The top problem many owners of indoor cats have is that their cats are going to the bathroom outside of their litter boxes. This is not only wearisome, but can be very expensive as veterinarian and cleaning expenses can add up very fast.
If your cat is not using his litter box, he is trying to tell you that something is wrong. It\’s up to us as our pet\’s caretaker to determine what the problem is and fix it! To do that, let\’s have a look at a number of the common reasons cats stop using their litter boxes.
Dirty Litter Box. Indoor cats are incredibly particular in terms of having a clean litter box to use. If you\’ve not been persistent about keeping your cat\’s litter box clean, then you can definitely expect litter box problems from your cat. After all, we\’ve probably all opted at one time or another to go in the great outdoors rather than using a filthy outhouse or a gas station bathroom. It\’s no different for your cat.
If the box is dirty, then you should thoroughly clean it as well as the area around it. Empty out all the used litter, clean the box using a cleaning solution such as diluted bleach, and refill with clean litter. Use Nature\’s Miracle, a product that eliminates odors, to decontaminate the area surrounding the cat litter box, to include the walls. A black light will reveal where the stains are. Clean and/or replace any cat litter box mats or rugs you keep outside the litter box.
Scoop a minimum of once or twice daily, and completely replace the cat litter – taking care to clean the box – at least once every month.
Health issues. Indoor cats are inclined to develop kidney and urinary tract infections. These conditions are usually painful for cats and can cause them to eliminate outside the litter box. It\’s difficult to tell when a cat is suffering because cats are good at hiding their symptoms. That said, if you think your cat could be ill, please seek immediate attention from your veterinarian! As with humans, the longer a health issue goes undetected and untreated, the more difficult it gets to cure.
A good way to help keep your cat from developing urinary health problems to begin with is to ensure that your cat gets an adequate amount of water on a consistent basis. Feeding your cat quality canned food with good water content and providing your cat with a fountain are a couple of the top ways to carry this out.
Placement: Cats need peace and quiet when they use their litter boxes. Maybe the box is beside an appliance that makes intermittent noises, or maybe your cat needs to walk past a hyper dog. Consider this from your cat\’s vantage point and choose a better location. Be certain your cat has free access to the location all the time (i.e., if it\’s in the basement, make sure the basement door is always open). Also, make sure the litter box is far away from your cat\’s eating area.
Type of Litter and/or Cat Litter Box: If you\’re using scented cat litter, immediately switch to unscented cat litter. Dr. Elsey\’s Precious Cat is a top choice, and so is ScoopAway\’s unscented clumping litter. There are also other sorts of litter on the market, including corn or pine based cat litters. Many cats just \”don\’t dig\” these other kinds of litter so if in doubt, stick with clay.
Covered cat litter boxes trap odors and dust, and breathing in dust can cause respiratory problems. Small boxes aren\’t comfortable for cats to use; and self-cleaning boxes can fail to function properly and startle your cat. If any of these scenarios describes your situation, change to a large, uncovered litter pan.
Going Forward. Since everyone knows that bad habits are hard to break, it\’s far better to prevent them from developing in the first place. Here are seven things you can do to avoid future litter box problems: 1) Keep the box clean. 2) Set up an extra box. The recommended number is one box per cat plus one. 3) To help prevent urinary illnesses, make certain your cat gets enough water by feeding wet food and providing a water fountain. Get your cat regular check-ups with your veterinarian. 4) Use unscented cat litter. 5) Use a large, uncovered litter box. 6) Choose a quiet spot for the litter box that is nowhere near your cat\’s eating area. 7) Praise your indoor cats for using the box! Develop a code word, for example \”litter box\” and use it with your cat as you praise him. Then you can remind him to use the box if issues do arise in the future.