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"Caring for cats isn’t what we do, it’s who we are!"

"Caring for cats isn’t what we do, it’s who we are!"

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Litter Box Issues: Let’s Talk About the Nitty Stinky!

Litter Box Issues: Let’s Talk About The Nitty Stinky!

By: Krista Schulte

(Krista is a Cat Behaviour Consultant and one of our amazing sitters, see her Bio at bottom of blog)

Litter Box Issues: Let’s Talk About The Nitty Stinky! Five most common causes of litter box issues:

  1. Health
  2. Number of litter boxes
  3. Type of box
  4. Location, location!
  5. Litter substrate

If you notice your cat is straining to urinate, squatting with no pee, crying, or traces of blood contact your veterinarian immediately! (if weather in the litter box or outside the box) as this could be fatal! Rule out Urinary Tract Infections and other health related causes.

Litter Box Location:

For both single cat and multi-cat households this is very important that they have multiple boxes. Some cats do not like to urinate and defecate in the same litter box.  So if you only have one litter box for one cat andlitter box placement you notice that he or she is peeing in the box but pooping elsewhere this could be the problem. In the case of multi-cat households figuring out which one would require more information and evaluation.

Note: Litter boxes should not be side by side. Cats will see this as one big elimination area. Separate areas of the home would be best. Keep in mind as they get older they start developing mobility issues, we do not want to climb and jump to do our “business”

It’s always advised to strongly take into consideration the location. You know your cat best. Determining where the high traffic areas are, spaces where they feel safe and confident. Ideally not in a small closet where they can’t see their surroundings. As cats are very vulnerable when off guard when using the potty. So it’s recommended that it’s private but still doesn’t feel threatened. Less stress more success.

Litter Box Type:

When it comes to the type of litter box, often we think about the standard litter pan. With so many options it should be really important to take in to consideration the cat.  I know we love to have it tucked away in covered so no one else can see, but this isn’t necessarily best for kitty.  So often we have to meet them where they are. Some of us are lucky in finding one litter box and have success, great! Overtime this can change. Certain examples, as cat’s age, mobility becomes limited… just like in humans! Make life easier with low sides. Perhaps you want to have it where there’s no stairs to climb to get to the ultimate goal. These things would make it very uncomfortable just to go poop and pee.

Kittens might learn from a young age it’s really hard to get in a high sided litter box so they might develop the habit of going elsewhere. Some cats feel vulnerable in a covered, whereas others love an open box. So always good to have options. Also consider the size of the cat. They should be comfortable in making a complete 360 in the box with no hesitations. So roughly from the end of its nose to the tip of its tail when extended should be the average length no less.

Type of Litter:

After mastering the litter box next of course comes the cat litter. As there’s many different types and forms of substrate on the market (preferably unscented). Finding out which one works best can be a challenge. Although once you find it, it’s like hitting the jackpot. Some cats can be finicky about texture and size of granule, and depth., type of litter eg: clumping or non-clumping (would include plant-based alternatives such as, pine, corn, wheat, beet pulp and wood). If you find that you’re encountering litterbox issues/inappropriate elimination, it’s good to start testing samples of different substrate.

Regardless of the type of litter you find there is usually most success with on average 2 inches in depth. Some long-haired cats prefer it a little less, they like get great down to the bottom to create a sort of funnel to pee. Once you’ve conquered the ultimate litter for them, the next step would be to keep it Immaculate. Scooping twice a day. Doing a complete clean every week at the minimum.

It’s important to note that the cat’s sense of smell is the primary the way it identifies people, objects and other cats. They have more than 200 million odor sensors in their noses; Humans have just five million. So, their sense of smell is 14 times better than us!! Even if the litter appears clean to us and any little granule of clumped litter left in there from feces or urine might make them turn their nose up. So, pay attention to the scooper being used and that its designed for your litter consistency. Every little bit counts.

 

Conclusion?

Making some changes to accommodate will naturally create the cat to feel in control of the situation. Cats are all different, and that’s what’s so beautiful about them. They are creatures of habit; they’re very communicate if we’re “listening”. They make it aware if they’re not happy. We just have to work with them to see what they’re trying say.  =) So, let’s start having that conversation with them!

Please be advised that this information consists of the litter box basics. Inter-cat fighting, human aggression and severe fear, anxiety and stress should be followed up with a professional.

Maybe you can share with us what your kitty has to say about this?

Krista’s Bio

As a Cat Behaviour Consultant, I try to remain on the cutting edge of animal behavioural science, offering the most effective, veterinarian-backed training methodologies in North America. Providing private virtual consultations nationally and in home local to fit your specific needs, Trained and equipped to help you achieve your goals, litter box issues, unwanted scratching, anxiety and aggression—no pet is untrainable.

A List of certificates and completed seminars is on my website. I so look forward to connecting with you and helping

Krista Schulte

Cat Behaviour Consultant 

 

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