Breaking Bad Habits: Litter Box

By Brook Stevenson Feb 1, 2017
Breaking Bad Habits: Litter Box
Most cats are more than happy to use a litter box, however there are times when their litter box habits can leave something to be desired. So there are a few reasons why your cat might be having accidents either on the side of the litter box, or in other locations. 

1.    The litter box isn’t clean enough
Cats select their location to go toilet in a clean spot. If you don’t keep the litter clean, they might choose to use other locations in the home to go to the bathroom.  It is very important that the kitty litter should be changed twice weekly with daily spot cleans. Cats like a clean location to go to the toilet, them holding on too long can lead to urinary infections. 

2.    Sharing a litter box
Cats often don’t like sharing a litter box with other cats. If you notice that your cat doesn’t like sharing a litter box, don’t force them and just choose to have two litter boxes. They will also be even further repelled from sharing a litter box if they have had a fight with their feline roommate. 

3.    Products you use in the litter box
Many cats don’t like using a litter box liner, the sensation on the paw pads as well as claws can be quite off putting. Additionally, using a liner is frequently pointless because most cats will shred up the liners anyway. Cats are also very selective about the brands of litter, so if you recently changed the litter brand try to slowly transition them. Try using small amounts of the old litter then replacing with the new kitty litter as you need to. 

4.    Location of the litter box
Many cats don’t like going to the toilet near their food and water source (which is pretty logical) to ensure that you feed your cat in a different site than their kitty litter. If required (due to limited space) you can feed them in a higher surface such as a table top or bench. 
5.    Negative associations
Some cats become reluctant to use their litter box after illness due to negative associations with pain at the litter box. They also can be off-put from using their litter box following a trauma such as moving house, loosing anther pet or a surgery. Try to make sure if this is the case, you are patient and replace the litter box with one a different shape and retrain them to use the litter box again. 
6.    Territory changes:
New cats often mean that your cat will want to expel their scent onto their territory. This can also occur with a new person in the home. Again, be patient and work on rewarding them when they do use the litter box and aim to still give your cat plenty of attention. 
7.    Illness: Some health conditions can lead to changes of litter habits, so if you think any of these problems are occurring then have them see a vet as soon as possible. 
1.    Urinary tract infection: This often happens from not completely emptying their bladder (which can be from poor kitty litter upkeep or lack of privacy). 
2.    Bladder infection: This often occurs from untreated UTI. Hence why it’s very important you have them see a vet
3.    Urinary stones or crystals: This happens from stagnant urine solidifying which blocks the urinary tract or kidney. It’s important they are managed on a particularly low sodium diet and they will need ongoing additional dietary changes if this doesn’t improve (Science Diet).


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