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20 things to try if kitty stops using the litter box

Flick Dot Buzz Cat ideas 1 Note any recent changes in the household environment - a stranger in the house, a new pet, new food, any alteration in household or cat routine or environment that may suggest a causal factor.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 2 Document the problem - when and where 'inappropriate elimination' occurs, what the conditions around the litter box were like at the time, or does it happen when you are out or away, is kitty eating and drinking normally etc

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 3 Clean the litter box! Boxes should be scooped out at least twice a day, and the entire box emptied, cleaned and refilled with fresh litter regularly too

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 4 Are there enough litter boxes? You should have one box for every cat plus one extra - so if you have one cat, you should have two boxes - if you have two cats, three boxes, etc.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 5 Have kitty checked out by a vet - there are many health problems that can lead to inappropriate elimination, and ruling these out early in the process is a good idea. If kitty is off her food, or not drinking, or drinking more than usual, or seems lethargic or if there are any other signs of a health problem, as well as having litter box issues, have a vet check it out!

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 6 Add a new litter box - try a different style (if you have covered boxes, try an uncovered box) in addition to the litter box your kitty is familiar with. If you have extra boxes it's easier to try out different kinds of litter too.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 7 Try a larger litter box - if kitty is having accidents near the box, a bigger box may solve the problem. Generally cats want a box longer than their body, and with room to circle around easily, so a larger box may be more appealing.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 8 Change litter type - try a different kind of litter, there are many types available now - if you use a clumping litter, try the non-clumping kind. If you've been using an old fashioned sandbox, try an unscented clumping litter.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 9 Create more privacy for the litter box - try building a cardboard surround or enclosure to give kitty more privacy. If your litter box is in an open area, with people passing by, kitty may feel exposed and vulnerable and prefer a more enclosed or private space, or a quieter area with less foot traffic.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 10 Remove sources of noise from the litter box area (or move the litter box to a quieter location) sudden sounds from the furnace, washer/dryer, etc. can frighten kitty into thinking the litter box area is unsafe

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 11 If kitty is older and possibly less mobile, consider one box on each floor, or boxes in more rooms

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 12 This bears repeating: clean the litter box! Scoop more frequently, change more frequently, and keep the area clean and odor free

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 13 If you have a multi-pet household, consider an elevated litter box that kitty can get away from other creatures to use.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 14 If you have a multi-cat household, a change in one cats litter box habits may cause other cats distress, and rearranging litter box placement within the house may help - adding another box is a good way to test that.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat care Tips 15 Try an unscented non-clay based litter, there are types made with corn, wheat, newspaper and other natural/absorbent materials - the upside is most are biodegradable too. An old fashioned sand box may be what your kitty prefers - it worked for centuries before kitty litter was invented.

Flick Dot Buzz - Cat Tips 16 If the box is surrounded by stuff, try clearing some space around it - kitty may feel the need to watch out for dangers while vulnerable in the box, and enclosed boxes or small spaces can come to seem unappealing or even threatening. Some cats prefer privacy, and enclosed spaces, and others wish to be able to see what's going on around them. If your kitty has stopped using the litter box where it is, try creating a litter box area that is different.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 17 Clean up all the places outside the litter box where kitty has peed or pooped - cleaning products to remove odors may help dissuade kitty from using that same inappropriate place regularly. Some scented products, like citrus and vinegar, which cats don't like, may make the area unpleasant to your cat, which might deter your cat from using that one area for elimination; but removing the odor entirely is probably a better long term solution.

Flick Dot Buzz Cat Tips 18 In a multi-cat house there may be 'pack-pooping' times, and that may be the most critical time to scoop the litter. In feral cat colonies only the dominant cat may leave unburied poop, so it's possible that a dominance struggle amongst the cats in your household has lead to 'conspicuous pooping' as a means of asserting dominance. Removing all poop promptly may help reduce this type of territorial assertion.

FDB - Cat Tip 19 IF the problem persists, and you've eliminated other variables, consider a second vet check-up.

Flick Dot and Buzz - Cat Tip 20 If you have a multi-cat household, consider giving cats 'alone time' in separate spaces - they may need privacy from their fellow cats to establish a litter box routine again

MORE Reading

The Happy Litterbox - great resource! http://www.thehappylitterbox.com/

Cat Man Do A Cat-vet-blog article - http://catexpert.blogspot.ca/2012/04/reader-question-dem-ol-litterbox-blues.html

Cat world on inappropriate urination - http://www.cat-world.com.au/inappropriate-urination-in-cats

Cornell University Vet program article - http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/Housesoiling.html

Another vetrinary article - http://vet.osu.edu/assets/pdf/hospital/behavior/felineInappropriateElimination.pdf

Unabridged guide to litter box problems - http://www.catsinternational.org/articles/housesoiling/unabridged_litterbox_1.html

Cat Behaviour Clinic on litter box pooping problems - http://www.thecatbehaviorclinic.com/cat-pooping-outside-litter-box.html

Cats international - http://www.catsinternational.org/

Cat Health on Elimination issues - http://www.cathealth.com/elimination-issues

Monthly health Check - http://www.cat-world.com.au/performing-monthly-health-checks-on-your-cat

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