It’s no secret that cats are picky about their litter boxes. In order to solve litter box problems, you have to get creative. Getting your cat’s litter box situation just right requires Goldilocks-level precision: not too big, but not too small; not too hidden, but not too public; not too covered, but not too open; not too this, and certainly not too that.
For a while now, we’ve been writing about how to both proactively create good litter box behavior and reactively solve litter box problems. If you have a question about litter boxes, we’re pretty confident you can find the solution in one of these helpful articles.
Start things off right.
Proper litter box use is one of—if not the—most important things you can teach your kitten. Elimination problems (going outside the litter box) is one of the most commonly cited reasons for giving up a cat. You can mitigate future problems by starting things off right.
Choose a litter that really works.
Choosing the right cat litter may seem complicated given the number of features and options out there, but we’ve narrowed down a few qualities to focus on. The trick is to do your research, but keep it simple. If a cat litter is good for your cat, good for the environment, and good for you, then it’s the right cat litter.
Uncover the truth about litter box styles.
We’re so used to chatting about our cats with friends and acquaintances, we often take their anecdotes as facts and forget to search for authoritative answers to our pet questions. Learn what the research says about whether cats prefer closed or open litter boxes.
Place the litter box where your cat will want to use it.
The goal is to make your limited space work for both of you, which means that the litter box should be out of the way, but easy to access. The apparent disadvantage of having less space in a small home isn’t necessarily so; the smaller the space, the more often you will see (and smell) the litter box, so the more likely you are to keep it clean—a win for both of you.
Stay on top of litter box problems.
If your indoor cat eliminates outside the box, it’s more than a mess to clean up, it’s a cause for concern. Urinating and defecating outside of the litter box can be a sign of mental distress, physical illness, or neglect. Let’s run down a list of problems associated with poor litter box habits and find out what you can do to solve them.
Get to the root of unusual litter box behavior.
Cats are known to do some peculiar things, but when they do something out of character—like hanging out or sleeping in the litter box—it’s time to figure out the problem so you can work on a solution.
Set up an appropriate litter box for your large cat.
Many litter box problems can be solved by providing the right number of the right-sized litter boxes. Give your large cat the right size and type of litter box to encourage good habits.
Keep up with your cat—things change as s/he ages.
As cats get older, physical, cognitive, and emotional changes can significantly reduce their abilities. You may find that what has always worked for the litter box is no longer what your cat needs or prefers. To find out how to help your cat overcome litter box problems as she ages, first you must pinpoint the causes.
Keep the dog out of the litter box.
For those of us who have both pet cats and dogs (that’s a whopping 54.6 million people in the U.S.), it can be an ongoing struggle to keep the dog out of the cat litter box. Fortunately, there are many solutions out there, but the trick is to stay consistent. If you’re one of the many people having this problem, try one of these five ways to dog-proof the cat litter box.
Get litter box help when you need it.
There are times when you won’t be able to scoop the litter box. One of those times is pregnancy. Learn what you can do to ensure a happy, healthy home for both you and your cat.
Keep your cat on track, even while traveling.
Traveling with cats can be a breeze or a nightmare, depending largely on your cat’s temperament. Understanding your travel litter box options can make the ride much easier for you and your cat. We’ve rounded up some great solutions for your cat on the go.