Cat Behavior – Litter Box Problems

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,814
    Feline specialist Dr. Kat Miller discusses litter box problems.

    Kat Miller: I am Dr. Kat Miller of the ASPCA. Today we are talking about understanding cat behavior. Now we are going to talk about litter box issues. Does your cat think outside of the box? First of all, there are several medical conditions that can contribute to your cat not using its litter box.

    So the first step is to talk to your Vet and have your pet examined to make sure that there is no medical problem. The next thing to do is to determine whether your cat is spraying or simply not using a litter box. Spraying is a natural cat behavior in which the cat marks its environment with urine. Often urine marks occur on vertical surfaces around doorways, window frames, and it's a behavior that is a reaction either to another cat in the environment, it could be outside the window or generally a reaction to something that's upsetting the cat.

    If this is happening, the best way to resolve it, is to resolve the issue that is causing the cat to become upset. Neutering your cat can also make a big difference if your cat is an unneutered male. If your cat is not spraying and urine marking, you'll find the urine on a horizontal surface on floors. If this is happening, there must be some reason that your cat is choosing not to use the litter box. Make sure that your litter box is properly set up, located and maintained. Litter boxes are best situated in a place where the cat has two potential escape routes.

    So this often means along the wall, but not in a corner. Make sure it's in a place where it's a quite, undisturbed location, but not so far removed from the cat's normal environment, that the cat doesn't want to go that far to use it. Cats also seem to prefer litter that's very fine-grained. Clumping clay litter often is one of the preferred types. Keep your litter box very clean, scoop it everyday, wash it entirely week with mild soap and water.

    Never use harsh chemical cleaners or ammonias. Cats often try to avoid those smells, so use a very mild gentle cleaner, so your cat won't avoid the box because of the cleaner smell. Your cat may have a preference for one type of litter over another. So you might find it useful to put out a few litter boxes with a few types of litter, and find which one your cat likes the best. It's also a good idea to remove small rugs that are near by the littler box.

    Cat some times confuse soft absorbent rugs for cat litter. So remove your bathroom rug or any throw rugs that you keep near by the litter box. Hopefully, these tips will help you and your cat resolve the litter box problems together. Coming up next, we'll be talking about cat who aggress toward people, and how to deal with that problem.