A Common Cause of Cat Pee Problems – It’s All About the Box

The list of possible causes of feline “toilet problems” – urinating or defecating outside the box – is a long one. But without a doubt one of the most common sources of litter training problems is the litter box itself, and the box should be the first place you look. Here’s a quick checklist of potential¬† problems:

Is it clean? Neglecting regular scooping and cleaning is inviting trouble. Felines are fastidious and cleanliness is usually major issue with them; a box that’s soiled or smelly can be a real turn-off. Cats vary in their tolerance for messy litter, but just about every cat will eventually refuse to use the approved facilities if they become truly foul. A quick daily scooping session can work wonders.

Is it TOO clean? Scrubbing and deodorizing  too often can actually create problems Рcats rely largely on the sense of smell, and if the toilet area smells too much like disinfectant the cat could actually be confused. This is particularly important with very young cats who are just mastering the art of litter training.

Is it the right size? Generally speaking, bigger is better. Many commercial containers are far too small for a cat to use comfortably. The pan should be large enough for the cat to sit in and deep enough for the cat to bury the excrement. And the bigger the cat, the bigger the container should be. If you have more than one cat using the same facilities, get the largest one you can.

Have you recently changed your brand of litter? Some cats have very definite preferences about toilet matters. Generally whatever type and brand of litter they’re the most accustomed to is going to have the best success rate. Be careful about scented products – many cats seem to object to it and may refuse to use it.

Is it in the right place? Cats like their privacy all the time, and never more than when toilet issues are concerned. The more vulnerable the cat feels while using the box, the less chance that it will be used. A quiet, out-of-the-way location is best.

Does the cat have constant access? If your cat has to get you to open the basement or garage door in order to get to the approved toilet facilities, you both have a problem. Be sure the cat as constant access, whether any humans are home or not. If possible it’s a good idea to have the “kitty bathroom” on the same floor as the main living area (or wherever the cat spends the most time), especially if you have an older cat that might find climbing stairs tiring or painful.

Is it a convenient height for the cat? Older cats, just like older humans, get arthritis. If the sides of thecontainer are too high for the cat to climb into easily, there could be problems.

Are multiple cats sharing the same facilities? This can be a real issue for some cats, while others don’t seem to mind. If you have just introduced a new cat to your household, try setting up a second toilet station near the original one.

If your litter box stands up to this checklist, it probably isn’t the cause of the toilet problems.

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