I interpret this behavior as being triggered by the earthy and sometimes moldy scent of the cement floor.
Most cats will stop soiling the floor when it is sealed with a few coats of epoxy resin-type paint. Temporarily, after cleaning or treating the floor with a sealant, I would cover it with thick, plastic sheeting. You can drag this outside, hose it down and let it dry as needed.
Relocating the litter box and whatever else is in the basement for the cats to one of the upper floors is another option.
Dear Dr. Fox: My new poodle, a rescue, is sweet, shy and adjusting to her surroundings. Her only problem is that she chews newspapers. She had been neglected in her previous home. What can I do to stop this, and is she trying to tell me there’s something wrong?
— C.B., Bethesda, Md.
Dear C.B.: The set response to your common complaint is to keep newspapers away from your dog, but one should always wonder why dogs sometimes do odd things like yours chewing the newspaper.
Is she playing and needs more suitable and safe chew toys? Perhaps she developed this behavior out of boredom or having been confined in a crate/cage with newspapers on the bottom?
I would have a veterinary checkup done soon because such behavior (abnormal appetite, called pica) can be associated with inflammation in the mouth (tonsillitis, gingivitis, etc.).
Chewing and swallowing things may help relieve discomfort in the mouth or a stomachache because of worms.
If your dog is a toy rather than standard poodle, her teeth and gums may need immediate veterinary attention.
Incredible homing cat: Four-year-old tortoiseshell cat Holly became separated from her human companions at a recreational vehicle rally in Daytona Beach, Fla., in early November 2012. She traveled some 200 miles and was taken in by a caring family who found her in their West Palm Beach, Fla., yard on New Year’s Eve.