While the covered box does provide privacy, it also lacks escape potential. I’ve written about this many times because it’s important, especially in a multiple cat household, for the cat in the box to not feel trapped or to ever be vulnerable to an ambush. The quickest way to a litter box problem is for a cat to not feel safe in there.
8. Punishment and Assumptions
It’s very sad to see a cat parent punish a cat for a litter box avoidance problem because it will only lead to a bigger problem and increase the stress already felt by the kitty. Cats don’t eliminate outside of the litter box out of spite or as a misbehavior. If a cat doesn’t use the box it’s because he can’t for some reason. Don’t immediately assume a missed litter box elimination is behavioral and don’t reprimand the cat. Very often, the reason a cat goes outside of the box is due to an underlying medical condition. Make sure your cat is checked by the veterinarian before assuming it’s a behavior problem. Once the cat gets a clean bill of health you can work on figuring out what’s keeping him away from the box. It may be the box set-up, lack of maintenance, something going on in the household, multicat issues or any of the other things previously mentioned in this article. Instead of punishing the cat which is counter-productive and possibly damaging to your relationship, look at the environment from his perspective and you may surprise yourself in what you’ll discover.
Need More Information?
For more information on cat behavior and training, refer to the articles on our website and the best-selling books by Pam Johnson-Bennett. If you have a question about your cat’s behavior or health, contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a medical diagnosis nor is it a replacement for your cat’s regular veterinary care. This article is for general information purposes only.