Out-of-Litter-Box Issues are still the Biggest Problem for Cat Owners

I’m so glad people have written in with out-of-litter-box problems, since this the main reason people give up on their kitties. Everybody who writes me with kitty questions gets a coupon for a free Comfort Zone pheromone diffuser, which for many cats helps to lower their stress and aid in reducing cat behavior problems.

I had help with some of the these questions from Gina at Dr. Elsey’s, the privately-owned litter and cat food company that prints and gives away 1.5 million “Litterbox Solutions” booklets every year!

From Kim in Portland, Oregon:

My male cat is now 12, he scoots across the carpet each time he leaves the litter box after pooping. The vet cannot tell me why or how to help him. The area is not red or inflamed. He’s been doing this for about 6 months. I currently just clean the carpet each time.

Has your vet checked the kitty or only spoken to you on the phone? The cat needs to have his anal glands checked. He could be constipated. Has he been regularly wormed, because he might even have parasites. It sure sounds like he’s very uncomfortable — and if he keeps scooting like that he will get irritated! A thorough vet exam should turn up the reason why.

From Manuela in Middle Village, NY:

My 16 year old cat has decided to not use her litter box for urinating. Only for poop. Not just on the floor but on the furniture and my bed. I haven’t changed her litter put a second litter box and isn’t helping. Can you help?”

First you have to rule out a medical reason with a trip to the vet. Your kitty should be checked for a UTI, because if she has a urinary tract infection it can burn whens he pees — she associates that pain with the litter box so avoids it.

In her older years she may also have turned into one of those cats who likes a separate box for pee and poop. We recommend you get two new litter boxes (remove any association with the old one) and put them nearby each other but not side by side- so the kitty can decide what she wants to do in which box! Definitely change the litter to Cat Attract litter, which does just what its name says! Also, clean up the area around the old box so there is no remaining odor. Do not use a household cleaning product, especially not one with ammonia — use a specialized animal clean up product, Dr. Elsey’s Urine Removal Program being very effective.

Or is the problem behavioral/emotional?  Has something changed in the household? New pets — or pets who have gone?  Has someone left the home, or have there been new people coming in, a lot of activity? Any of that can upset the cat who shows her discomfort with elimination.

From Rob in Brooklyn NY:

“My cat sometimes goes outside the litter box on wee wee pads. How can I make her go in the litter box every time?”

The first thing you need to do is remove the pee pads!! Why are you giving her another option of where to relieve herself?! Get Dr. ELsey’s Urine Removal Program to clean up the area where you had them and remove the odor that will otherwise still be there. Next, throw away the old litter box (we all keep boxes far too long). Buy two new litter boxes, placing them in different areas of the house where the cat can comfortably get to them. The rule of thumb is to always have one litter box per cat, plus one for the house and since you seem to have a solo cat, you’ll need two boxes. Next, fill the boxes an inch or two with Cat Attract litter. Follow instructions on the bag about how deep to put it in the box (many people make the layer of litter uncomfortably thick). Lastly, when you redeem your coupon for a free Comfort Zone diffuser, plug it in where your cat spends most of her time — do not plug in right next to the box(es).

—Tracie Hotchner

(Have a comment? Share it on Facebook.)

Comfort Zone and Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat are sponsors on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

photo credit: jfingas Niamh in repose via photopin (license)