Cat Bathroom Etiquette

Kitty litter boxes

Does your cat need a little help with her bathroom manners? Is she going out of the box? Has he stopped using the litter box? Here are some helpful hints to help your feline friend with using the litter box:

  • Have you changed your type of kitty litter? Cats are not fans of change. Once cats are used to a certain type of litter, it may be difficult for them to change to another one. Cats also tend to prefer clumping litter. If you want to switch a different brand, slowly mix it in with your current litter over several weeks. Also, if you have various cats, they may prefer different types of litter. You may have to have different boxes with various litters to satisfy all of your cats.
  • Your cat may not like where the box is placed. Cats don’t want the litter box anywhere near where they eat. They prefer a quiet location, so they can’t be disturbed. Also, it is recommended to place the box near an escape route like a door or a cat tree, so your cat can exit quickly if something frightens them.
  • You may need a bigger box without a lid. Most cats like a large, open litter box. A cat should have a box that is one and a half times longer than their body length. Cats like to be able to see if anything dangerous is approaching, and a lid would block their view.
  • Your cat may not like the scented litter that you have chosen. Cats have an extremely keen sense of smell. Some smells may be too much for some cats and it can be sensory overload for them.
  • Your cat may also have a medical problem and it may be time to see a veterinarian. Your cat may have a Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Also, if your cat is older, he may have a hard time accessing the box.
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  • It may be time to buy some more boxes. It is recommended to have one box for every cat, plus one extra. This prevents the more aggressive cats from hoarding the box. Place a box on each floor of your house. This is especially important for kittens or older cats.
  • You may need to scoop the box more often. “People think if they put four or five inches of litter in a box, they won’t have to clean it that often, and that’s asking for trouble,” says John C. Wright, a professor of psychology who teaches applied animal behavior. “Most cats will tolerate a clump or two, but a bit more than that and they may decide to go right next to the box. Other cats seem to be clean freaks. If they’ve peed or another cat has urinated in the box, they won’t enter the box at all.”
  • It’s time to clean the box. Kitty litter boxes need to be cleaned regularly. Plastic retains odors, so even if you scoop the box daily, it still will smell after some time. Dump the litter and clean the box every week or two with warm water and a mild dishwashing detergent (no harsh-smelling chemicals.) After a year, consider getting a new litter box.
  • 4 Responses to “Cat Bathroom Etiquette”

    1. Steve says:

      Scoop and tidy up the litter box EVERY DAY minimum.

      Cats don’t like dirty litter boxes. They can’t clean the litter box themselves so you have to do it for them.

      An unkempt litter box is like us having to use an outhouse at some rural rest stop or campground that hasn’t been attended to for a week or longer.


    2. baby girl says:

      Clumping litter is suspected of causing hyperthyroidism. Also dangerous if cats lick it off and ingest it.

      I have switched to natural, biodegradeable litters — pine and cedar. They won’t lick those.

      I adjusted my cats from the clumping in one fell swoop. Don’t have the need for many different kinds of litter (who’s writing this advice, a pet food company?)

    3. Judy says:

      baby girl where did you hear that?

      My cat is hyperthyroid and she usually uses the scoop box, I do have two boxes for her. I have never heard this and it is frightening.

      I used to use Sweatscoop years ago until I found bugs and worms in a box and since the company never even offered me a replacement box I never used it again. Actually it was sickening and I wouldn’t have used it anyway but it would have been a nice guesture.

    4. SamS says:

      We have two cats (Mia and Leo) and two boxes. It seems that the two of them take turns poo-ing (bet never peeing) outside just near to the boxes. One will go in one of the boxes and then the other will go out. I don’t know if it is a first come agreement they have or what. We have tried everything - moved the boxes, changed the litter, three boxes. We scoop everyday - sometimes twice a day.

      The one thing I notice is that when we spend more time in the basement (where the boxes are) they actually poo out less.

      By the way, Leo is older, male and we had him first. Mia is younger and female and she came second and so I figure there must be territorial issues. But, if anyone has suggestions, I would love to hear them.

      ITCHMO ADMIN: SamS, try posting your question here:

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