Skip to main content

North Hills Monthly

Litterboxes: Setting Up for Success

Aug 30, 2019 05:37PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

By Suzanne Denk, Animal Enrichment Specialist, Animal Friends

Litterbox success starts with a setup that is appealing and stress-free for your cat. Note that if your cat is having litterbox issues, a visit to the veterinarian is always recommended.

There are plenty of ways to set your cat up for success:

Cats love a clean box! If you scooped your cat’s litterbox after each use, they would be thrilled. But, scooping daily–or multiple times a day if possible– is a great start.

• Provide at least two litterboxes in different areas of your home. The rule of thumb for your home is one box per cat plus one.

• The location of the boxes should be convenient for your cat to use. A litterbox that is tucked away in the back corner of the basement next to the furnace is not appealing to cats.

Always use the same type of litter. Most cats do not like new litter brands or heavily scented litters.

• Cats are very sensitive to smells, so litterboxes should be washed weekly. If there are deep scratches in the plastic, the box may need to be replaced. Scratches can hold scents and your cat may think the box is dirty.

Do not use covered litterboxes, particularly if you have multiple cats in your home. Not only do covered boxes trap odors (which cats do not like), but they impede their vision, making them feel vulnerable. In a multi-cat home, covered boxes add stress because a cat using a covered box might be surprised by the unexpected entrance of their feline sibling. If this happens, the cat may even refuse to use the box at all.

• Watch for the other cats in your home who may be blocking the path to the litterbox. This is a frequent cause for one cat to stop using the box in a household with multiple cats. From their point of view, another cat reclining casually in the pathway to the litter box is an intimidation move. Multiple litterboxes in various areas of the home can easily resolve this issue.

Is the litterbox big enough? When accidents occur very close to the litterbox, it may mean that the cat is physically standing in the box but is positioned incorrectly because they don’t have enough space. Ensure that your cat’s litterbox is the appropriate size for them.

By following these tips and taking a thoughtful approach to your cat’s litterbox, you can help them successfully use it and even resolve common issues. Providing an environment that is comfortable for your cat is the first step in setting them up for litterbox success!