Basic Care - Elimination outside litter box
Environmental changes to help cats who urinate outside the litter box
- Try to determine if your cat recently encountered a stressful event. Stress factors may include changes in temperature, in the environment of the cat (moving, arrival of a new animal or family member), changes in its diet or feeding schedule, changes in the type of litter, etc.
- Provide one litter box per cat in the house, plus one. The size of the litter box is very important: it should be at least as long as the full length of the cat (nose to tip of the tail) and as wide as the cat’s body. Large clear storage bins make great litter boxes).
- Keep the litter box in a quiet area. Avoid highly active and loud areas, as well as areas with lots of activity. Try to place a litter box in a separate room for the affected cat (a room where the other cats or animals do not have access) and to have one box on each floor of the house.
- Do not use covered litter boxes.
- Do not use scented litters, or fine granules (all cats do not like the same type of litter). If you are unsure which type of littler your cat likes, you can try a few and let him or her choose.
- Clean the litter every day and change the sand frequently. The boxes should be washed once a month with cold water and bleach diluted 1 in 50 (10 minutes of contact).
- Keep the food and water bowls in a calm area that is far from windows, air ducts or ventilators, etc. Keep the bowls far from the litter box.
- Give more space to the affected cat, and give it a chance to be “a cat”. Cats are independent creatures who like being in control. Cats prefer having their own room, where there is a scratching post, their food and water bowls as well as their litter box. Provide toys that your cat can chase and catch, and adequate places for it to scratch its nails.
- Any changes to the daily routine of the cat, including dietary changes, must be made very slowly.
- There are aerosol products available that your veterinarian may recommend to try to reduce the “environmental stress” that your cat is suffering from (Feliway ®). These aerosols may be used close to the litter box, food and water bowls, and areas that your cat may like to go. They also exist in as a plug-in diffuser device.
- Apart from managing the litter box, you should try to manage the whole environment by adding lots of hiding spots and different shelves so the cat has access to higher up places.
- A veterinary exam should be performed to make sure your cat does not suffer from a medical problem that could cause the innapropriate urinations. Your veterinarian may also recommend some medications for your cat if a more complex behavior problem is diagnosed.
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