With a cat in your home, it is inevitable to have cat litter problems. Considering cats’ highly territorial behavior, you have to compromise on several things to keep them happy. Well, take this compromise as the price you pay for this beautiful relationship between you and your cat. We will discuss what compromises you will have to make in this article. If you’re a new cat parent and do not know how to set up litter boxes, you need to do it the right way. That’s the first step towards solving litter problems. Also, I’ll let you know how to deal with problems if they persist even after taking care of all the things related to the litter box.
How to Set Up Litter Boxes the Right Way
Despite the most desirable boxes you have in your house, your cat pees and poops outside the box. You may be wondering what’s wrong with your cat. Well, there can be so many reasons for it which I’ll cover in later sections. But then again, if you have made mistakes in placing litter boxes, you won’t be able to find a way out of problems.
Number of Litter Boxes
The golden rule of thumb is to have litter boxes as many cats as you have plus one. For instance, if you have three cats, you’ll need four litter boxes. Actually, litter boxes are territorially important places for them and sharing them with other feline mates is stressful. If your cat does not get his own space, he might be observed eliminating inappropriately and may also develop other physical conditions.
The Litter Type
There are different types of litter available from different brands. However, cats sometimes are picky for choosing what type of litter they want. Considering that, you’ll have to try out different types of litter in different boxes and you will know what your cat approves.
Although your cat may be ok with all the litter types, I’d recommend you to not use the scented litter. It doesn’t do anything except masking the odor. Cats love their litter boxes clean but with the scented litter the odor doesn’t go and rather gets mixed with the scent. Not to mention the high smelling ability of cats.
When cats use the litter box, they leave their scents by marking it as their own territory. But if there’s any plug-in, sprinkle type air freshener present around, or the scented litter is used, cats will feel stressed. They would also be motivated to overmark territories around the box with scented litter. Moreover, cats are abhorrent to some citrus fruits and their fragrances which are present in some air fresheners. In a nutshell, do not use any scents around your feline buddies and buying good cat litter is the way.
Put Them At Right Place
One of the biggest compromises you have to make is that you have to put litter boxes at socially important places. You don’t want to see your cat eliminating so you would want to put it in places you won’t have to see. For instance, placing poop boxes in the garage or under the washing machine. That’s wrong.
If they don’t see a litter box at their desired place, they might spray at different places in the house to mark them as their territories. So, it is a good idea to place a litter box where your cat has already sprayed.
In addition to this, never place a litter box near to a dishwasher or a washing machine which makes noise while operating. Your kitty will get freaked out and won’t use the box. Rather choose a quiet place. Place them in the rooms where your cat is allowed to be in. Also ensure that litter boxes are not near their bedding or food/water bowls.
If you’re using a litter box with a hood, do not put in a corner the way that one entrance is closed by the wall it’s placed against. When a cat is inside the box doing his business and if a child, another cat, or your dog comes in front of the box, your cat will feel ambushed inside and will associate negative feelings with the box. This will make problems worse.
No Camouflage Litter Boxes Are Needed
Many people want a litter box that’s a part of the cabinet. Well, your cat doesn’t need that privacy at all. If the cat had her way, she would eliminate in the bushes right in front of your door. So, don’t fall for those stylish, costly, cabinet litter boxes. Rather, you could invest money in building up cat furniture for your kitty for enrichment purposes.
How To Move Forward With Further Problems
Once you set up the litter boxes the right way and your cats are happy using them but suddenly they start eliminating outside the box. What should you do then? Well, you should start noting down everything and make a journal of it.
Like when your cat had sprayed or pooped outside the litter box, what changes have been made to the house, and mark those places with tape. This will help you to identify the pattern behind their spraying.
Cats get stressful when there are significant changes in their environment. Those changes may sound meager but are a big deal for cats. Some of these changes include the demise of a dear family member, children moving for college, moving to a new house, new feline or canine family members, etc. So take a note of all that, this will help your vet to identify the issue.
Moreover, the patterns of peeing can tell so many things. For instance, if your cat is peeing or spraying around the litter box, it indicates another pet cat or a dog is messing up with his litter box and she is spraying and telling them that litter box is his property. On the other hand, if the cat is marking at specific spots that are mostly on the boundary of the house, that is known as ‘perimeter marking’. And the reason behind this behavior is the felines present outside the house.
Your neighborhood cats or feral cats might be roaming around your house which makes your cat stressed about his territory. If everything is fine with your cat and he just eliminates in front of you then examine their pee and poop. This might be a sign from your cat that something is wrong with his health like he’s having a UTI or stones, etc.
The End Note
You will have litter problems and there can be multiple reasons as to why they eliminate outside the box. The first and foremost condition is that you have to set up the litter box the right way. In most cases, wrongly placed litter boxes and other mistakes related to it are the reason behind your cat’s such behavior. And even after doing that right, if the behavior does not change, you should contact your vet for your cat’s health checkup that mostly includes bloodwork and urinalysis. Don’t forget to note down everything about your cat’s eliminating outside the box. That will help in diagnosing the issue.