Most indoor cats have no problems learning to use their litter box. However, if the situation should arise that she doesn’t like the box or want to use it, there could be a problem to solve.
There are many brands and types of litter on the market from which to choose. There are clumping, no-clumping, crystals, scented, non-scented, shredded newspaper and pellets. Your cat may have preferences. She may have been used to using one type of litter and for some reason you decided to change. Maybe the change was made because the cost was less, a friend’s recommendation, or you just picked up a different brand. All are good reasons; it’s just that your kitty didn’t like the change.
The most preferred litter for your cat and for keeping the litter clean is the un-scented, clumping litter. Cat’s also preferred fine to medium texture, and from 1″ to 2″ in depth.
Cleanliness of the Litter Boxes
Your cat likes a clean litter box, like we prefer using a clean toilet. Most of us do not like using a portable or pit toilet because of the elimination of other people plus unpleasant odor is present. Your cat is much the same way. She prefers a clean litter box without the scent of her elimination or any other cat’s waste.
The cat box should be cleaned at least once a day, minimum. The litter box should have all of the litter removed and the box should be cleaned thoroughly, weekly. Use unscented soap and/or baking soda to clean the litter box. If you use a lining, the box does not have to be cleaned each week, but at a minimum of once a month. The lining should be changed every week, filling it with clean litter 1″ to 2″.
You should have one litter box for every cat in your home plus one extra box. There should also be one on every level of your home, especially if you have an older cat with arthritis or a disabled cat that can’t run fast enough to get from one floor to the next and to the litter box.
There are several types of litter boxes available to purchase, so just make sure the one you choose is large enough for your cat.
1. One style is an open box with sides of approximately 4″ high. These are probably the most common.
2. There are boxes with lids or domes that fit over the box with a front opening.
3. You can find a box that is very deep with a top opening. Cats would have to jump into it to use it.
4. Self cleaning litter boxes are another option. This can assist in the daily cleaning process, but remember that it still needs to be washed once a week and the litter replaced. There is an additional cost because you need to continually buy the bags in which the litter is deposited, those bags needing to be changed regularly.
5. You can also you a clear plastic sweater storage box.
Why your cat decides not to use the litter box.
If your kitty decides to eliminate in a place other than the litter box, do not scold her or punish her because that does not solve the custom display packaging issue. The situation could be the cat is under perceived stress because of several reasons: a change of homes, or being boarded at a kennel; a new person in the home such as a baby; you may have a new routine such as your work schedule; or a new pet, either a cat or dog, has come into the home.
Another factor could be that she may have a medical problem. Cat urinary tract infections are somewhat common, or there may be a blockage, which male cats more commonly acquire. You may notice your cat meowing in pain as she is eliminating or you may notice blood in the urine as you clean her cat box. In this case, a veterinarian needs to be contacted immediately because it could be a very severe issue that needs to be taken care of.
Sometimes your cat may not be comfortable with the location of the cat box. Do not place it in heavily trafficked areas, or next to her food and wash dish, or near noisy equipment such as the washing machine. Give her some privacy when placing it in its location.
Clean the area where the elimination occurred.
Should your cat eliminate somewhere in your house other than in the cat box, please stay calm and not hurt or punish the cat. Clean the area with an ammonia-free deodorizer. Several types can be purchased at a store or online for this very purpose. Since the urine has an ammonia odor, cats may want to reuse this area. You can cover the area with tin foil, or a product that would be uncomfortable for them to step on. Putting their food and water in the inappropriate area will also help because they don’t want to do their bathroom duties near their food.