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In solving litter box problems you may find that your cat might have an aversion to the litter box if he has decided that the litter box is an unpleasant place if:
• The box is not clean enough.
What to do – Cats are very clean animals and they do not like a dirty, stinky litter box. Cats have a very keen sense of smell and are offended by foul litter boxes. Keep the litter box extremely clean, scoop at least once a day. You can also try using a different type of litter in a new litter box. If you have multiple cats, provide more litter boxes in different locations. This was the problem that I especially had with my siamese, in solving litter box problems with her I had to get multiple litterboxes and keep them very clean! Any sign of feces in a box and she would eliminate outside the box.
• Due to medical problems he has experienced painful urination or defecation.
What to do– It is common for cats to urinate outside the box if they have a medical problem. This seems to be more common in male cats. A urinary tract infection makes urination very painful and they may associate the pain with the litter box and avoid it. If you notice this type of problem, than you need to check with your veterinarian. Cats don’t always act sick when they are.
• Your cat may not like a covered litter box.
What to do - Though covered litter boxes are very popular because they cut down on tracking or kicking litter outside the box, many cats do not like covered litter boxes, especially ones that have a swinging door. The cat may feel too confined or trapped. I had a Siamese that refused to use a covered litter box. She would stand on the sides of the litter box to eliminate, she did not like standing in the litter. In a covered litter box she would have to touch her dainty paws in the litter, and was very unhappy. I have a friend whose cat relieved himself outside of his covered litter box. The litter box had a swinging door to its entrance, after removing the door, he was fine about using his covered litter box.
• Your cat may have been ambushed while using the litter box by another cat, child, or dog. My youngest cat use to ambush the other cats as they were leaving the litter box.
What to do - In solving litter box problems make sure that your kitty has more than one exit from the litter box. This could be more of a problem in a covered litter box with only one exit.
• Your cat has been startled by a loud noise while using the litter box.
What to do - Cats can be very startled by loud noises. Make sure that the litter box is in a location that is quiet and peaceful, away from loud noises like a furnace or a washer and dryer.
• Your cat associates the litter box with punishment. For example, punishing your kitty for eliminating outside the litter box and then you placed him in the box.
What to do – In solving litter box problems do not punish your cat. Cats do not understand punishment, this will only make them anxious around you and afraid to eliminate in your presence. Punishing your cat will cause him to have an aversion to the litter box. Do nothing but clean up the mess.
Litter Box Problems can occur if your cat develops a certain surface preference for a particular type of texture on which they like to eliminate.
Your cat might have litter box problems if:
• She prefers a particular texture such as a soft surfaces like clothing, carpeting, and bedding, or hard surfaces such as tile, sinks, bathtubs, and cement.
What to do – If you have recently change the type of cat litter, the texture might be different. Go back to the type of litter that your cat has been using. If your cat has been eliminating on soft surfaces, try using a finer grain cat litter of higher quality. If your cat prefers solid surfaces she may not like the depth of the litter. Put just a thin layer of litter on one side of the box and leave the other end bare, and put the litter box on a hard floor.
If your cat prefers a certain area, first thoroughly clean the area, than discourage your cat from using the area by covering it with upside down carpet runner or aluminum foil. Cats are offended by strong scents, if you place cotton balls scented with citrus over the area it will detour your cat from eliminating in the preferred area.
• Your cat may have a particular preference for a surface if she was previously an outdoor cat and prefers to eliminate on grass or soil.
What to do – If your cat is use to eliminating outside add some soil or sod to the litter box.
Your cat might have location preferences other than the litter box if:
• She prefers quiet protected places such as in a closet, under a desk, or beneath a staircase.
• She eliminates in a location where the litter box was previously located.
• She eliminates in a different level of your home like the upstairs bedroom away from where the litter box is located.
What to do – In solving litter box problems, make the location preferences less appealing to your cat. Use upside-down carpet runner, aluminum foil, or citrus scented cotton balls in the area. You can try putting a litter box near the preferred location, when she has consistently used the litter box, you can start gradually moving the litter box to a more convenient location. You can also place water bowls in the preferred location, cats do not like to eliminate in their food or drinking areas. If your cat has litter box problems it is also very helpful to put a litter box on every level of your home.
When my cat all of a sudden started eliminating in an upstairs bed room, I just made sure that the door remained shut, after a couple of weeks, I left the door opened again and the problem was solved. When my kitten preferred the corners of my living room and behind the television I would try to catch him in the act. I would make a loud noise and then place him in the litter box, though he did not seem interested in the litter box. After thoroughly cleaning the soiled area I would smother the preferred location with carpet fresh and left it on the area for a few days. He did not like the strong fragrance and started using the litter box, problem solved. In these occurrences I made the location preferences less appealing to my cats.
One thing that I use that is not the norm is that I do not use a conventional litter box. I have a multi-cat home and a normal litter box is too small. I use several very large storage bins. It is larger and deeper than typical litter boxes. I have always used this type of box ever since I had a multi-cat home which has been many years.