Without a doubt, house soiling is the number one feline behavior problem. Not only is house soiling the behavior problem that most frequently drives owners to their veterinarians for guidance, but house-soiling can also have distressing ramifications. When a cat regularly house soils, at best, the relationship between cat and owner deteriorates, and, at worst, owners become so frustrated they consider getting rid of their cats.
Below are some tips for you:
Common Causes of Litter-Box Aversion or An unclean litter box
* A recent change in litter brand
* An undesirable location for the litter box
* Too few litter boxes forthe number of cats
* A cat’s preference for another location and nonlitter texture
* A medical condition
* An environmental change that causes the cat anxiety
Tip: Sometimes more than one cause is involved. So be prepared to investigate and address more than one possibility.
“Most owners recognize that their pets are individuals,” says animal behavior consultant Dr. Peter Borchelt, who has conducted several studies on the litter-box preferences of cats. “Pets have their own personalities, temperaments, and idiosyncrasies, just like people do,” explains Dr. Borchelt. “You can’t say any one approach to the litter box is the right one. You have to take into account all the factors and observe what your cat likes. The only right way is the way your cat prefers.”
Back to Box Basics
Implement a rigorous daily (or more) cleaning regimen.
Cats are fastidious creatures. Most prefer litter boxes that are relatively free of waste matter. Changing the litter more frequently may cost you in cat litter, but litter is considerable cheaper than a new living room carpet! When you clean the box, use only warm, running water. (Cats hate soap odor.) And beware of overzealous cleaning. Do not stand over the box with scooper at the ready when your cat is inside, or clean the box with chemicals so it smells more like a swimming pool than a litter box.
Tip: Your cat needs olfactory cues to recognize its litter box.
Check your litter box.
Make sure your cat box is big enough. You cat should be able easily hop in, have room for a good scratch, eliminate without hanging over the edge of the box, be able to cover its waste, and easily hop out again. If you cat is regularly “going” just outside the box, it could be that the box is too small. If you can’t find a sufficiently large cat-litter box, try large trays that are marketed for other purposes.
Tip: Most cats don’t like hooded boxes.
Evaluate your cat litter.
Cats are extremely sensitive to the texture and smell of litter. Studies have shown that, given their “druthers,” most cats prefer the texture of the sand like scooping litters. If sand like litters fail, however, try alternatives such as wood chips, sand, potting soil, or newspaper.
Tip: Offer your cat a choice of different litters in different boxes, then observe what your cat prefers.
Relocate the litter box.
Location of the litter box can be a key factor in whether your cat uses the box. “No-no” areas include the cat’s feeding area, bustling thoroughfares, and parts of the house that are somewhat inaccessible – for example, dark, damp basements or chilly attics. The general rule-of-thumb is that you should have at least one box per cat and distribute the boxes throughout the house.
Tip: A house with several floors should have a litter box on each floor. When in doubt, make it easy for your cat!