Cat Litter Box Problems

Are you having cat litter box problems?

It can be frustrating when your cat suddenly prefers to urinate on your furniture, carpet or bedding, instead of in their litter box! However, this is surprisingly one of the more common cat litter box problems that many cat owners find themselves dealing with.

Most cats take easily to using the litter box, simply because it's their natural instinct to bury things. Your cat isn't trying to make you upset by not going in the litter box, so do not take it personally.

If you're becoming frustrated with this issue and you don't know what to do, there is an ebook that can prove to be a tremendous help for litter box training. It's called Thinking Outside The Box and is a "must read" for anyone looking to stop their cat from doing their business outside the litter box.

-- Cat Litter Box Problems --

Cat litter box problems are common in homes with more than one cat.

If you have more than one cat in your house, you'll need to figure out which one is responsible for those little accidents.

You can do this in more than one way.

  • One way is by isolating each cat and seeing if the behavior still continues.
  • Another solution is to add a fluorescent dye to their food, doing this one cat at a time. The dye will glow in the urine when a black light is shone on it.

You need to figure out the reason that your cat has stopped using his box, and make sure it isn't something medical. First you should take your pet to the veterinarian to rule out any health concerns, such as a urinary tract infection.

Pay close attention if you have a male cat that has either stopped using his litter box, tries to pee a lot or is licking his genitals, as this could be a sign of a urinary tract infection, or even worse, a blockage.

If a cat's urinary tract becomes infected his life could be in danger. This could prove fatal or could lead to irreversible organ damage.

Why do some have cats have litter box problems, while others don't?

Some cats are content in their surroundings, happy with whatever type of litter, box and location you give them.

They are just easy to please cats, while others are a bit on the picky side. These types of cats may not like their litter box for any of the following reasons:

  • Not clean enough
  • Don't like the kind of box used
  • Doesn't like the type of kitty litter used
  • Don't like the location of the box
  • He's been startled by something or someone while he was in the litter box
  • There aren't enough litter boxes for the number of cats in the house
  • He is stressed out from his routine being disrupted, so he is now marking his territory
  • He has started to see his litter box as a punishment. This could have happened if he urinated outside of it, and you then placed him back inside of it, to try to teach him a lesson.

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What to do about cat litter box problems

Put the litter box in the place that your cat has been having accidents. If this helps, wait about a month, and then move it back to a more suitable location. Be sure to do this gradually though, moving it only inch or so at a time each day.

Put a litter box on every level of the house. In order to minimise on accidents put several little trays around the home for a while so that your cat always has easy access to a litter tray.

Keep the litter box away from your cat’s food and water dishes. Cats don't like to do their business near where they eat or drink. You should therefore ensure that the tray is not close to their eating bowls and food.

Clean all soiled areas well. If the area where your cat has had an 'accident' isn’t cleaned properly, your cat will continue to soil it because of the smell. You may not smell anything, but cats have a much stronger sense of smell than humans do.

Find any cat urine stains with a fluorescent light and clean them with a cleaner that has enzymes. Do not use ammonia, as this will only encourage your cat to spray again in the same area.

Find out what kind of litter your cat prefers. Some cats have a preference to the kind of litter they use. Your cat may be telling you this if he’s decided to go outside of his box. You can find out what kind of litter he prefers by paying attention to where he has his accidents. If he commonly goes on a soft surface, such as on your clothing or bedding, your cat most likely prefers a softer surface, so a litter that is soft would be ideal, like one made with pine shavings. A good alternative is shredding up old newspapers or a piece of carpet.

You can gradually convert your cat to using a different type of litter by pouring small amounts of litter over a softer litter.If your cat likes smooth surfaces, try using an empty box instead, or put a very small layer of litter on the bottom of the litter box. If your cat prefers being outdoors consider using dirt in his litter box.

Click here to learn more about litter box problems and litter box training.

How to prevent cat litter box problems

When you’re deciding where to put your litter box, keep these tips in mind:

  • Put the box where your cat has some privacy.
  • Keep it away from loud, noisy appliances, and appliances that give out heat or blow air out.
  • Do not put the box anywhere near your cat’s food or water dishes.
  • If possible, keep a litter box on every level of your house.

Use the kind of litter your cat likes - There are several types to choose from, with most cats preferring a finer grain litter that’s softer to the touch. Some common choices are the kind that clumps, crystal based kitty litter and litter that is bio-degradable. Whatever type you choose, stick with it if you see that your cat has taken a liking to it.

Scented litter isn't necessarily better - Scented kitty litter masks the odor, but doesn’t do much else. In fact the scent could actually put your cat off, making him not want to use his litter box at all. Instead of using scented litter, try adding some baking soda to the bottom of the litter box to absorb any odors.

Have enough litter boxes in the house – A good rule of thumb is to have 1 litter box for every cat in your house, and an extra one to be safe.

What type of litter box to use There are a couple different types to choose from, so be sure to take your cat’s personality into consideration when choosing one. An undercover or hooded box would be a good choice if you have a shy cat that requires more privacy. This type of box also decreases the amount of litter that gets tossed out, making less mess for you to clean up.

There are some cons with using an undercover box:

You will not be able to see how dirty box is without taking the top off

The lid traps smells inside

A larger cat may not have enough room

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Cleaning the litter box regularly – If you’re having cat litter box problems, it’s important to maker sure that you’re cleaning the box regularly. You should clean your cat's litter box at least twice a week, maybe more if needed. If you’re using a clumping kitty litter, and you clean the clumps out of the litter box daily, you may be able to go 2 to 3 weeks before having to change to a fresh kitty litter.

Every time you go to change your cat's litter box, you should clean it with a liquid detergent. Use something mild with no ammonia in it.

If you're tired of dealing with kitty litter and cleaning your cat's litter box, you may want to consider cat toilet training.

-- Cat Litter Box Problems --

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