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9 Steps to Prevent Litterbox Problems

| November 3, 2010
9 Steps to Prevent Litterbox Problems

In dealing with feline toilet habits, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. By following the easy steps listed below, you will help your cat develop positive litterbox habits from the beginning.

In dealing with feline toilet habits, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. By following the easy steps listed below, you will help your cat develop positive litterbox habits from the beginning.

Choose a litterbox preferred by cats
In selecting a litterbox, consider the size, age, and general condition of the cat. An older, arthritic cat may not be aments if necessary.

Fill the box with the right amount of litter
Generally, it is best to fill the box with two to three inches of litter, enough for the cat to scratch and dig, but not so much that it spills onto the floor. Some cats exhibit a preference for more or less litter, so observe your cat and make adjustments if necessary.

Keep the litterbox clean
The primary reason cats stop using their litterbox is because box cleanliness may not be up to the individual cat’s standards. Cats have very sensitive noses and are in close proximity to the litter, so it is important to scoop waste at least once daily, and to dump and thoroughly clean the box regularly. Use water and plain, unscented soap to scrub the litterbox, and dry well before refilling.

Put the litterbox where it will be used
Cats feel most comfortable using the litterbox if it is a convenient, quiet, and private place. Find a location where your cat will not be bothered by heavy foot traffic, other animals, and loud sounds. If you have no alternative to the laundry room, be sure to place the box away from washing machines and dryers. And, remember to consider the cat’s age and condition. For small kittens or older cats, make the box accessible as possible so that the animals will not have to negotiate stairs, cat doors, or other obstacles.

Keep the litterbox environment cat-friendly
Cats may stop using a litterbox if they have negative associations with the area. Do not medicate or punish your cat in the room where the litterbox is kept. Also, your cat must feel safe when using the box. Restrict access to other pets who may ambush the cat, and be sure to provide litterboxes in different locations in multiple cat households where dominant animals exert territorial pressure on the others.

Provide enough litterboxes
In a multiple-cat household, cats need to have more than one litterbox. Ideally, each cat should have access to his or her own box. Make sure that each litterbox is scooped daily.

Familiarize new cats with the litterbox
When introducing a cat to the household, make sure he or she knows where the litterbox is kept. New cats often hide until they feel comfortable in their surroundings. Place the litterbox where the cat feels safe, and gradually move the box if necessary if the cat explores the house. It might be a good idea to keep kittens confined to a limited area with an accessible box until they are fully litterbox trained. And don’t forget that good behavior deserves rewards. Take some time to gently praise and stroke the cat after he or she has emerged from the litterbox.

Spay or neuter your cat
Spayed and neutered cats are less likely to mark territory with urine than are the unneutered counterparts. They remain healthier, less prone to diseases that affect fertile cats. And the urine of neutered males is relatively odorless whereas that of tom cats is strong and offensive.

If your cat stops using the litterbox, or seems to experience pain when eliminating, consult your veterinarian immediately. If after a thorough examination your veterinarian rules out a medical cause, contact PAWS for more information about cat behavior and solutions to litterbox problems.

Copyright & Credit:
Source: Paws – www.paws.org


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