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10 Litter Box Tips
Family & Kids
Then there’s your problem. You hate pee and poop around the house, naturally; but you also hate litter boxes. You can’t stand the idea of multiple boxes, don’t want to look at them in your main living space, resent the constant scooping and, perhaps, you just don’t want to be reminded that your animal companions are actually praised for relieving themselves in the most sanctified of places, your home.
1. ONE BOX PER CAT +1
Yes, the formula works. At the very least it gets you thinking outside of your comfort zone in regards to your relationship with litter boxes. If you have 3 cats, it’s just not fair to ask them to share one box – and yes, I mean even if you’re not experiencing any problems. Think of gang warfare, with members of both sides tagging the same wall with graffiti over and over. Cats often will compete for the important territorial resources in much the same way.
2. DETECTIVE WORK BEGINS WITH A VET VISIT
If your cat has suddenly stopped using the litter box ALWAYS rule out physical problems first. Avoidance of the box often begins with the feeling that, “every time I go to that place, it hurts me!” One way to tell if your cat is experiencing this unpleasant feeling is to notice what they do after they eliminate. Do they stay in the box, taking care of business by burying their waste, for instance? Or do they finish and RUN out of the box? In my experience the after-litter dash is a sign that they are running away from what made them painful.
3. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The box must be located where it works best for the cat, not you. Compromise is a key ingredient in any human/cat relationship and this is where the rubber hits the road in that regard. The hands-down best place for a litter box is in an area that is socially significant to the cats. Sometimes that coincides with human areas of social significance. Think about the lesser of two evils. It’s either a litter box where you don’t want it, or pee where you definitely don’t want it.
4. THE SMELL OF THE LITTER
It’s so important to cater to what your cat is attracted to, and, likewise what they are repelled by. A safe bet is avoiding perfume-y, dusty litter. If it offends your nose when pouring it in the box, then think about the fact you have 5 million scent receptors while your cat has 200 million. What is annoying to you can be a source of avoidance for them. Fortunately, there are natural litters (such as one of my favorites, World’s Best Cat Litter) where odor control is done…naturally!
5. THE FEEL OF THE LITTER
Likewise to the point about litter scent, different cats prefer different textures of substrate. Some cats (and especially those who have been declawed) can be very sensitive to the pointed nature of some crystal or pellet litters, or even just the jagged feel of many clay litters. When in doubt, go as soft as you can.
6. THE VOLUME OF THE LITTER
It’s true – different cats prefer different amounts of litter in their box. Take, for instance, an arthritic, older cat. When there is a full box of litter, you’ve created a scenario where, especially when pooping, the cat must “grip on” to the substrate to gain stability. That in itself, can cause discomfort.
7. THE BOX ITSELF
Does your cat gladly enter the box or sniff around it, very carefully and gingerly going in as if she was exploring a very dark cave for the first time? Is your cat elderly or in any other way physically compromised and you are asking them to climb over a high-walled of the box? Overweight and expecting them to use a box big enough for a kitten? Remember, the box must be attractive and convenient; in other words, a friendly place.
8. TO LID OR NOT TO LID?
Keeping a lid on boxes is definitely something I tend to point away from. For one, the whole notion of a cat needing privacy in order to eliminate I believe is just a matter of projection; it’s what I want so of course it’s what he or she wants. Wrong. Sure some cats like to have lids on their box, but it can also cause inter-cat tension, especially when one cat gets bullied by another while in the box,
and because of the lid, they never saw it coming The same goes for Litter Liners – they are present just to make our lives a bit more convenient. Tell that to the cat who gets a claw stuck while trying to cover their waste! Just say no.
10. ANGLE OF THE BOX
Now this might sound over-specific, but believe me it works – in our attempt to not have to even look at cat litter, we often place the box and face the box away from our eyes. That means having a box with a lid where the opening faces the wall or faces another corner. We want to do the opposite, especially in a multi-cat home. Anytime a sneak attack can happen, or even have a cat in the box get startled by anything, we know we’ve tilted the scale firmly in the
human comfort direction. If the box is in a corner, face the opening on a diagonal so that from their vantage point they can see pretty much the whole room.
11. SCOOP. THE. LITTER.
We complain about the smell, about having to look at the mess inside the box…and yet we avoid scooping like it was a trip to the DMV. Your cats don’t like navigating the minefield of nasty clumps anymore than you like to see or smell it. So scoop that litter every day. Not twice a week!
These ideas were not mine, I merely loved them and am sharing them. Please see the originals at the links below: