Having litter box woes? I have made many litter box mistakes and have had to work to find solutions that would be right for me and my cats. Perhaps a few of my solutions could work for you too!
Title Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay
Litter Box Mistake #1: I didn’t recognize an illness.
I did a lot of learning with my first cat, Obi-Wan. He was a great cat, but one day he started peeing on my furniture. It was so frustrating and confusing. He would poop in the litter box and sometimes he would pee there, but much of the time he would pee on my couch or my loveseat. I thought it was some kind of a behavior issue and tried all kinds of deterrents on the couch. Nothing stopped Obi-Wan from peeing on the furniture.
My Solution: I took Obi-Wan to the veterinarian on advice from a friend. It turned out that Obi-Wan had crystals in his bladder and he needed treatment to stop peeing everywhere. The treatments really helped and Obi-Wan would use the litter box faithfully after having them.
Litter Box Mistake #2: I put the litter box where I wanted it.
When I moved into the 1-bedroom apartment that I now live in, I brought along Cinco and Manna, two already adult cats. Naturally, I wanted to place the litter box somewhere out of sight, so I placed it in the walk-in closet in my bedroom. The cats had no problem with this litter box placement.
After a couple of weeks, I noticed that the cats started peeing on the carpet near the front door of my apartment. My first thought was that it was a reaction to anxiety. I tried some anxiety remedies and the cats seemed calmer, but they would still pee near the door. I also used a lot of cleaners to get rid of the urine smell so that they would not be as likely to keep coming back to that same place. Still, my cats persisted in peeing right inside my front door.
My solution: I placed a litter box near the door where the cats had been urinating. It’s not an ideal litter box placement to me, but since I’ve placed the litter box there, the cats use it and not my carpet. They haven’t peed on that spot on the carpet since then. Apparently, the cats wanted a litter box near the front door. So now we have a litter box in the bedroom closet and a litter box near the front door.
I understand that a litter box near the front door may not work for everyone. You could start by trying to place the litter box where your cat wants it. See if that changes your cat’s behavior. Then after a few days, slowly, a few inches at a time move the litterbox to a place that is more acceptable to you.
Litter Box Mistake #3: I let the litter box get too dirty.
This mistake takes little explanation. I think that this is one of the litter box mistakes that many cat owners make. Sometimes life gets really busy and it is easy to make the litter box a lower priority than it needs to be. There have been times when I have deemed the litter box to be “not that dirty” and have still found the cats peeing or pooping outside of the litter box.
My Solution: Clean the litter box until the cat thinks it is clean. Humans don’t like to use stinky port-a-potties and cats don’t like to use stinky litter boxes. Cats like to be clean. Sometimes this means scooping the box every single time you see something in the litter box. The important thing is that the litter box feels clean enough to use to your cat.
Another solution that I’ve used is to use a self-cleaning litter box (I’ll place a link at the bottom of this blog post). These litter boxes sense when the cat has used the litter box and after waiting a little time, they scoop the litter into a designated area. I tried one of these out for a review I did for this blog and the cats and I loved it. These litter boxes aren’t for every cat, but it works wonders with my cats.
Litter Box Mistake #4: I used the wrong cat litter.
With the reviews I do on this blog, I try a lot of different cat litters with my cats. They are great sports about it and they really like most of the litters that we have tried. However, I did try one litter that my cats absolutely would not use. It was a litter made out of pine pellets. My cats took one whiff of the pine and would not go near that litterbox.
My Solution: I found a very simple solution to this litter box mistakes like this one- just change cat litters. I took away the pine litter and gave them back the litter that they liked and would use. Sometimes, you start out giving your cat a litter that they don’t like. There are lots of kinds of litter, don’t give up. However, understand that your cat has to be the one that calls the shots on which litters are good and which ones are not.
Litter Box Mistake #5: I didn’t use enough cat litter.
My Dexter has a very unique personality that is all his own. We have found that from time to time, we would go to the litter box in the closet and find that he had pulled our clothes off of the shelving and put them into his litter box. This behavior perplexed us for a little while. Then we realized, we weren’t using enough cat litter in the litter box.
My solution: We started adding what we felt to be “an extra layer” of cat litter. Dexter wanted to dig to China and if he didn’t feel like he had the ability to bury his poop the way he wanted to, he added our clothes as an extra layer over the top. When we fill the litter box correctly, Dexter leaves our clothes alone.