Litter Box 101

covered litter box

Some Common Reasons Why Cats Stop Using the Litter Box

Listen to the audio version of this article When your cat stops using the litter box it’s frustrating and stressful for both cat and cat parent. It’s also, sadly, one of the most common reasons that a cat may get a one-way ticket to the nearest shelter. There are many reasons why a cat may avoid the litter box and it’s important to figure out the true cause in order to get everything back on track. Inappropriate elimination shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when it comes to whether kitty gets to stay in your family or not. While some reasons for litter box aversion may be more complex, there are often some simple mistakes cat parents make. If you’re a new ...

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outdoor cat

How to Litter Box Train an Outdoor Cat

If you’re transitioning an outdoor cat to indoor life, you may be initially concerned with how to train the cat to now start using an indoor litter box. For some cats, the transition to a litter box will be very easy but for others, it may take a little more finesse on your part. Start With an Appealing Litter Box Look at the box from your formerly-outdoor cat’s point of view. When he was outdoors he had the wide open spaces when it came to choosing an elimination spot. The box you choose as his new indoor box should be: uncovered easy to find the right size All-too-often, when it comes to litter boxes, cat parents choose types that are ...

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two outdoor cats

Litter Box Problems in a Multicat Home: How to Identify the Culprit

When it comes to a litter box problem in a multicat household, the first, and often most difficult, step is to identify the furry little culprit. You may think you know which cat peed on the carpet but if you’re wrong, you could create major setbacks in the behavior modification plan. So how do you go about finding out which cat has turned your living room carpet into a giant litter box or has sprayed against your favorite antique chair? The Veterinarian Don’t automatically assume the problem is behavioral, even if your cats have been throwing hissy fits at one another. There could be an underlying medical cause for the behavior and you certainly wouldn’t want a cat to needlessly ...

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litter box

The Size of Your Cat’s Litter Box

When it comes to choosing a litter box, it’s important to match the size of the box to the size of your cat. It’s easy to get influenced by a desire to choose a box based on whether it will fit in a certain location. In some cases that may still work out fine for your cat but in other cases, it means that she ends up squeezing too much cat into too little litter box. Your cat shouldn’t have to become a contortionist every time she has to go to the bathroom. What Size is Best? In general, the litter box should be one-and-a-half times the length of your cat. That gives her enough room to eliminate, cover her waste and still have ...

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organge kitten

How to Change Brands of Litter

Cats don’t like change and if you want to avoid creating unnecessary stress in your kitty’s life, it’s important to keep that in mind when you’re planning on introducing anything unfamiliar. You may think I’m only referring to major changes but for many cats, even a minor change can be upsetting. The type of litter you put in your cat’s litter box will have a great influence on whether he successfully chooses that location for elimination or whether he ends up peeing on your carpet. Litter scent (or lack of), texture, cleanliness and depth all play a factor in litter box appeal. So if you’re planning on switching to a new brand or type of litter, there are two ways ...

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cat close-up

When Cats Develop Negative Associations with the Litter Box

Your cat has faithfully used the litter box for years and then suddenly has begun eliminating on the carpet in your bedroom. Sometimes you’ve even found cat pee in the bathroom sink and the tub. What’s up with that? There are several reasons why a cat may suddenly stop using the litter box such as: An underlying medical condition Unappealing litter box conditions Environmental issues Hopefully, you are already aware that your cat should be checked out by the veterinarian at the first sign of a litter box problem in order to rule out any possible underlying medical reason for the behavior. So let’s say you’ve done that and the diagnosis is that kitty does, in fact, have a urinary ...

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detective with magnifying glass

Litter Box Monitoring

Scooping the litter box on a daily basis (actually, twice daily is better) is not only important for keeping the box clean and your cat happy – it’s a valuable diagnostic tool. Too many cat parents are missing this valuable opportunity to catch potential medical problems in the early stages because they’re not keeping up with a regular scooping schedule or the schedule is far from adequate. Time to be a Detective What does or doesn’t happen in the litter box can be a red flag that indicates a potential health issue. If you’re on top of your scooping schedule you’ll be alerted to changes in your cat’s frequency of elimination, changes in appearance of the waste or change in ...

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black cat

Does Your Cat have a Litter Aversion?

To a cat parent, one litter substrate may be just as good as another. In fact, what humans may find attractive about a particular brand or type of litter may actually be highly disliked by cats. There are also other factors that come into play when trying to evaluate whether your cat has a litter aversion. How Common is Litter Aversion? It’s actually relatively common that a cat may eliminate away from the box due to a dislike of the litter or the litter conditions. Even if she still faithfully uses the litter box, she may want to spend as little time in there as possible. She may not dig or scratch or she may even perch on the edge ...

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orange cat

Your Indoor/Outdoor Cat Needs an Indoor Litter Box

If you have an indoor/outdoor cat and you’ve trained that kitty to eliminate exclusively outdoors, you may be setting yourself up for a behavior problem down the road. Some cat parents who allow their cats outdoors have tried to totally do without having an indoor litter box. They may have trained their cats to scratch at the door, use a pet door, meow or are just let out on a regular schedule. This can be short-sighted thinking for the following reasons: Foul Weather Your cat may not enjoy going outdoors during extremes in temperature, rain, snow or any other severe weather conditions. If kitty is forced to go out there for elimination it can become very stressful, and in some ...

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litter and scoop

Litter Basics

Listen to the audio version of this article When it comes to litter substrate there are many choices. Many of those choices are designed to appeal to the human family member and not necessarily the cat who will be the one using the box. Cats Can Have Preferences In general, the most appealing type of litter to use is one that has a soft, sandy texture. Most of the  scoopable, clumping litters fit into this category because they have a very soft feel and when wet, the litter forms a solid ball that can be scooped up and removed from the litter box. There are other types of litter made of corn, wheat, newspaper pellets, pebbles, you name it. Manufacturers ...

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