litter box issues

The “Scoop” about Litter Box Issues

Today we’re tackling the sometimes smelly litter box issues.  Most cats use it with ease, but there are some tips and tricks you need to make sure they have the right accommodations for successful use.

Location of Litter Box:  

Firstly, you need to decide where the litter box will end up.  It is best to put it in a quiet and safe area in the home.  A lot of people tend to put it in the laundry room, but the noises from the washer and dryer may frighten them. Closets also seem like a good place, but sometimes your cat can feel like she’s going to be ambushed, so if you have multiple pets this might not be the best place either.  Somewhere easy to get to and private is the best place to put the litter box.

Type of Litter:

There are two basic types of litter:  clumping and non-clumping. It depends on your personal preference on how you want to clean the elimination in the litter box.  Clumping works well if you scoop out the clumps daily and then add more litter, as needed.  Or you can use non -and change the entire box more often.  In addition to what works best for your cleaning preferences, your cat will let you know which one she likes best.  Once starting with a particular brand and type, you’ll want to stick with it.  If you decide to change the type or brand, do so gradually.  Mix-in a bit of the new type in the  box with the old litter.  Each week, add a bit more.  Making sudden changes to the litter — whether type or location of the box – can cause or aggravate litter box issues.

Number of Boxes Per Cat:

Most cat advocates say that you need 1.5 litter boxes per cat plus one more for each additional cat.  So, if you have 2 cats you would need 3 litter boxes for them, especially if they are indoor only. Some cats don’t mind sharing and if they eliminate outside regularly then having 1 less box could work for you.

Training a Kitten:  

Most kittens can adapt to a litter pretty quickly, if you stick with a good routine from the get-go. Start with a simple a shallow pan that’s easy for them to get in and out of until they are trained; then you can get a bigger, more sturdy, litter box. Once you have your kitten and litter box, put it down and put kitty on top of it to show her how it works.  Give her a few minutes to explore it, then give her some food and water.  After about 15-20 minutes take her back to the box and see if she will go in it.  It is best to limit her access to other rooms while potty training.  This way you can watch for signs of readiness, like circling, sniffing or scratching.  If you see your kitty doing this rush them to the litter, but never scold them for accidents.

Older Cats Not Using the Litter Box:  

Some older cats may develop litter box issues.  Cats that have been litter box trained for years will stop using it, all of a sudden.  This can happen because of a change in environment, a new pet, a new baby or moving, which can easily trigger anxiety about the litter box.  It also could be due to health factors, like a urinary tract infection. If you’re concerned about your pet’s health and why she stopped using her litter box, make sure to talk to your vet.  To try and get her to use it again, find the spot where she eliminate the most and put the litter box there.  Then, slowly inch it back to where you want it. It may be uncomfortable at first, if she’s going in a common area, like the family room, but this is a great way to get her to try and use her litter box again.  You can also try changing it up.  Getting a new litter and box, because perhaps they need one that’s more shallow or uncovered.  Cats can be picky, so explore options before you give up.

Don’t forget to leave us a comment about how you trained your cat or any funny litter box stories!  

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