Tips to Prevent Litter Box Dustups
We all love our cats, but very few of us love dealing with litter boxes. While we might not love litter, it’s still important to keep up with cleaning those boxes. Follow along as we dive into some tips for your household litter situation, along with a look at what sudden changes in bathroom behaviour might mean for your cat.
Correcting Negative Litter Box Behaviours
Peeing outside the litter box can be frustrating for new and old cat owners alike. Unfortunately, the solution to the problem isn’t always simple. First off, it’s imperative to rule out medical reasons such as urinary crystals, stones, inflammation and infections — all of these make it incredibly painful for your cat to use the bathroom and need to be corrected as quickly as possible. The pain your cat comes to associate with going to the bathroom in the litter box will only drive them away from the box more.
If medical reasons have been ruled out, it’s time to start looking at your litter box situation and make sure that it’s comfortable and inviting for your feline friends.
Setting the Scene
Cats generally prefer larger litter boxes. Something around 1.5x their size allows them room to manoeuvre and do their business. Your cat might also prefer something without a lid or a door, as it allows them to survey their surroundings while using the litter box. No lid doesn’t mean that your kitty doesn’t value privacy though, so choose somewhere in your home that isn’t heavily trafficked.
As far as the number of litter boxes you have, it depends on how many cats you have. You want to have one box for each cat you have, plus one extra. So, if you had two cats, you would want three litter boxes total. Have three cats? Then you need four litter boxes to ensure that everyone is happy and not fighting over bathroom breaks. It’s also important to ensure that your boxes are in different locations throughout your home. In addition to an increased potential for squabbles, putting them too close together can lead to your cats considering the whole area one big litter box.
When it comes to choosing the type of litter you use, this decision might not be totally up to you, despite your own personal preferences. If your cat is consistently peeing on soft surfaces in your home instead of their litter, your cat may find that its current litter material isn’t soft enough. Behavioural studies support that cats prefer unscented, clumping litter.
The Stress Factor
If medical reasons have been ruled out, and you’ve set up the perfect litter situation for your cat, and you are still having trouble getting kitty to use the litter, it could be due to stress. Cats never pee inappropriately out of spite or because they’re mad at their humans. It has entirely to do with how their brains process events. The stress of a new baby, a new home or major changes in routine can all contribute to changing behaviour, indicating that they’re stressed and need help. Removing the source of stress, if possible, may remedy the situation.
With any cat going to the bathroom outside their litter box, it’s incredibly important to get them back using their box as quickly as possible. If you’ve ruled out medical issues, and changing your cat’s litter situation and removing possible sources of stress still hasn’t worked, return to your veterinarian for help solving the issue.