Why is My Cat Avoiding the Litter Box?
Litter Box Aversion
Many cat owners struggle with the problem of their cat not using the litter box. After much hair pulling (yours, not the cat's), trips to the vet, examining your cats behavior and still being clueless, it's time to look at the litter box. If your cat is dissatisfied with his box then he will act out, in a most frustrating manner. Keeping a tidy litter box with unscented litter in a quiet area may alleviate your problem. We will look at different litter box options so you can have a happy, healthy cat.
photo credit: lazy_lobster
Avoiding the Litter Box - Is the Litter Box the Problem?
Most litter boxes made for cats are too small. You have an area slightly larger than the cat and he's supposed to do his business in there. Think about trying to use a bathroom that was only slightly larger than you are. You wouldn't want to use it either. Most cats outgrow their litter boxes by the time they reach adulthood. The larger the litter box, the better. Cats like privacy and space and this is especially true when they need to use the potty. I like the large storage containers you can buy at most retail stores. The plastic ones you put under your bed make great litter boxes. They are large and easy to clean. You can also buy extra large litter pans made especially for this purpose.
Covered litter boxes are not recommended. Some cats find them too containing and will avoid using them. Cats really hate being shut up anywhere and this could create a panic response leading to avoiding the litter box altogether. The last thing you want is for your cat to be scared or intimidated by his box. Covered litter boxes may be atheistically pleasing to your eye but it does nothing for the cat. Remember, this is about your cat's comfort so give him all the space he needs. It will save your home from his inappropriate urination. Keep the litter box in a quiet, secluded area so as to give your cat all the privacy he desires. The general rule of thumb in homes with multiple cats are one extra box for each cat. I have three cats and five litter boxes. They are cheap to buy and easy to maintain.
What about automatic litter boxes? I have no experience with them so I can't give a thorough review. I do know that they are expensive and it would be unfortunate to buy one only to have your cat avoid it. These boxes are most beneficial for those people who put off daily cleaning. Automatic litter boxes will make sure the cat has a clean litter box.
Large Litter Boxes on Amazon
Litter Box Problem - Is It the Litter?
Your cat's litter box is the one of the most important parts of his health. If he is unhappy with it, he may stop using his box altogether and begin peeing in your house. To fix this annoying problem, try looking at it from your cat's point of view. He may be unhappy with the litter itself. Most cats prefer unscented clay litter. The scoopable kind is the easiest for clean-up.
If your cat has been declawed, his paws will be extra sensitive and the rough clay may cause him pain. Switching to a softer litter will help. You can use cut up newspaper or a non-clay litter brand such as Feline Pine. This brand of litter does have a strong pine scent. If your cat is sensitive to strong smells, you may want to avoid it. A cats sense of smell is much stronger than ours, so keep that in mind. Obviously, if the litter box is dirty, your cat will not want to use it. Many people hate cleaning the litter box but if you do it every day, it only takes a few minutes. A clean litter box means a happy cat.
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