When cats stop using the litter box, I know how frustrating it can be! Let’s first take a look at some simple solutions to help with this problem. It could be happening because of a medical problem. You need to have your Vet check for any urinary tract infections. This can cause pain to a cat when they urinate. Then they associate the pain with the litter box, and avoid using it. Then they go around finding places where they can pee, with an attempt to “avoid” the pain. It’s a major problem for them.
The fact that cats can be taught to relieve themselves in specific places is what permits us to keep them as house pets. Many species of cats begin to show this behavior as soon as they can eliminate on their own. However, where a cat eliminates can be affected by its experiences. Litter boxes which for a variety of possible reasons do not provide an acceptable place to eliminate, FROM THE CAT’S POINT OF VIEW, may cause a cat to go to the bathroom somewhere else. Thus, it is important for you to provide a litter box, which meets your cat’s needs so that s/he will like the box and use it consistently.
Most cat owners want to place the litter box in an out-of-the-way place in order minimize odor and loose particles of cat litter tracked around the house. Often, the litter box may end up in the basement, possibly next to an appliance, on an unfinished, cold cement floor. This type of location may be undesirable from the cat’s point of view. Adult cats new to a household may not at first remember where the box is located if it is in an area they seldom frequent.
Secondly, cats may be startled while using the box if a furnace or washer/dryer suddenly comes on, that may be the last time they’ll risk such a frightening experience! Lastly, some cats like to scratch the surface surrounding their litter box and may find a cold cement floor unappealing. So you may have to compromise. The box should be kept in a location, which affords the cat some privacy, but is also conveniently located. If you place the box in a closet, be sure the door is wedged open from both sides in order to prevent your cat from being trapped in or out. If the box sits on a smooth, slick or cold surface, consider putting a small throw rug underneath the box.
Cats possess a certain subtlety and purpose in everything they do. They are territorial animals. Marking behavior in cats is normal and is an important part of communication between cats. It helps to establish boundaries and reassures the cat that the area is familiar. Marking territory involves the spraying of urine and depositing pheromones from glands located on the cat’s body.
Another common form of territorial marking, urine spraying, is often stimulated by anything new in your cat’s surroundings. If your cat can see or smell another cat outside the house or if you have added a piece of new furniture or a new pet or person in the house, this could be enough for your cat to “spray” in an attempt to define boundaries.
Also, did you know that the plastic in a litter box actually absorbs the urine odors into the plastic? This can cause a cat to avoid using the litter box too. No matter how hard you try to clean it, you can never remove all of the “scents” that will linger in the litter box. Cats are very sensitive to this.
It is HIGHLY recommended that you REPLACE the litter box with a BRAND NEW litter box. Most Vets recommend replacing it every 4 – 6 months. People we have shared this information with are surprised at how well it has worked to get a cat using the litter box again.
In addition, it is CRITICAL that you use a type of litter specially designed to ATTRACT your cat to the litter box. You should go read about Dr. Elsey’s new Cat Attract litter. Click here to learn more.
If you have any questions or simply want to know more about UrineOut, please call our 24 hour toll-free hotline at 888-286-ODOR (6367) and talk to one of our cat pee specialists.