• By: Laura Lynn O’nan, Education Coordinator

Litter box issues

At least 10 percent of all cats develop a litter box issue during their lifetime. It is important that you pay close attention to your cat’s elimination habits so that you can identify problems in the making. If your cat does her business outside of her litter box, you must act quickly to resolve the issue before she develops a preference for elimination on unacceptable surfaces or in unacceptable areas. There are several reasons why cats will have accidents outside of the litter box; below are a few of the most common.

Medical problems can cause litter box issues. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is just one common reason cats will urinate outside the litter box. UTIs are painful and cause frequent passing of urine with little warning, leading to urinating in inappropriate locations. If you see changes in your cat’s use of the litter box or their behavior, it’s best to contact your local veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.

Cats are known for a “low maintenance” reputation when it comes to potty training. Most take to litter box training instinctively and need little to no help in developing good habits. However, some cats have preferences when it comes to their litter boxes. How often you clean the litter, the size of the box, how accessible the box is, the litter itself, and whether the box is covered or not can affect your cats desire to use the box. Offering multiple options can help you and your feline family member figure out what works best.

Cats are sensitive animals. They may turn up their nose to a litter box left unclean, especially if they are used to a box being cleaned on a regular basis. Some cats will refuse certain types of litter due to the sensitivity of their paws. Declawed cats seem to prefer soft litter over hard clay-based types, because their paws are more sensitive. Other cats may refuse litters with artificial scents added, because the smell is off-putting or because it masks their own scent.

Often times multiple cats in one house will require multiple litter boxes. Some cats prefer not to share litter boxes and will take “possession” over one. This can cause conflicts between the cats, creating stress which could lead to urinating and defecating in inappropriate areas of the house. It is a smart idea to have a litter box for each cat living in the home, as well as an extra one just in case.

Having the litter boxes in multiple locations can also help prevent conflicts between cats.

Most elimination issues are temporary and are easily resolved if you act quickly. It is important to take litter box issues seriously at the first sign of a problem, before it becomes a chronic issue. We are more than happy to answer any remaining questions. Feel free to contact us at 859-873-5491 or manager@woodfordhumane.org any time.

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