Litter box issues are one of the most common questions asked by our cat community. Cats will suddenly start going outside the box for several, often mysterious reasons. If your cat has stopped using the box, here’s how we get our cat using the litter box again.
First, it’s important to note that if your cat suddenly starts going outside the box it could be a health issue. The first step is to always schedule a vet visit. Assuming that this is simply a behavioral issue can result in a very sick kitty. Cats will often urinate outside the box as a way to tell you they don’t feel well. Take the hint and get your baby’s health cleared first.
Okay… now that we know the health is in check, let’s talk about how to get your cat using the box again!
There are many reasons why cats will start going outside the box that are behavioral at their core, but the following info covers most of them! We have a cat that has high anxiety and will start peeing outside the box when something big changes. For example – if we go out of town for an extended period of time (even with a full-time, overnight cat sitter), we can expect to come home Pooh Bear peeing (and sometimes pooping) in all the wrong places.
Steps we take to help our cat start using the box again
1. We go to the local hardware or department store and purchase a 30 gal storage bin. The majority of litter boxes you purchase at pet stores are not size appropriate. Experts say a litter box should be a length and a half the size of your kitty (not counting the tail). Storage bins are cheap and make purrfect litter boxes! Simply cut a hole in the side or front to make a door. Here is a tip on how to cut the door easily.
2. We pick up some Cat Attract Litter (Dr. Elsey’s) and put it in the new box. Now… this is NOT our favorite litter and we don’t recommend using it long term for your kitties. Clay based litters can cause a host of health issues in cats if used over a prolonged period of time. That being said, this stuff really works to attract cats if used correctly!
3. We immediately put our problematic kitty in the box to ‘mark’ it. Cats that go outside the box often want a litter area that they can call their own. This doesn’t mean the other cats in your home won’t use it… it just means he/she will claim it. Mr. Pooh Bear will always push a little pee in the box and claim it as his own – then the whole clowder proceeds to use as usual.
These simple steps are enough to start getting him using the box! However, if the issue might be happening due to other cats in the home, make sure you have enough litter boxes, that the boxes are cleaned regularly and try confidence building sessions with your cat as well. These extra steps will help ensure you don’t have to do this again for a while!