One of the best things about cats is that they are predictably unpredictable. Once you decide to share your life (and your home) with one or more of them, it doesn’t take long to realize that each one has their own unique little personality — and quirks. And for the most part, those quirks lead to lots of laughs and just make us love them all the more.
One area where no cat parent wants to experience unpredictability, though, is the litter box. Having a kitty who refuses to use the litter box, or who uses it inconsistently, is one of the most frustrating issues any cat parent has to deal with.
Thankfully, many litter box issues have simple solutions. I recently had the chance to chat with Dr. Liz Bales (AKA the Catvocate) to uncover the secret to litter box success.
If you’re having trouble getting your kitty to use the litter box consistently, or if she was using it but then stopped for some reason, you’ll want to talk to your vet to rule out health concerns as the cause of kitty’s accidents. In cases where health isn’t an issue, one or more of the following tips may be your answer.
6 Litter Box Secrets Your Cat Wants You to Know
1. It’s not about what you want.
When you set up your cat’s litter box, it’s easy to think about what’s convenient for you. However, convenience goes right out the window if the box you choose doesn’t meet with your cat’s approval. If kitty doesn’t like using the box you provide, you’ll have to spend all kinds of time cleaning up “accidents.” A much better approach is to think about the litter box from your cat’s perspective .
2. Don’t cramp their style.
Most litter boxes are a little on the small side as far as cats are concerned. Sure, they fit inconspicuously into almost any corner, but cats don’t really like to be cramped or squished when they do their business. The ideal size is the length from your cat’s nose to the tip of her tail, plus another fifty percent.
3. Don’t cover it.
Cats have very sensitive noses, and a covered litter box just traps unpleasant odors. Can you really blame them for not wanting to spend any time in a dark, smelly enclosure?
4. Use the right amount of litter.
The ideal amount of litter is 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. It’s enough to feel soft on kitty’s paws, but not so much that they sink way in. Too much or too little litter and kitty may just decide to go elsewhere. You may want to use a ruler to measure the depth until you’re sure you can get it right.
And as long as we’re on the subject of litter, choosing the right kind can also make a huge difference. I never use anything but World’s Best Cat Litter. It’s a premium, natural litter made from corn, and it comes in several formulas to fit any cat family’s needs. I love that it’s 99% dust free and flushable, so clean up is a breeze.
5. Keep it clean.
Your cat wants a pristine litter box, and who could blame her? Keep kitty’s box clean and fresh by scooping it out twice a day and giving it a thorough cleaning (and new litter) at least once a month.
6. One litter box isn’t enough.
Many cats prefer a multi-box household. As a matter of fact, the rule of thumb is to have one box per cat in your family, plus one. So if you are a two cat house, you need to make room for three litter boxes.
When it comes right down to it, what our cats want from their litter boxes is pretty much the same as what we want from our bathroom. What matters the most is space, cleanliness, comfort, and privacy. Once we give them what they want, they’re usually happy to return the favor by doing their business right where we want them to!
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