By Elsa Enstrom
Have you ever found yourself at your wits end with you cat and their lack of litter box use? If so, maybe we can help! There are 7 things that you can ask yourself in order to trouble shoot your messy kitty's habits.
- How many litter boxes do I have?
No one likes a dirty bathroom, and isn't it a pain when there aren't enough to go around? Cats feel that way too, it's best to have one more litter box than the number of cats, that way even the most picky feline will have a sufficiently clean bathroom.
- Where are my litter boxes located?
If you answered that they are all located in the same room, that is basically like having one big bathroom. Not very private, right? Cats feel that way too! Separating litter boxes as best you can will allow your pets the privacy they desire.
- What kind of litter are you using?
Have you ever been disappointed with the type of toilet paper in a public bathroom? Just like we prefer certain brands of TP, our cats have litter preferences. You may have to play around with different types of litter, but a good go to for finicky cats is Dr. Eisley's, this litter is specially formulated to be enticing to picky kitties and comes in formulas for kittens all the way through to seniors.
- Have there been any changes in my household?
We are all particular about how our home is set up. Have you ever had a new roommate who moved in and just drove you crazy? Imagine if you were given a new roommate with out being allowed to meet them first, or just woke up in a completely different home one day. This is how cats feel when we make these life changes for them, and sometimes it takes awhile for them to adjust. If you have a kitty who is having a hard time dealing with a lifestyle change, there are many resources you can consult, including multiple local rescues that offer behavior advice and assistance.
- Has your pet been to the vet recently?
Unfortunately kitties can't walk up to you and say “It stings when I pee”. This is why we must pay attention to changes in our pet's habits. If a kitty who has never had litter box problems is suddenly not using the box, your kitty may be trying to tell you something.
- What is the shape/type of litter box you use, and have you changed it?
Do you have certain preferences on bathroom venue? For example, do you just refuse to use outhouses due to the poor sanitation? Cats have these types of preferences as well. Some prefer a private covered bathroom, some like open space, etc. You may have to try a few types of litter boxes before your kitty settles on an ideal bathroom.
- Is your cat declawed? What would you think if someone removed the tips of your fingers down to the first knuckle? This is what the procedure known as declawing actually does. As you can image, this can cause quite a bit of anxiety in some cats. Another problem is the risk of arthritis. There are multiple ways for this procedure to be done, and there is sometimes a risk of left over bone chips in the toes, which can become irritating and painful.
Cats can become adverse to their litter box for so many reasons, but there is hope! Be patient and put yourself in your kitties shoes.