Posted by: | November 21, 2011

Cats and Litter Boxes


As great pet owners, we want nothing but the best for our pet kids.  We always wonder if there is anything more we can do to help them, or to improve their quality of life.

House Soiling is a common issue for cat owners.

House soiling can be urine spraying, or urinating/defecating outside of the litter box.  There are actually many different reasons why this may occur.  As with any behavioral issue, before it can be corrected we must understand WHY this is happening.

One popular misconception is that cats do this out of revenge or spite to punish their owner.  Contrary to popular belief, your cat does not lie awake at night thinking of ways to torment you.  Also, cats do not consider their urine or feces to be disgusting, as we humans do.  Some cat behaviorists believe that cats are actually fond of their excrement, and think of it as a complementary gift they may be leaving you.

Why does this happen?

As with any issue, we must first rule out any possible medical condition.  You may need to consult your veterinarian on this matter.  Liver, kidney and thyroid diseases often result in increased water consumption and excessive urination.  Inflammation of the colon or rectum, intestinal parasites, tumors, and other gastrointestinal conditions may cause increased urgency to defecate, or decreased control of defecation.

Age may also play a factor in this issue.  Older cats may suffer from arthritis or muscular disease which may affect a cat’s mobility.  If your cat has a litter box with large walls, it may be more of a painful challenge to use.

Get your cat’s approval

Cats can be picky.  Your cat will need to approve his/her litter box options.  Most cats prefer a non-scented litter.  If the cat finds the scent unpleasant, it may not want to use the litter box.  Another consideration is the texture of the litter.  Some cats prefer non-clumping or a fine texture.  The litter may get stuck in their paws which can annoy or frustrate the cats.

On average, a cat will visit the litter box five times per day.  For the best results, scoop the litter box at least once daily and change the litter out every five to seven days.  Most cats prefer an uncovered box which will let odors escape as opposed to holding them in.  It also may help to replace the litter box every year.


One of the most important rules is to have enough litter boxes.  There should always be one more litter box than cats.  One cat should have 2 boxes, Two cats 3 boxes, etc.  For multi-level homes, there should be a litter box on each floor of the home.  You don’t want to give any excuses for your cat to not use the litter box.

Location, Location, Location

Make sure the litter box is placed in a pleasant area.  Choose a low-traffic area which is private, quiet, separate from their feeding area and easily accessible.

Use the right amount of litter

The recommended amount is three to four inches of litter.  You don’t want your cat swimming in it or turned off by not having enough.  Overall, you want your cat to be comfortable.

Soiling can be a frustrating and common issue with cats.  Remember, screaming at or punishing your cat may only lead to anxiety and will most likely increase the issue instead of resolving it.

Click here to contact us with feedback or any questions you may have.

Thanks for caring!

Tim Heise
– Certified Pet Care Specialist
Absolute Pet Care, LLC
Scottsdale, AZ


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