Hope for Kitties with Litter Box Issues

Photo courtesy of the AAFP
Photo courtesy of the AAFP

Kitty bathroom problems are among the leading causes of cats being relinquished to shelters, and euthanized.

But there’s hope thanks to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, which has just released a comprehensive free brochure to help kitty parents to proactively resolve this most frustrating issue.

Established in 1971, the AAFP consists of veterinarians who specialize in treating kitties, and is dedicated to improving the standards of feline health care.

The brochure “Feline House Soiling: Useful Information for Cat Owners” contains comprehensive info about the whys and hows of kitty litter box problems, along with numerous tips for getting cats to go where they’re supposed to go.

Why Cats Soil

The brochure points out that there are key reasons why cats go outside of their litter boxes:

  • Environmental and social factors
  • Marking behavior
  • Medical issues, such as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

The latter is an inflammatory condition of the bladder, which can cause pain when doing wee wee, and can be aggravated by stress. Indeed, stress and environmental factors, such as a move or home remodeling, are leading causes of cat bathroom problems.

Some Remedies for Litter Box Issues

There are a number of ways to get cats who have soiling issues to use the litter box.

One is location, location, location. As such, it’s important to locate boxes in areas that are quiet and uncluttered, situated away from high traffic parts of the home and are not in the vicinity of the cats’ food.

I currently keep my cats’ litter box in a nook in my laundry room. When I lived in an apartment in Philadelphia with limited space with my late cat, Daisy, I bought an attractive hooded box that I kept next to the toilet in my bathroom, which she liked just fine.

Use the Best Litter and Boxes

In my opinion, natural litters are best. Not only can these aid in resolving litter box problems, these also are far healthier for cats, and the environment.

I suggest avoiding clumping and clay-based litters, and those that contain fragrances and synthetic chemicals.

I use a combination of Cedarific, a lightweight, fluffy cedar wood chip product, along with Fresh Air, which is composed of zeolite, a sand-like mineral that occurs in volcanic rock.

It’s also important to use the right kinds of litter boxes. Vets in the know suggest using large boxes in which kitties can stretch out and do their business in comfort, and multiple boxes for multi-cat households.

As my boy cat Murphy has sloppy bathroom habits – he flings the litter all over the place – I use a high-sided box and one with a rim around the edge.

In addition, cleanliness is key. Cats are very clean by nature. So it’s very important to keep their litter boxes tidy. Remove solid waste immediately, and change the litter frequently.

Work with Your Vet

If all else fails, you should consult with your vet to determine the causes and cures for your cats’ bathroom problems.

Your vet will first and foremost want to rule out any medical issues a cat may have. If that’s not the case, a vet who is knowledgeable about cat behavior can assist in coming up with possible solutions.

In the meantime, you can download this and other helpful brochures that deal with kitty health and behavior on the AAFP website by clicking here.

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