Litter box issues, although preventable, are one of the top reasons cats are brought to shelters. Watch this video to learn some tips on how to improve your cat's use of the litter box.
Litter box issues are one of the top reasons cats are relinquished to shelters. But most issues are easily preventable. These tips will help you establish healthy litter box habits that will keep your cat happy. The rule of thumb is to provide one litter box per cat plus one additional box. In a multi-cat household, never place litter boxes side by side. Place each litter box in a private area where your cat can go potty in peace and quiet. If you're Introducing a kitten or a newly adopted adult cat to her litter box, initially confine her to one room and show her where the litter box is located. You can encourage your cat to use her litter box by gently putting her in it. When no longer confined, relocate your cat's litter box to a private, low traffic area. Never place your cat's food or water bowls near her litter box. Also avoid noisy spaces such as the laundry room or garage. Climbing stairs may be painful for a senior cat, so provide at least one per level in your house. Also look for a litter box that has a low entrance. There are several varieties of litter available, including scented or unscented litter, made of clay, corn, recycled newspaper, or silica gel crystals. You should initially use whatever litter your cat was using before you brought her home. Most cats prefer unscented litter. If your cat is fussy about going into her litter box, try a different type of litter until you find one she likes. But transition from old to new slowly over a period of 10 days. Choose a litter box made of durable plastic so it's easy to clean. A small litter box works for kittens, but adult cats, especially Maine Coons, require the largest size available. A covered litter box can help contain odors and give your cat privacy from other pets or children. However, your cat may prefer to see what's around her while using the litter box. An open litter box is easier to clean, but you might see more litter scattered around the box. Your cat should be able to comfortably step inside, turn around, scratch, and squat, without touching the sides of her litter box. Cats are very clean animals, so they expect their litter boxes to be kept in pristine condition. A dirty litter box is unhygienic and also a primary reason why a cat won't use it. Scoop your cat's litter at least once a day. More often, if possible. Once a month, thoroughly clean the box with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Replace your cat's litter box periodically, since plastic materials absorb odors over time. Using a litter disposal system next to the litter box is a convenient way to get rid of daily waste and trap odors. If your cat repeatedly relieves herself outside of her box or if you notice any issues with her using the litter box, notify your veterinarian immediately to rule out any medical issues. A clean litter box is one of the keys to a happy, healthy cat.