Has your cat been eliminating outside of the litterbox, creating messes on your carpets and floors? About one in every 10 cats will experience a litterbox aversion at some point in their life! Here, your Roanoke, VA veterinarian tells you what to do if your feline friend has shunned her bathroom.
See the Vet
First things first—schedule an appointment to have your cat examined at the veterinarian’s office. There is a chance that medical issues, including infection, injury, or disease, could be the cause of your cat’s behavior! You’ll want to have any medical problems taken care of so that your cat doesn’t suffer further.
Many of our older feline companions suffer from arthritis, which can make it difficult for your cat to hoist themselves into the box. Try using a litterbox with low sides if you have an arthritic cat.
One of the main reasons that cats decide not to use their litterbox is because of where it’s located. Our feline friends are picky about this sort of thing; they don’t want to be disturbed while doing their business. Put the litterbox in a quiet, low-key area of the house where your cat won’t be interrupted by human family members or other pets. In most homes, a basement or laundry room works well.
Who wants to do their business in a dirty bathroom? Not your cat! If you don’t clean Fluffy’s litterbox often enough, she may decide to go elsewhere. We recommend scooping out your cat’s waste on a daily basis, and changing all litter about once a week. This will ensure that the litterbox stays fresh and will further entice your cat into using it regularly.
There is a wide variety of litter types out there, and different cats like different ones. There are scented versions, different granule sizes, different base materials… the list goes on and on! You may have to do some experimenting to find a litter type that your cat enjoys using. Ask your veterinarian for help.
If your cat was startled or injured while using a litterbox early on in life, she may associate negative things with the litterbox now. This kind of issue might take the help of a professional animal behaviorist or trainer to correct; ask your vet to put you in touch.
For help with your cat’s bathroom habits, call your Roanoke, VA vet.