neutered?
  • Do they play together?
  • Do they merely tolerate each other?
  • Are there any personality conflicts between the cats or other pets in the household? 
  • Have you noticed any recent changes in the “cat dynamics” in your home? For example: Previously unchallenged dominant cat now being challenged? Two cats who previously got along well not getting along as well? A dominant cat picking on the others?
  • Have your other cat(s) had any recent significant abnormal health history? In particular, have any of your cats been recently diagnosed with a gastrointestinal problem, diabetes, kidney failure, urinary tract infection, or hyperthyroidism?
  • How many cats actually share a litter box?
  • Do your cats seem to get along well?
  • Do they curl up and sleep together?d