Do you have “Declawed Cat Litter Box Problems”?
Has your cat started to experiencing some litter box issues? Has your friendly feline stopped using it altogether? Or perhaps are they are just having the occasional accident?
We take a look at litter box woes, small apartment issues and how you can help prevent inappropriate toileting in cats.
The top issue for many cat owners is toileting. However, it’s important to remember that your cat’s toileting behaviour could be an indication of a bigger problem. For this reason, all cats need to have a clean tick of health to ensure nothing sinister is occurring that is causing your beloved pet to toilet outside of the litter box. Bladder and kidney problems can cause your pet to toilet in other areas, as too, environmental triggers and stress.
With many cats now enjoying indoor life, using the litterbox consistently is a must. So, what are the main reasons cats stop using the litter box and opt for a less desirable location?
Declawed Cat Litter Box Problems
1. Location, Location, Location
Take a good look at the location of your kitty litter box. Is it out in the open or in a high traffic area? Or a spot that can be cut off, such as a bathroom or laundry? Ensuring you pick a nice quiet spot that your cat can access quickly and easily is important.
If you cannot avoid using a busy bathroom, consider using a hooded litter tray. These can offer your cat some privacy and peace while using the toilet. If your cat has never used a hooded tray before ensure you remove the door flap to get them used to the new enclosed space before adding it back a week or two later.
It’s also good idea to get a clear picture of the problem to help better understand why your cat is not using the tray. Ask yourself:
- Is the mess just outside the box or in a completely separate location?
- Is the mess on the floor or up the walls or doors?
- Is your cat exhibiting any other unusual behaviours?
- When did you first notice this problem occurring? Were there any dramatic changes in your pet’s environment? New home? New baby? New pet?
2. Declawed Cat Other Issues
There can be several reasons why a cat chooses to stop using its litterbox, including:
- Feeding Stations – cats do not like their water or food bowls close to their litter box. Consider feeding your pet in a separate location and away from the litter tray.
- Multi-Cat Homes – if you have more than one cat, the general rule of thumb is a litter tray for each cat. Keep these in different locations so your cats have plenty of options to toilet correctly.
- Clean Litter Often – cats do not like dirty litter trays and will understandably find somewhere else to potty if the litter is unbearable to scratch and prepare. They need to be cleaned daily and spot cleaned if you notice any nasty smells.
- Anxiety – cats are highly territorial animals. If your pet has experienced any change, such as a new home, or a new family member it could cause them to start urinating inappropriately.
- The Litter – have you recently changed your litter? Like with food, a litter change needs to be slow and very gradual.
- Age – if you have an older cat you may consider additional litterboxes.
- Kittens – If you have a new kitten and they seem to just be missing the litter box, it’s a good idea to watch them as they use the tray. Many kittens will hang themselves over the edge of the box or get so caught up in all the scratching and turning they poke themselves out of the ramp. Hooded trays are perfect for kittens. Just ensure you keep the door off until they are big enough to push through.
3. Is My Cat Marking/Spraying?
For some cat owners, this can be a massive problem that needs urgent attention. If you are noticing a distinct aroma of cat urine around your home, it may be an indication that your cat is marking. Cats mark by backing up on specific surfaces and spray a line of concentrated urine to mark their territory.
It’s very important to understand that cats who typically exhibit this type of behaviour are normally very stressed. They will continue to use the litter tray but will spray or mark around your home. Surrounding themselves with their ‘scent’ is comforting and can help your feline feel safe. Veterinary intervention from a behavioural specialist is vital.
Common triggers for spraying:
- Change of home or environment
- Outside stress
- New cat or new family member
- Feeling insecure in their environment
Marking/spraying can be a complex behavioural problem. However, you must seek professional advice as soon as you notice this change. The longer you leave it, the worst it will get. Research suggests that early intervention can help solve territorial marking.
Treatment may include mood modifying drugs. Cat owners are also encouraged to find the reason why their pet is territorial marking and try and eliminate the problem as quickly as possible. Drug treatment raises the threshold of the anxiety causing the behaviour, however, without hard work and understanding of your cat’s environment and triggers, it will not 100% solve the problem.
Surveys conducted on the resolutions of cat behaviour problems show a 60% success rate. The key is that treatment must be sort quickly and owners must be prepared to adjust the environmental triggers alongside possible medication. Commitment from owners is paramount for success.
4. New Tech Helping Cat Owners
If you simply hate cleaning the litter tray perhaps consider investing in a new high-tech box! There are now self-cleaning trays available to cat owners that can scoop, clean, and refill. Some can even track how often your cat is using the litter tray!