Litter Box options are at an ultimate high nowadays, but what do you do if your cat starts peeing outside the box? Is it the litter or is it the box? Could there be stress in your home, or could your fur baby have a medical issue needing attention? All of the above are possible reasons, but we have to ask ourselves a few questions before we know the answer.
The first question to ask is: “Am I keeping my cat’s litter box clean enough? At a bare minimum, you should be scooping your box on a daily basis, as there is no need for your cat to trample in its own waste. If you have a multi-cat household, you may need to up the frequency depending on your cat to box ration; which leads me to my next point.
The second question to ask is: “Do I have enough litter boxes and does my cat like them?” Usually any vet will tell you to have as many litter boxes as cats plus one additional box. I have 5 cats and yes, I have 6 boxes. It might sound like a lot, but the truth is, it’s better to have more than not enough. A lot of cats either don’t like sharing boxes, or just prefer a certain box for #1 and another for #2. An extra box also helps in situations where one cat has had a messy accident. Now, knowing whether or not your cat actually likes her litter box is a bit of a trickier puzzle to solve, so put on your Sherlock Holmes hat, and start observing.
There are many different factors to account for along your litter box investigation; box size, wall heights, lids or no lids, box placement and litter type. It’s always been my experience that bigger boxes are better. A bigger box decreases the chance that your cat accidentally pittles out the front or back. It will also decrease the frequency of excessive digging in litter. Digging around is your cat’s way of either finding a spot to “go”, or trying to cover up where she “went”. More digging increases the chance of clumps of urine being broken up. No doubt you’ll end up missing these broken bits when you’re scooping and therefore you will leave odors behind. If you have a kitten or an older cat, you may have to take into account their lack of mobility and adjust your litter box accordingly; an entrance to a box that is too high (wall height) can discourage your cat from using it if she is having trouble getting in and out of it. Lids can also be discouraging as some cats may feel trapped. If your cat does better “sans” lid, then – Take It Off! If you are cleaning your box on a daily basis there shouldn’t be much of an odor to “filter “or visual displeasure that needs to be covered by a lid. Another way to avoid looking at the “dudu” is to put the box in a well lit but low traffic area of the house. This is good for both you and the cat, cause who likes to go to the washroom with everyone looking?? Not very relaxing eh?! The last factor is the type of litter you are using. Without going into detail about litter (that’s a whole other column) I will tell you that yes….some cats are very easy and will use just about anything you will give them, but on the other hand, some won’t. If you notice your cat come out and spread her toes and drop a whole bunch of litter out, that is one sign that that litter isn’t working for her; it’s time to give her options. Present her with two litter boxes with 2 different litters and use your judgment. It is truly a trial and error situation to find what works best for both you and your cat, but stay away from strong perfumed litters….remember their sense of smell is 14 times stronger than ours!
Question three and four can be interrelated: “Is my cat under stress at home, or is she sick?” It is so easy for a cat to become stressed. Cats don’t cope well with change, and so even minor changes in the home can lead to upset. Something as simple as changing your daily routine can upset your cat, so be wary of presenting her to too much change all at once or even at all. Another cause of stress can be disease. This stress can be in both the sick cat, and if you have a multi-cat household, the other cats as well. The main medical issues that can cause out of the box elimination are, Urinary Tract Infections, Interstitial Cystitis, Kidney stones or a blockage. All of these come with similar signs, frequent attempts at urination with little or no success. As soon as you see your cat is have difficulties urinating……get her to the vet; untreated blockages can be life-threatening. Don’t risk it.
So there you have it, a good guide to help you try and solve why your fur kids are going outside of the box!
Now here’s your chance to get a leg up on the litter battle and win a brand new litter box, litter locker, refill and bag of my favorite litter. Go to www.westislandcats.com or visit West Island Cats on facebook for full contest rules and regulations!
Here’s looking forward to less litter box woes!