Cats equate the condition of their litter box with security. The litter box is a priority in your cat’s life. If the liter box is not in a location that is pleasing to the cat, the litter used is not acceptable to the cat, or the box is not kept clean enough to meet the cat’s expectations–you’re asking for problems.
Urinating and defecating outside the box is the number one reason cats are surrendered to animal shelters. However, in nearly all instances, if your cat is doing his business somewhere besides where he’s supposed to, you’re to blame. A litter box that is unacceptable to your feline friend can also lead to health issues. Rather than go in inappropriate places, your cat may hold his need to urinate or defecate. This can lead to a urinary tract infection, constipation, obstipation or megacolon.
Addressing location, type of litter, cleanliness of the box, having the right number of boxes and ensuring your cat has easy access to his restroom will eliminate nearly all litter box-associated problems.
The litter box should be located in an area that is quiet. It should also afford your pet some privacy in doing her business. The cat should be ale to easily access her litter box and should not have to go past noisy children, the dog or run a gauntlet of other cats to get there.
In multi-cat homes, a common problem is one cat guarding the box from the other felines. If you suspect this is your cat’s problem and the reason why she may avoid doing her business where she’s supposed to, add extra litter boxes. The “guarding cat” can’t be everywhere at once.
In the multi-cat home, the general rule of thumb regarding number of litter boxes is one box per cat, plus an extra box. This means that if you have four cats you should have five litter boxes. The litter boxes should also be scattered about your house in various places and on different levels of the house. This enables the cat to have access to her restroom when she needs it and where she needs it.
Most cats prefer unscented litter and litter that is sandy and soft on their bare feet. However, if your cat is having litter box issues, you might consider trying different types of litter to determine if there is another type that is more pleasing to her.
Cats have a very strong sense of small and very rigid ideas about hygiene. If your cat’s box isn’t clean, he isn’t likely to use it. Litter boxes should be scooped at least once a day and preferably twice a day.
You flush each time you go the restroom, right? Cats would prefer to have the same level of sanitation in their boxes.
The litter box should be completely emptied, cleaned and re-filled with fresh litter once a month.