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Finding Solutions To Litter Box Avoidance May 14, 2018

The Latest News: http://www.morganton.com/community/finding-solutions-to-litter-box-avoidance/article_1a62e50e-47d6-11e8-ba4a-236a375075b1.html


Avoiding the litter box is the most widely used excuse for surrendering a cat to a shelter or impoundment facility. Identifying the reason behind this behavior is key to remedying the situation and keeping the cat in a safe, loving home. This article will discuss elimination outside the litter box not likely to be marking, which will be covered in another article.

Understand that such behavior is not misconduct. The cat is communicating that something is wrong — his physical, social or medical needs are not being met. The issue must be addressed from the cat’s point of view, not the human’s. Pain, fear or other negative experiences are triggering this behavior. Never yell at or punish the cat — he won’t know why, and it won’t make him use the box. In fact, it may make him fearful of both you and the box.

The first step is to rule out a health problem that makes urination or defecation painful. Such problems as parasites, urinary tract infections, stones or crystals, diarrhea, constipation, arthritis or cognitive dysfunction may be at work. A visit with your vet is the first action you should take. If you have a multi-cat household, you must be sure which cat is responsible. If needed, the vet can prescribe a harmless prescription stain to use.

If a health problem isn’t the likely cause, the next step is to analyze the entire litter box situation. Things to consider include:

» Number of boxes. Some cats don’t like to share. There should be one box for each cat in the household plus an extra – each in a separate area.

» Placement. Avoid high traffic areas where the cat may feel exposed and threatened by other pets or people. The area should not be too hot or cold, too isolated or dark. The location should be quiet and away from food and water. The cat should be able to see the approach of other pets or people, with no obstacles in the approach, ideally with a 360-degree view, and more than one direction for escape. A nightlight in the area can help.

» Design of box. It should be roomy enough so that the cat can turn around comfortably. If the cat is a kitten or an older cat, the box sides may need to be lower for easy access. Some cats will use a covered box, but others won’t because they don’t like to be enclosed.

» Litter types. If the cat comes from outside, you may need to start with dirt and gradually change to litter. Some cats don’t like the feel of clay pebbles. Try a more fine-textured variety or newspaper, corn, pine or another specialty litter. Many cats adjust well to odorless clumping litter at a depth of 2 to 4 inches (not too deep for a kitten). Generally, cats don’t like scented litter.

» Plastic liners/Self-cleaning. Plastic liners can catch claws when scratching. Many cats don’t like the motor sound on self-cleaning boxes.

» Cleaning. Cats are fastidious animals. They don’t like a dirty box. Clean boxes twice a day at least, especially for a multi-cat household. Change the litter and thoroughly clean with hot water and an unscented soap weekly. Avoid chemical cleaners, including bleach, as cats may avoid the scent, and some cleaners have toxic ingredients. For odor elimination, use an enzymatic cleaner available at pet stores.