5 Solutions for Litter Box Issues

Quick Tips for Cat Owners

If you’re a cat owner, chances are you’ve probably encountered litter box problems at one time or another.

Have no fear: Litter box problems are common, and for the most part, easily solved.

If you’re a life-long cat owner or a potential owner thinking about bringing a cat or kitten into your home, the following can help you understand your cat’s litter box aversion issues or get kitty’s litter box training started off on the right paw.

1. Keep It Clean

Cat litter

Cats, by nature, are clean animals. And just as humans don’t like to use dirty bathrooms and toilets, the same probably goes for your cat. It may seem simple enough, but keeping your cat’s litter box clean and feces-free can keep Miss Kitty from finding an alternative place to do her business.

If you find the smell of your cat’s box less than appealing, chances are your cat does too. Experts suggest scooping your cat’s litter box at least once a day and changing the litter completely at least once a week.

Love cats, but hate cleaning up after them? Consider using disposable plastic cat pan liners. Pan liners can make cleaning your cat’s box quick, easy and spill-free while helping to extend the life of your cat’s litter box.

2. One Litter Box Per Cat, with One to Spare

Do you have a multiple cat household? If so, the old idiom, “There’s safety in numbers,” can be applied to the number of litter boxes you have interspersed throughout your home.

Depending on the amount of cats you have roaming around your house, be sure to provide one litter box for each cat, plus extras in alternate locations depending on the number of levels within your abode. Providing your cat(s) with readily accessible “facilities” can deter them from leaving a not-so-special surprise for you to find at a later time in an unexpected place.

3. Location, Location, Location

Besides the amount of litter boxes your cat has at its “disposal”, litter box placement is another factor to consider. Have you recently changed the location of your cat’s litter box? This can cause your cat to become confused and to return to the previous location to do her business.

Also, is your cat’s box out in an open area that’s always busy with traffic—from humans or other animals? If so, your cat may avoid using her litter box because she often hears noises, or has been trapped when using her box in the past and doesn’t feel like she’s in a safe place.

Consider keeping litter boxes separate from the area where your cat is fed. The rationale behind this is simple enough: Do you want to eat in your bathroom? The answer is probably no. The same is true for your cat.

4. Type of Litter Matters

We all have likes and dislikes, and your cat is no different. The type and texture of litter—clay, pine, crystals, etc.—can impact whether or not your cat chooses to use it. The discriminating kitty might also prefer unscented litter over scented.

If you’ve recently introduced a new kitten to your home and are beginning litter box training, or recently changed litters and are noticing your cat has turned her snout up in disgust, it might be a good idea to have multiple boxes available with different litters to see which one she prefers. Although you may be tempted to buy the litter that’s on sale, choose a litter that’s right for your cat instead.

5. Environmental Factors

Paying attention to your cat’s environment can help you make the right choices when it comes to your selection of litter boxes.

Is your cat an arthritic senior or a small kitten? If so, choosing a litter box with low sides can help make climbing in and out of the box easier for your feline friend. Notice that Fluffy is missing her intended corner of the box? Perhaps a larger pan can give her the room she needs to dig around and do her business.

Another common mistake cat owners make when choosing a litter box is choosing a style with a covered top. Although it may be more aesthetically pleasing, odors are easily trapped within the hood of the covered pan, making litter box odors more pungent than normal. Since cats (and all animals) have extreme sense of smells, don’t be surprised if your cat chooses an alternate, better-smelling location to eliminate.

Of course, there can be other reasons your cat has stopped using her litter box, possibly due to painful urination or defecation related to a potential medical issue. Should you suspect your cat is ill, schedule a visit with your veterinarian right away.