So your cat has decided to urinate outside the box. This is a common issue with cat and can be a very frustrating one for owners. There can be medical reasons a cat will find a new place to urinate and so the first important step is to rule out medical causes first. Many owners have brought their cat into our animal hospital for euthanasia stating that they have a dirty cat. Well cats are not naturally dirty but when stressed or upset many will urinate outside the box. Most cats who urinate outside the box and have no medical issues it is because they are upset about their box! So the first step to preventing or solving an inappropriate urination problems is to make sure all is right with the box!
Here are the seven things you need to know to make every cat happy with his/her box…
1 Keeping it Clean – Cats are fastidious! Some cats will not use a box that has a urine clump already in the box. Make sure to scoop daily and once a week remove all the old litter, clean the box with mild soap, and add fresh new litter.
2 Location is everything! Is the box downstairs and difficult to get to? Older cats may have trouble with stairs. Is the box near a noisy furnace or in a crowded area? Cats need to not feel trapped when in the box.
3 Is the Kitchen and bathroom the same place? Cats tend not to like to use a box near where they eat; just as we might not want to eat dinner next to the toilet.
4 The magic number of boxes? Always have ONE more box than you have cats.
5 Litter type matters. Just like you may have your favourite laundry soap cats will prefer different litters…. clumping does tend to be most cats favourite but sometimes you will need to experiment. Have a few boxes and try out a few litters. See which one is your cat’s favourite!
6 Uncover the box. Many cats don’t like to be trapped in their litter box, they always need an escape route! As well the lid can turn the box into a smelly “outhouse”.
7 Size does matter! Cats like to dig burry and scratch in that litter. A small box can make a cat upset. What about the sides of the box? As cats age arthritis can make it uncomfortable to climb into and out of the box. If you have room using a wrapping paper storage bin works well…low sides yet lots of real estate!
Have a listen to Dr. Steve Weinburg as he discusses the ins and outs of litter box and litter box training.
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