There is probably nothing more frustrating to a cat owner than litter box accidents. In fact, habitual litter box accidents are the number one reason why cat owners give their cats up to animal shelters. When your cat refuses to use the litter box, there is usually an underlying reason. Before you become exasperated by your cat's inability to make it to the litter box, here are some common causes for this problem.
Litter Box Woes
One of the main reasons why a cat begins to refuse to use the litter box is because their own litter box is dirty. Many cats are extremely fussy about the condition of their litter box, while others will use it no matter how full it looks. If your cat has a litter box accident, the first place you should check is the litter box. Some pets prefer that their litter box be cleaned out after each use. While this is time-consuming for you, it may be a simple fix to this problem. You should start a daily routine of cleaning out your cat box and you may find that this solves your problem.
Another common problem related to the litter box is there are not enough litter boxes for the number of cats you have. For example, if you have four cats in your home, you should have at least one litter box per cat. Cats like to have their own space, and this is especially true when it comes to their litter box. In fact, many veterinarians recommend that even if you have only one cat, you should have at least two litter boxes.
In addition, when it comes to litter box accidents, look at the type of litter you are using and the size and shape of the litter box. If you have a tray litter box without a lid, maybe your cat would feel more secure in a closed box. If you have an older cat or a young kitten, your cat may have a difficult time getting in and out of a closed-top box. Watch your cat carefully when he or she uses the litter box. If you find that they are having a difficult time getting in and out of the litter box and consider getting a different box. Also, look at the type of litter you use. Your cat may be extremely fussy about the smell or texture of the litter. Many people preferred using the scoop-away litter; however, many cats will not use this type of litter, because it sticks in the paws. You may also find that the litter you use causes a lot of dust that is disagreeable to your cat.
Your cat may be refusing to use the litter box, because of health-related issues. If you have tried all the above tips and nothing seems to be working, then it is time to visit your veterinarian. Cats that have bladder problems, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, and diabetes are more prone to litter box accidents than healthy cats. You need to take your cat to the vet and have a thorough health exam performed to find out if your cat is suffering from an ailment. If this is the case, your veterinarian can prescribe medication to help your cat.
Habit and Your Cat’s Territory
If your cat has been ill or has stopped using the litter box for any reason, you may find that your cat returns to their old ways out of habit. It is extremely important that when your cat has a litter box accident, you clean the area thoroughly to get rid of any odors that may remain. In addition, your cat may have not stopped using the litter box at all but instead, your cat is marking his or her territory. This is especially common in multi-cat households or when you bring a new pet into the home.
When you determine why your cat is having litter box accidents, you can find a solution. It takes time and patience; however, this is much preferable to unnecessarily ending your relationship with your beloved pet.
Carmen Klassen, Owner of Jewelspride Bengals