Vet’s Corner with Dr. Tiva
Litter box Problems 101
Accidents happen, but some cats like to make it a habit of going outside the litter box. This is most often due to a behavioral problem, not a medical one. Many cats are sensitive to either the social climate of the house or have an issue with the litter box itself. Cats with a social issue will often pee or poop in the middle of an important space, such as a bed, couch, or blanket. This is a stress response as the cats feel threatened in their home. This can be due to fighting with other pets, children, and/or other disruptions in the home.
Cats with litter box-related issues tend to hide their pee in a corner, behind furniture, in closets, etc. These cats are looking for a litter box alternative and are trying to cover their tracks. This can be due to a litter box in an awkward place that is scary or hard to reach, such as in basement, near a washing machine, or if another cat is guarding the box. Always make sure there are boxes on each floor of your house (if multiple story) and there are always more boxes than cats. Cats can also be picky if the box is dirty, too small, or if the cat doesn’t like the litter. Many cats don’t like covered litter boxes, strong smelling litters or litter additives, automatic litter boxes, or liners.
If your cat is going outside the box, troubleshoot by making sure the litter box itself is clean, large, and accessible. Make sure that your cat is able to go the bathroom in peace and isn’t disturbed by others. If your cat cries or yowls when peeing, strains to pee, or pees blood please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the cause.