Cat Clinic of Cary Blog
The Litter Box Lament: Why Cats Have Litter Box Issues
One of the main conveniences of cat-ownership is that fact that most cats do not need to go outdoors to relieve themselves. Why, then, do so many cats have problems with going to the bathroom outside of their box?
Review the top five litterbox pitfalls to be sure that you are providing your cat with an optimal litter box experience.
Type of Litter Box
One size does not fit all when it comes to litter boxes. When choosing a box for your cat, take the following into account:
- Your Cat’s Size – A larger cat may need a bigger box. A shallow storage container can make a great litter box for bigger kitties.
- Hood Preference – Some cats may not like to go in a litter box with a hood. Your cat should be able to stand fully while relieving himself.
- Special Needs – Older or handicapped pets may need a box with shorter sides so that they can climb in and out easily.
Litter in the Box
Some cats are downright fussy about their litter box. Because of this, it may not be wise to not make changes in the type of litter you use. When given an option, most cats prefer a fine-grained clumping litter that is scent-free.
Litter should be deep enough to allow your cat to bury his or her waste but not so deep that it is difficult to walk in.
Be sure to scoop your litter boxes at least daily. Some cats may need their box cleaned more often, especially if you have a multi-cat household.
Litter Box Location
Where you place your litter boxes can make or break you. A good litter box is:
- Easy to get to
- Not near noisy appliances
- Accessible without navigating past scary obstacles such as dogs or children
Cats should have a litter box on each floor of the home to which they have access. This is sometimes easier said than done, but with a little creativity any home can accommodate kitty boxes that are acceptable to their feline residents.
Number of Litter Boxes
How many litter boxes do you need? This is a major mistake cat owners make. You need to have a litter box for every cat in the house PLUS one. This means that if you have three cats, you need to have four litter boxes available.
Your litter boxes should not be clustered together in one location, rather spread them through the house so your cat can choose his or her preferred potty spot.
Outside Factors Affecting Litter Box Behavior
If you are having trouble getting your cat to use the litter box, there may be other factors at play. There are several common reasons cats stop using their litter boxes that may require more extensive care. These include:
Household Stressors – Interpet dynamics, changes in the household structure or routine, or even stress in your life can affect your cat. We are happy to help you troubleshoot these types of issues through our behavioral service.
Medical Problems – A wide variety of medical problems including kidney disease, diabetes, feline lower urinary tract disease, and inflammatory bowel disease can cause litter box woes. We are happy to work to diagnose and manage these types of problems.
The litter box can be a sticky topic for some cats, but with a little savvy cat owners can minimize the chances of their pet having problems. Your cat’s routine wellness visits are a great opportunity to bring up any litter box related problems you may be having. We are always happy to help you solve the problem.