7 Litter Box Secrets
I want to talk about 7 secrets to prevent your cat from urinating outside the litter box. Before I begin it is important to understand that there could be medical issues that can cause your cat to urinate outside the litter box ( ie: UTIs, kidney stones, stress, anxiety, etc.) if you’re concerned take your cat to the vet to rule out these causes.
1. Only Use Unscented Litter
Your cat has 200 million scent receptors vs a mere 56 million in humans. Cats are very sensitive to scents. If you’re using scented litter or deodorizers you might as well be telling your cat to stay way from the litter box. Cats are typically not fond of pine or citrus scents. Therefore, to prevent your cat from relieving themselves in a location other than their litter box, try placing citrus air fresheners in said location.
2. Avoid Negative Reinforcement
If you come home to find that your cat urinated on your bed don’t yell at your cat and push their face into their urine. Negative reinforcement does not work and will only increase the cat's anxiety and stress which could potentially cause them to urinate outside the box.
Cats are not humans; they do not need privacy to use the bathroom. Litter boxes should be placed in socially significant areas. If you’re placing the litter boxes in the basement/ laundry room the probability of your cat using the bathroom in other areas of your house is going to increase. Let’s make it easy and convenient for your cat to use the bathroom; place litter boxes in the bedroom and living room. If you noticed that your cat is pooping on the floor in the living room try placing the litter box in that location. Do not place a litter box near your laundry room as the sound of the laundry machine can scare your cat & it could condition your cat to be afraid to use the litter box.
4. How Many Litter Boxes Do You Need?
A general guideline to follow is you need one more litter box than you have cats. For example, if you have 2 cats the recommended amount of litter boxes you require is 3. Remember the litter box helps defines your cat’s territory, by placing more litter boxes in your home you help your cats co-habitat more peacefully. Cats may have a preference of which litter box to use however cats do not solely use one specific litter box. It is important to remember that cats mark their territory by urination. Having more litter boxes in your home spreads the scent of your cats throughout your house; thus creating more familiarity among your pets.
5. Do Not Overfill The Litter Box
Older or heavier cats can sink into the litter box. It could create a more difficult time for them to get out. Long-haired cats dislike the feeling of litter against the hair on their upper legs and buttocks. Cats have sensitive hair follicles and it could irritate and/or tickle your cat.
6. Choosing The Right Litter Box
Generally, cats like uncovered litter boxes. It provides them with more space and room. Using a covered or a “dome” litter box can deter a cat from wanting to enter due to the size/space limitations in the closed environment.
7. Clean The Litter Box
Do not over-clean the litter box and sanitize it weekly. As previously mentioned, cats have 200 million scent receptors and if you’re disinfecting the litter box weekly you’re telling your cat to stay away by washing away it’s scent. Once a month you can completely empty out the litter box and clean it with hot water.
Hopefully these 7 secrets can help you and your cat thrive together!