What could be more frustrating for an indoor cat owner than litter box mishaps? Quite often it’s cats who have habitual litter box accidents that end up in shelters due to their owner’s desperation! When a cat steadfastly refuses to use the litter box, it means there might be an underlying reason or problem, so potty training your cat, or in other words toilet training your cat, may be the way to go. You may find that some cats that aren’t litter box trained or don’t enjoy using the litter box can be very difficult to clean. Before you go down this route, you may need to figure out the reasons why the cat isn’t using the litter box.
A major reason cats refuse to use the litter box is that it is dirty. Most cats are very picky about cleanliness, and you may find that they wrinkle their nose at a dirty litter box and refuse to use it, even if they’ve only used the litter box once. One of the first things to check when you spot an “accident” is the litter box – make sure it’s not dirty.
Depending on how many cats you own, you may find the problem of not having enough litter boxes. Cats love their own space and privacy, especially when it comes to using the litter box, so every cat should have at least one litter box. In fact, some vets recommend two litter boxes per cat as a form of stress relief measure, although that would be beyond most people’s idea of a stress-free life for themselves! Imagine the daily hassle of cleaning two litter boxes per cat!
Accidents can happen because you may be using the wrong type of bedding. Some of our feline friends are particularly picky about the smell and texture of a certain type of litter. Also, certain types of litter are very dusty, which can cause problems for some cats.
Also, litter box shapes and sizes are known to cause some litter box accidents. Some cats may prefer the privacy of an enclosed litter box, but some kittens or older cats may have trouble getting in and out of this type of litter box. Keep track of your cat’s activities on a litter box and you may be able to gauge what specific litter box your cat needs.
If you think none of the above explanations apply to your cat, there could be an underlying health issue causing the litter box accidents. The cat may have a urinary tract infection, kidney problems, bladder problems or even diabetes. Visit your local vet so they can examine your cat and if a problem arises, medication can be prescribed for it.
If your cat has a litter box accident, make sure you clean the area thoroughly afterwards to remove any unpleasant smells. If you don’t do this, you will find that the cat will return to that particular area out of habit as it can recognize the smells and associate the area as the toilet room.
Another reason your cat may have stopped using a litter box may be unrelated to any of the above. In fact, there can be no underlying problem at all. The cat may be “staking out” its territory, and these occurrences can be especially true in multi-cat households or households that have just introduced a new pet.
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