• litter box

    A few years ago my litter box trained cat stopped using her litter box. I couldn’t figure it out. She had been using the box since I brought her home as a kitten, and the only time she had ever had an accident was when she was accidentally locked in a bedroom.
    This new bad behavior was frustrating. She was peeing on towels and clothes, in a corner of the closet, and most frustrating was that she was frequently peeing on my bed. It got so bad that we were doing laundry almost daily, and my husband finally said that if we couldn’t get her to stop we would have to rehome her.  Desperate for answers I called our vet and made an appointment. What I found out would completely change things for my entire family, and my precious little fur ball.

    Surprising Findings

    Summer wasn’t behaving badly. She was sick. Most cats with well-established litter box habits that stop using their boxes are telling you something is wrong. In Summer’s case, she had a urinary tract infection. For a cat, this is a serious condition, and untreated it can be life threatening. Our vet loaded us up with antibiotics, and a plan to help get our loveable fur ball back on track. Before we knew it she was back to her normal routine.

    Reasons your cat may have stopped using its box.

    There are many reasons why a cat stops using the litter box. If your cat is in this boat here is a list of things to look into while helping your cat reestablish its healthy litter habits.

    1. Health related issues. Visit your vet. If you cat does have a urinary tract infection switch to wet food until the infection has subsided, and make sure she has plenty of water. Other issues such as kidney disease may require a specialized diet.
    2. Take the lid off the box. Some cats are claustrophobic. If you recently purchase a box that has a top, or you have multiple cats closing in the box may cause fear especially if you have another animal that is territorial. If your cat live in fear of being suprised or attacked they will avoid the box. 
    3. Is the box in a safe place? If you have other pets it’s a good idea to put the box in another area that the dog can’t get to. While many cats and dogs co-habitate in a friendly way, if the other animal likes to chase or tease your cat while she is in the box, she may find a safer place to go potty.
    4. Clean the box. Cats do not like standing in their own waste. The box should be cleaned daily.
    5. Add more boxes. Sometimes cats with health problems or who are getting older don’t have the ability to hold it. Getting to a box on the opposite end of the house might be too difficult for her. Make sure there is at least one box on each level, and possibly more than one box on opposite ends of the house. At minimum you should have the same number of boxes as you have cats plus one box.
    6. Have you recently changed to a different brand of litter? Change back. Cats can be very picky. 
    7. Is your cat declawed, or developing arthritis? The granules may hurt her paws. Find a litter that is softer or easier on the paws.
    8. Territorial Issues. Boy cats especially can become sensative to other cats hanging around the yard. You will notice they are spraying near doors and windows if the issue is territorial. Jackson Galaxy has some great tips on his youtube channel about handling territorial issues.

    By employing some of these tips you may help your kitty to start making it back to the box.

    If you have a pet that is having accidents in the house it is important to have a cleaning plan in place to maintain your items, but also protect your health. There are a ton of products on the market that claim to help clean up pet messes. Unfortunately, some can actually set stains. Check out our emergency spot tips for what to use while working to get your pet back on track. We also recommend a product called Anti-Icky-Poo to help with odors. 

    If you have pet odors and want to try and tackle the problem yourself check out this article on pet urine.

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