Dealing with a cat who won’t use the litter box is one of the most frustrating issues cat guardians may be faced with. It’s also one of the most common reasons why cats are returned to shelters. The reasons why cats eliminate outside the litter box vary, and include litter box aversion, urine marking, hormonal problems, and medical issues.
The average cat uses the litter box three to five times a day. It would make sense that something that is used so frequently on a daily basis requires that we humans put a lot of thought into it. Unfortunately, cat guardians often select a litter box for all the wrong reasons – or at least for the wrong reasons from the cat’s perspective.
I was delighted to see that the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) devoted an entire section of its new Feline House-Soiling Guidelines to designing the optimal litter box. Their recommendations closely mirror what I’ve been telling my readers and clients for many years.Continue Reading
They say cleanliness is next to godliness, and that is never more true than when it comes to your cat’s litter box. A dirty litter box is a common reason why cats will eliminate outside the box – and can you blame them? How would you like to use a toilet that hasn’t been flushed in days?
I am meticulous about scooping our litter boxes. Since I work from home, I usually scoop as soon as Ruby or Allegra have deposited something in the box, so litter box odors aren’t much of an issue at our house. But even if you’re not home all day, at a minimum, the litter box should be scooped twice a day.Continue Reading
When cat’s begin to urinate and/or defecate outside the litter box, there are a number of different suggestions that are made to help convince the cat to return to the litter box. As a veterinarian, I’ve had this discussion and made these same recommendations over and over again to my cat-owning clients. I’ve also spoken about them here: Cat Litter Box Problems: What to do When Your Cat Decides Not to Use the Litter Box.
Most cats deposit their pee and poop in the litter box, cover it up, and they’re done. So why do some cats refuse to cover their poop?
There are a few different theories. The first step, as with any change in your cat’s behavior, is always to rule out a medical problem. This is especially important if your cat has previously buried her disposals, and all of a sudden stops doing so. If a cat experiences pain or discomfort during defecation, it could explain her desire to get away from the litter box as soon as possible. Painful or uncomfortable defecation could be the result of constipation, a blockage in the colon, or even a urinary tract problem.
If there are no medical issues, the problem may be behavioral.
In the wild, cats cover their stool to hide their trail so predators can’t track them. One theory as to why cats don’t cover is that indoor cats Continue Reading
When I adopted Ruby in April, I didn’t realize that I would be embarking on the search for the perfect litter box. Ruby is a vertical pee-er. I had never had one of those. My regular litter box wasn’t going to work.
She doesn’t spray. Spraying is usually done by male cats. When a cat sprays, he stands up, typically makes a treading motion with his back feet, quivers his tail and sprays urine onto a vertical surface such as a wall. Spraying is a marking behavior.Continue Reading