The Star-Herald

Litter box problems?

There is always a reason why your cats won’t use their litter box. Cats are very clean animals and it is very hard for them not to use their litter box. This kind of change in your cat’s behavior is usually a sign of emotional origin.

Consider if your cat has been under a lot of stress. For example, just having surgery, sickness, moving, renovation in the home or having new pets can cause stress. It is always important not to yell at your cat or punish them. If you do, it won’t solve the problem. It will just make your cat more stressed. 

The best course of action is to be patient and try the suggestions listed below. This should help and hopefully solve the cat litter box issues; in turn, this will help to keep both you and your cat happy. 

Litter box maintenance is the first cause of cats not using their litter box.  Cats don’t like to use litter boxes that are dirty and stinky. They will usually search for another place, whether it is a corner of a floor, bed, carpet, sofa, etc. To top that off, a cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than ours, so if you think it doesn’t smell that bad to you, for your cat, it may be horrifying.

Making sure that your cat has easy access to the litter box is important. The litter box should be placed in a location that has privacy and is away from noisy appliances, frightening noise and high-traffic areas in your home. It should also have a place for your cat to escape in case you have another cat that likes to bully other cats. 

Having a new cat or having multiple cats in your home can cause your cats not to use their litter box. Some cats just don’t like to share.  When we had two kitties, we also had two litter boxes. It did seem to make a difference. 

We humans wouldn’t want to eat by our toilet, so definitely keep kitty’s food and water in another location.

Cats don’t like change very much, so if you changed the brand or texture of their cat litter, some won’t use it. Go back to the old litter you were originally using. If you do need to change, cats tend to like a sand-like texture better. Or you can try mixing the old with the new.

Sometimes a new litter disinfectant or a new scent of cat litter will cause your cat not to use the box. If this is the case, go back to using the old kind of litter.

If your cat has chosen the same location all the time to eliminate outside the box, move the litter box to that location and gradually move the litter box back to the new location every day.

And finally, there may be a medical reason your cat is not using the litter box. A trip to the vet may be necessary.

Please stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society or check out our Facebook page.  Remember to be responsible pet owners: spay and neuter. 

Gloria Towle is the secretary and a board member for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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