Litter Box Solutions

Cats are fastidious creatures–they like being clean, they keep their spaces clean, and they love clean litter boxes. If they start having accidents outside of the litter box, something is wrong.

If your cat starts going outside the litter box, get them checked out at the vet first. If a medical problem is causing the litter box issues, your vet will be able to offer prescription medicine and/or foods, as needed. If everything checks out there, start addressing it as a behavioral problem–add a litter box (or two), and look into behavioral solutions. Has anything changed in your household lately? If so, that may have stressed your cat out and helped cause the inappropriate urination. Boredom can be a stressor too–toss out an extra tinfoil ball for them to play with and spend a few extra minutes with the laser pointer, or even just snuggling every night.

There are a variety of litter box problem behavioral modification aids available today. Your vet will be able to help you decide if a prescription is the way to go. If not, products like pheromone diffusers, calming collars, and attractant litter additives are some things to try. Maybe you just need to keep the box extra clean–try scooping twice a day (at minimum, once a day). If that doesn’t help, you may need to replace the box–an old box can retain smells that your cat may now find offensive.

If your cat is consistently going outside the litter box in the same spot, add a litter box there, no matter how awkward it is to have a litter box in the middle of the living room floor. (Most people will think that a cat accident is worse in the middle of the living room floor.) Keep it there until your cat is consistently using the litter box again, then slowly move the litter box to a space more convenient for your family. Go very, very slowly, and stop for awhile, or even move the litter box back, if the inappropriate elimination issues start up again.

While you’re encouraging the cat to use any litter box, a cat litter attractant can help encourage litter box use. Litter attractants have an earthy scent to attract cats to the litter box. These attractants can be added to the litter. There are also cat attract litters available, with which you would completely replace your cat’s litter with.

Speaking of litter, did you recently change the type, brand, or scent of litter in your cat’s box? Some cats don’t like change, especially in the litter box, and this may be the problem. Try switching back to what they were using. If that doesn’t help, try changing the type of box. There are a variety of litter boxes available, try a few different styles to see which your cat prefers.

Keep in mind that even if your cat checked out at the vet last time, it doesn’t mean they didn’t pick up a urinary tract infection while you were treating the behavioral part of things. A urine recheck, or a second consultation with your vet, may be just what the doctor ordered.

By Rachel Leisemann Immel