Litter Box Issues
How To Stop Cats From Going Outside Litter Box
Litter box issues are the number one reason why cats are surrendered, and thus euthanized. It can be a frustrating situation, to say the least. No one wants to clean urine and feces from around the house every day, and the smells can get overwhelming. In this guide we will show you the proven steps that will help cats start using the litter box again.
First Step & Most Importantly:
If your kitty suddenly starts to go outside the box, you need to rule out any health issues first. Cats will often pee or poop outside the litter box to tell you they don’t feel well. Make an appointment with your vet for a health check.
If Your Cat’s Health Is Fine, Check Off These Boxes:
- How often do you scoop the box? Cats are clean beings and will sometimes go outside the litter box because it’s not scooped or clean.
- Do you have enough litter boxes? If you have multiple cats, you should have at least one more box than you have cats. Most cats prefer to pee and poop in separate boxes. You may be thinking “but they only use one box”. The truth is that they will – until they don’t. Try getting another box and see if the issues stop.
- Are the boxes big enough? The majority of litter boxes that we purchase at pet stores aren’t nearly the right size for cats. An appropriately sized litter box will be a length and a half the size of your cat (nose to beginning of tail). We use storage totes as litter boxes. They are much cheaper, bigger and easy to customize. Click here to learn how to make your own litter box.
- Where are the litter boxes placed? One of the mistakes cat parents make is putting the litter boxes in a basement, garage or laundry room. Cats will feel most comfortable doing their business in a low traffic, easily accessible area. The basement may be fine for young cats, but as they get older it might be harder to go down or up stairs. Make sure you have a litter box available on each story of your home (especially with senior cats). Loud noises like a garage door or washing machine can startle cats and interrupt their potty time, so you want the placement of the litter box to be in a quiet and safe place as well.
- What type of litter are you using? The type of litter you use is most important to your cat. Scented litters are often rejected by cats, as they know how toxic they are to them. Same goes for most clay litters. But sometimes it’s the texture of the litter that cats will reject. Test out different types of litter and see what your kitty likes to use most.
- Pro-tip: If you have multiple cats and it’s just one that is ‘marking’ outside the box, try getting a new box with an attractive litter and make sure that he/she uses it first. This will make them feel like they have their own ‘marked’ box and they’ll be more apt to use it moving forward.
A cat’s scent is very important to them. It’s important to find out why your cat is going outside the box in order to properly correct it. For instance, some cats will pee or poop on your bed or clothing when you are gone. This is their way of meshing their smells with yours – their favorite human.
If you’ve tried it all and still can’t get your cat to use the litter box, we recommend contacting a feline behaviorist and book a Zoom consultation with them. They are the experts at resolving these types of issues on a more individualized level!
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