Cat Litterbox Trouble
Cats are very clean animals that love habit, so when your furry little friend starts going to the bathroom in places other than the litterbox you can rest assured that something isn't right. If your cat has a litterbox problem (especially if he/she is also exhibiting signs of illness) you should first consult your vet to rule out any sort of medical reason behind the problem. If your cat is given a clean bill of health and is still having 'accidents' then you can probably be safe in listing it as a behavioral problem.
Common Causes of Litterbox Issues
- Litterbox is too dirty
- like people, cats like to have a clean place to relieve themselves.
- Litterbox is in an area that is too busy, they enjoy privacy.
- Litterbox is too small. Your cat must be able to move around comfortably when in the box.
- Your cat doesn't like the litter. Many cats develop litter preferences, so pay attention to what your cat seems to like.
-Your cat has a urinary tract infection and is associating the pain of urination with the litterbox. A trip to the vet will help clear this up.
-Your cat has recently been declawed. Declawing can cause great pain in the paws, so many cats will avoid scratching in the box and may stop using the litterbox altogether.
-Litterbox is too close to food or water. Cats will not eat and go to the bathroom in the same place, so keep these two areas separate.
-You have changed the location of your cat's litterbox. Cats are creatures of habit and may not remember where the new box is.
-Other cats also use this litterbox (in a multiple cat home) and your cat wants his own box. As a general rule you should have at least one box for each cat in your home.
-Your cat doesn't like to urinate and defecate in the same litterbox. If so, try to keep two litterboxes available for your cat and clean each often.
-Your cat is in heat or is looking for a mate and is marking or spraying. This is not a litterbox issue, just one of the many reasons to have your cat spayed or neutered.
- Your cat feels his/her territory is being invaded and is marking. Have you gotten a new cat or another pet or have their been changes in the household?
- Your cat is marking to exhibit his/her dominance in the home. This can happen when a new cat comes into the home, which is why proper introductions are so important.
- Your cat has had a bad experience with his/her litterbox and is scared to go there. This is one reason why it is important to not put your cat's face in the 'mistake' and then toss him/her into the box.
- A stressful situation has occurred in your cat's life (move, arrival of a new child). You may need to retrain your cat to use the litterbox.
It is important to remember, if your cat has had an accident, do not physically correct him. This will not prevent future mistakes and will likely only make your cat fearful or distrustful of you. You must clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner to remove all traces of the scent and determine why your cat is experiencing issues in the first place. Most cat litterbox issues can be easily resolved with the suggestions above, however if you continue to have litterbox troubles, consult your veterinarian.