WKRN in Nashville runs a Pet Doc segment that speaks to all kinds of pet issues. Getting kitty to use the litter box can be a struggle for some families. Reporter Nikki Burdine spoke with Dr. Staci Cannon, Metro Animal Care and Control, who shared the following insights into dealing with what can be a challenging problem.
There’s a problem, so first things first
Nikki: OK, so what do they [pet owners speaking to their vets who are frustrated with cats not using the litter box] do?
DSC: OK, first of all, we want to rule out a medical problem. Cats can develop inflammation or irritation in their bladder or urinary tract and they can even have some arthritis if they are a little older, it can make it hard for them to maneuver in and out of the litter box. A veterinary exam is really important to rule out these medical causes if they are not using their litter box.
Additionally to that, there are a lot of environmental things that can affect cats and their desire to use the litter box. So, things to think about are the placement of the litter box. If it’s in a high traffic area, or maybe it’s near the washing machine or the laundry room that can be loud and that can startle the cat if something comes on while they are in the litter box. Or if you have other pets in the home like a dog that is constantly waiting outside the litter box for the cat to leave, that can be distracting to the cat.
Location, location, location…it does matter
Placement is important. Also making sure the litter box is clean. Cats are pretty fastidious. Cats would like to use a clean bathroom. So scooping that box out every day, keeping it clean is really important to ensure they want to use it.
The pick of the litter
The last thing sometimes is the litter itself. Choosing a litter that is not averse to the cats. There is a lot of different options out there. You have seen the scented litters, crystals in the litter. All of these different things. Sometimes it means the cat has just developed an aversion to the actual substance, so trying a different type of litter can help as well.