ABC-Animal - Behavior Chronicle

Your Cat’s Avoiding the Litter Box! Why ?

You’re cat’s avoiding the litter box and making a mess in the house! What’s the problem? Have you changed your environment or introduced a new pet lately? Are you finding the situation hard to handle and even thinking about euthanasia? Consult your vet quickly, because the cause could be physical, environmental or behavioural and could require medication.

Whether determined or temperamental, the domestic cat knows how to get what it wants. If you ignore its requests, it could modify its behaviour to make you understand, such as taking care of business outside the litter box! And if your pet enjoys it, you’ll see how stubborn he can be!!! If health tests show that he’s in great shape, maybe kitty is protesting because he simply doesn’t appreciate YOUR way of managing HIS litter box.

Good Litter and Box
* Choose good litter (fine granules, soft, dust-free) and the right kind of litter box (as large as possible and without a cover, which cats hate because they imprison odours!).
* Avoid adding deodorizers.
* Put the litter box in a calm area, away from the cat’s water and food.
* EVERY DAY, remove feces and urine.
* Change the litter as needed (once a week or once a month, depending on the type of litter), because after a while it will smell of urine, which kitty detests.
* Wash the litter box with a mild soap or dishwashing liquid. Avoid using products containing bleach or ammonia.
* Finally, provide 1 more litter box than the number of cats in your home.

In Brief
If kitty is still protesting despite your efforts, consult your vet, who will help you solve this behavioural problem. Some cats need medication or pheromone-based products placed in the environment. It’s worth thinking about, because your cat is not simply being temperamental!

Dominique Giroux, D.V.M.
Sainte-Foy Feline Vet Clinic
Québec, Canada