Cats once properly trained to use their litter boxes which self cleans itself, are quite happy with the accommodations. Sometimes, cats do tend to miss the mark and avoid their litter boxes. Though there may be health or behavioral issues that are most commonly associated with the sudden change, a closer look, into the following few points might help you put your finger on it. And the sooner, the better!
Litter box issues
Before we begin to address the health and behavior issues that might make your kitty leave her litter box, let’s take a look at the box in itself. Cats are very sensitive to change and can easily be put off if not adapted gradually. For instance, if you’ve decided to move to a different part of the country, and your usual brand of litter is unavailable, the new litter being suddenly introduced might not be taken very well. Scented, unscented, coarse, fine, or pellet textures might also cause a problem in picky cats. In another scenario, the litter box may be changed to a new or automatic type, or the location of the box in the house may be different. All these factors could cause your furry pet to avoid or boycott the litter box.
New Family members
Whether they are new humans introduced to the family, like a new life partner, or a baby, or even relatives staying over, or the introduction of a new pet, cats are naturally suspicious, territorial, and wary. They tend to be on guard and may avoid their litter boxes as a sign of protest or rebellion. To assert their dominance, cats may even start scent marking various objects outside of their litter box, such as curtains, couches, and carpets. It’s essential to have proper socialization activities in place, before introducing cats to new comers. According to your kitty, she lived here first and is the lord of her castle!
If your home has more than one cat, litter boxes may be too small to share. According to the per cat behavior expert, Jackson Galaxy, the number of litter boxes should be one more than the number of cats in each residence.
Health and temperament:
Coming to the most common reason why cats ignore litter box use, is probably due to their age or health. Older cats do tend to have joint issues, just like senior humans. Arthritis, muscle pain, especially in larger and heavier breeds of cats may cause the animal discomfort in getting in and out of the box. In these situations, ramps and mats could come in handy if the litter box elevated. Pregnant or in heat cats may have a phase of not using the litter box. This could be due to inconvenience or the need to want to attract prospective males or look for females. When it comes to behavior and temperament related issues, one might need to consider cat breeds as well. Active and agile breeds may consume more water and more food as they may metabolize faster. Such animals need clean litter boxes often. Cats which tend to be more relaxed and sedentary could probably make do with once-a-day litter disposal.
Though cats tend to love using their litter boxes, there might be circumstances that cause them to lapse. It’s important to not get worried about the situation and reprimand your pet. Investigating why your cat is behaving differently is the key to find the right solution. At the end of the day, keeping our pets happy isn’t just a responsibility, but a privilege.