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Article 4: Feline Urination
Don’t Make Kitty Cross Her Legs Too Long
(Stop Inappropriate Feline Urination/Defecation In Your Home)
We hear some pretty frustrating stories from our clients throughout the course of the year, but one of the most stressful for the home can be inappropriate urination/defecation by cats. In several cases it has even led to the cat having to be removed from the home in order to prevent a family crisis.
This is an unfortunate and often reversible behavioral problem in cats. It is also a problem that is more easily solved in the beginning rather than waiting several weeks hoping the behavior will revert back to normal. Usually there is some subtle trigger to the behavior that you may not even be aware of. Often, when a client calls us and we begin to go through our inappropriate feline urination (IFU for short) checklist we can get to the root of the problem and offer immediate potential solutions to the problem. Below are some basic reasons why your cat may not like to use the litter box for his/her elimination. We don’t want to see any cat lose its home over something that under normal circumstances can be favorably resolved.
Litter Box Aversion
Under normal behavioral circumstances your cat will willingly and boldly enter his/her litter box, seek out a perfect location in the litter to find relief, observe, and possibly sniff the remnants, and then proceed to cover up the remnants. If your cat has any level of reluctance to enter or stay in the litter box there could be underlying issues with the box. Here are some top reasons cats shy away from their litter box.
1. Don’t like, or there has been a recent change was made to the litter in the box. Cats
don’t like change so once they have settled in on a type of litter continue to use it for the life of the cat.
2. Too much noise/traffic around the box can cause aversion issues. Cats, like people,
enjoy their privacy when going to the bathroom. Imagine if your toilet was out in the open in the main hallway of your house for all to see and hear. Cats are no different. So if you have issues and your box is by a furnace/air conditioner vent that constantly blows air and makes noise it may be a problem. If it is in the pathway of dogs, or young children at play they may have an aversion to that location.
3. A litter box not cleaned often enough to suit them can create aversion issues. It may look clean to you and me but your cat is very sensitive to both smell and appearance. If they feel it is not well kept they may develop an aversion to it. So be sure to scoop daily like clockwork. Not to be too gross but imagine if we did not flush after each use of the toilet. It is no different for our cats.
4. How many litter boxes is enough? Normally, if you have one cat then two litter boxes should be fine. If you have two floors to your home then one placed downstairs and one placed upstairs should do the trick. The more cats you have in the home the more litter boxes you need.
The ideal number is always one more box than the total number of cats you have in the home.
The bottom line to litter boxes is that if you like it the cat will probably like it too. The litter box depth should be ideally maintained with fresh litter at four inches. If you are trying to select a new litter keep in mind that cats originated in an arid climate and that is what is in their genetic makeup. So try to use a litter that reminds them of that desert environment. Don’t fall for the latest fads by litter makers. Finally, if it is not broke don’t try to fix it. It is one of those pay now, or pay more, later type of deals. Don’t try to save money by using an inferior litter that may cost you a ton in home cleaning and repairs down the road.
There is also no need to spend vast amounts of money on a colonial style litter box. Keep in mind the true purpose. Architecture is not even in the top five. Believe it or not cats tend to
prefer the style of litter box we use at the clinic for our boarding cats. It is a simple plastic box with no hood or other decorations. I think we spent less than a dollar a box on every litter
box we use. The box should be 1 to 1-1/2 times the total body length of the cat and is at least five inches deep (four for litter and one to prevent overflow). The box needs to be wide enough for the cat to easily turn completely around in the box to inspect his/her business.
One of our representatives will be happy to contact you via e-mail within 24 hours, or for urgent needs please call us at: (913) 888-3939