Lately I’ve had quite a few conversations about litter boxes! While every household is unique, and every cat is unique, here are some common issues I see.
1 – NOT ENOUGH The number of litter boxes in the house should equal the number of cats +1
. That is the number to prevent social issues from interfering with bodily functions. Obviously, do not place them all in the same room, but spread throughout the house. Even if you have one cat, two boxes is ideal.
2 – NO EASY ACCESS If every time you had to pee, you had to run down a mountain of stairs, navigate a dark basement, and climb a wall just to get to a bathroom, would you consider finding alternatives? While most cats have a strong desire to use a litter box, those with even minor medical issues can find this to be an impediment. If your cat sometimes potties outside the litter box, consider putting one on the main living floor.
3 – TOO TALL This applies primarily to older cats, who tend to be stiff and arthritic. The 4-6 inch edge of the litter box may not seem like much to us, but when your joints hurt, that can be a big deal! It’s important to offer senior cats a litter box with a low edge for easy entry.
4 – COVERED VS OPEN Some cats love the covered boxes, others hate them. These boxes often have a taller lip (see number 3) which may be a hindrance for older cats. When in doubt, offer one of each to provide your cat with options.
Bottom line – these are more preventative tips to avoid litter box issues, but if your cat has a medical problem, these are not a cure. If your cat frequently urinates outside the litter box, he or she needs to be seen by a vet. Some cats are helped by pain medication, special diets, anti-anxiety meds, or a variety of other treatments.