Kitty Not Using the Litter Box???
A common problem the office has seen recently is that more and more cats are not using their litter boxes. If this is your cat, please call the office first to make sure it is not a urinary/medical problem. If that is not the issue, it’s most likely behavioral problem. Many of us have no idea what to do but are sick of constantly cleaning up their messes multiple times a week. Cat parents seem to be able to tolerate furniture scratching or constant meowing but when a cat pees on the carpet day after day it can be a deal-breaker. Nothing sends a cat to the shelter faster than a litter box problem. But we are here to help!
The office staff has pulled material from many sources and we have come to a consensus in hopes of helping you and your pet for a moving comfortable living situation.
First things first: If your cat is urinating or defecating outside of the litter box it might be a medical problem! Be sure to come in to the office to sit down and talk to Doctor Andy. These medical issues can be caused due to diet, dehydration and pH levels. Just as humans do, our pets need a nutritional food to get all of “the good stuff.” Always encourage water consumption to help prevent minor urinary tract irritations that can lead to worse problems. By drinking plenty of water your cat’s urinary tract will be flushed out, helping reduce the levels of bacteria and reducing the formation of crystals in the urine. Leave out fresh bottled or filtered water daily. And you can always add water into his or her food as extra consumption.
Another common problem issue is that intestinal parasites and diarrhea can also lead to urination and/or defecation outside the litter box. You should bring a stool sample to the office for analysis. If internal parasites are present, de-worming your cat will be necessary. But no worries if this still isn’t your case.
Then there is the litter and the box. It may simply be that your cat no longer likes the box itself, or the litter. Try to stay away from pine or cedar. The texture or scent may be whats causing them to not want to go there. If you recently changed to a different brand or type of litter, try going back to the old brand or type. Make sure to clean the box regularly. Cats are instinctively clean animals. They won’t want to use a dirty litter box. If you have multiple cats, make sure they each have their own box. They are also extremely territorial. If you only have one cat, be sure to place a box in areas that are relatively close. When they have to go, they don’t want to scurry to the other side of the house. Do not continuously move the litter box. Having to go in search for the box will give them a feeling of inconsistency.
Simply behavioral. If your cat is not neutered or spayed this could be the issue. This is due to trying to show off their sexuality or a female can drip all over the house when she is in heat. It is important for so many other medical reasons to get your cat(s) neutered or spayed. Also try and keep them on a schedule for feeding. When you keep them on a routine you are less likely to experience a cat who is nervous or stressed causing the elimination. Make sure they have free roam of the house. If they feel coped up, this too will lead to them feeling stressed. Now if your cat is getting aggravated towards the outside world, be sure to block the windows with curtains. Interactive toys may help with deflating stressors or nerves. High perches or areas can put your cat at ease as well.
Can we punish them like we punish our dog? No. Because these problems are often caused by stress or nerves this plan would often backfire on you. Instead, calmly interrupt the act with a toy rattling or a treat. You can then take them calmly to the litter box. It is the act of classical conditioning. Eventually your cat will head back to the litter box.
Above all else, the most important thing is to stay patient! As frustrated as you are, you are not alone and it will get better with time and patience.