How to Eliminate Annoying Litter Box Problems

The most common behavioral problem for which cat owners seek assistance is housesoiling. In fact, housesoiling is a leading cause of cats’ relinquishment to shelters.

 

 

There are three main causes of housesoiling in cats: underlying medical problems [e.g. feline lower urinary tract disease, or feline urologic syndrome (FLUTD/FUS)], urine marking, and toileting issues. Toileting problems can stem from a variety of causes, including factors unrelated to the litter box. So, it is always critical to get a comprehensive history to correctly identify the motivation for the problematic behavior.

By getting the latest scoop on litter, you will be better prepared to prevent and resolve litter- and litter-box-related toileting problems in your feline patients. Factors to consider include:

  • Litter fragrance
  • Odor control
  • Litter box size
  • Texture of the substrate material (such as clay, recycled newspaper, corn cob, wheat or other organic pellet material)
  • Location

Every cat has unique preferences, and the best way to identify an individual cat’s set of toileting preferences is to experiment with a variety of litter choices and box styles. This article focuses on new research related to litter and litter boxes that may be helpful in preventing and treating toileting problems.

Sources:

DVM 360 - March 1, 2009

American Veterinary Medical Association, U.S. pet ownership and demographics sourcebook. Schaumberg, Ill:AVMA, 2007.

Salman MD, Hutchison J, Ruch-Gallie R, et al. Behavioral reasons for relinquishment of dogs and cats to 12 shelters. J Appl Anim Welf Sci 2000;3(2):93-106.

Patronek GJ, Glickman LT, Beck AM, et al. Risk factors for relinquishment of cats to an animal shelter. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209(3):582-588.