Highway 92 Animal Hospital

7831 Highway 92
Woodstock, GA 30189

(770)926-9467

hwy92ah.com

Litter Box Solutions: FIVE STEPS TO A HAPPY CAT HOUSEHOLD

1. Freshen Up

You don't like a dirty bathroom, and neither does your cat. Your cat's sense of smell is 1000 times better than yours, so clean the litter box thoroughly and refill it with Cat Attract Litter or sprinkle Cat Attract Litter Additive on your regular litter. Remove feces and urine clumps daily; if your cat does not respond to a clean litter box, you may need to replace it. Some old boxes become scratched and permeated with a scent your cat may find offensive. Replace it and set up a second litter box in different area. Having one more litter box than you have cats is a good idea, just be sure the boxes are not next to each other.

2. Destroy The Evidence!

Once a cat has marked an area with urine or feces, a problem cat naturally regards it as an appropriate area for relieving itself. Do all that you can to eliminate any trace of odor from the "trouble spot." Clean it thoroughly with a liquid, enzymatic cleaner such as Cat Spray & Urine Stain & Odor Remover. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners, which actually contribute to the problem because of their urine like scent. Try to keep your cat away from the trouble spot by covering the area with a plastic carpet runner placed spike side up, self-sticking shelf paper placed sticky side up, or aluminum foil. A lemon-scented air freshener will also help in both repelling the cat and neutralizing the odor.

If your cat still can't resist the area, try placing its food there; cats are unlikely to urinate or defecate where they eat. Use your cat's own fragrance to your advantage: rub a cloth between your cat's eye and ear to pick up its scent, then rub the cloth over the problem area. You can also use Feliway. This feline behavior modification spray mimics a cat's natural facial pheromone, it's "friendly" pheromone. Sprayed in the cat's environment, it creates a comforting, reassuring feeling that reduces the impulse to urine mark or scratch .Recognizing this friendly scent on walls, curtains, or furniture, a cat is usually reluctant to mark the area again. Do this two to three times a day to be most effective. Cat Attract and Feliway make a great combination.

3. Consider a Litter Box Makeover

Hooded litter boxes are designed for owners, not cats. Try removing the hoods and rethink the location of the boxes. They should be in quiet, out-of-the-way places with convenient access for your cats, but no access for the family dog. (Some dogs will a stand around a litter box and make the cat nervous.) Keep the cat boxes away from bright lights, loud noises, and vibrations from washing machines or furnaces. Have a box in an area that will not be bothered by toddlers or aggressive cats. If possible, try placing one box in the center of the room where your cat will not feel trapped or concerned. Set up one more box than the number of cats in your household (1 cat = 2 boxes, 10 cats = 11 boxes) to cut down on traffic and mess. If house has several floors, have a box on each level. Finally, do not put a litter box near the cat's food dishes- this is no more appealing for a kitty than it would be for you!

4. Treat Your Cat to Some R&R

Stress is a leading cause of litter box problems. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to ease your cat's worried mind. Territorial by nature, cats need to feel secure in their environment in order to relax. In multiple cat households, make sure each cat has a separate "zone" with its own food, water, litter box, and safe, elevated perch for relaxing (most cats love to "get vertical", so provide a high perch). Heated beds and carpeted cat condos make excellent retreats for stressed cats. Play with your cat for at least 15 minutes every day, making sure he has plenty of toys to stalk and chase. Check out the "Special Concerns" section for more info on minimizing feline stress. Visit The Indoor Pet Initiative at indoorpet.osu.edu for more ideas to keep your pets happy and healthy!

5. Replace Current Litter with Cat Attract

Unfortunately, cats don't purchase their own litter. If they could, they would buy a litter that has an outdoor, natural scent, like your freshly turned garden.  Cat Attract is the answer. It has a unique herbal scent that attracts their curiosity and the right texture for their paws. Although you may not be aware of Cat Attracts Scent, your cat will be.

GETTING KITTENS STARTED

Cats and kittens are not small dogs, so the idea of "litter training" cats the same way you housebreak a dog doesn't work. Kittens will naturally seek a place to dig but you can help them be consistent. The first thing to do with kittens is to provide accessible litter boxes. Kittens don't have "control" of mature cats and need to have litter boxes near by to avoid traveling too far. After feeding tome, it is a good idea to place your kitten into a litter box. Kittens have a natural elimination reflex after eating.  By putting them in a litter box, they associate the box with the reflex.  You should also create easy access for kittens by placing a step up until they are large enough to be able to get into the box easily by themselves. The right litter is also essential for kittens. Cat Attract is ideal because it has the right texture for their paws and a natural chlorophyll scent cats like. Avoid using perfumed or cedar-based litters with your new kitten, as many kittens find them aversive.

UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM CAT

A problem cat is one who chooses not to use its box. There are three likely causes: medical ailments, territorial marking, or behavioral issues. Knowing which category your fits in is only a first step toward solving the problem.  Cats are creatures of habit, and will repeatedly soil the same spot. In other words, a litter box problem that began with a urinary tract infection may continue due to habit long after the infection has been cured. Whatever the cause, it is important to treat problem cats with both behavior modification and stress reduction techniques.

MEDICAL CONCERNS

Only one sixth of cats with urinary problems go outside the litter box. However, blood in the urine, increased frequency of urination, small, hard stools, and loose movements are signs of medical trouble that could lead to litter box problems. See your veterinarian to help evaluate your cat's health, and recommend treatment if there is a medical problem.

TERRITORIAL MARKING

Spraying, or marking territory with urine, is a natural behavior for both male and female cats. It is a form of communication, and should not be confused with ordinary urination outside of the litter box. Spraying usually involves just a small amount of urine and occurs on walls, furniture, the floor, or, occasionally the owner's clothes or bedding. A cat that is marking on the floor will leave just a small amount of urine. It will not turnaround to sniff and paw at the area, as is the case in urination.  It will just walk away after marking. A trail of urine on the floor means the cat was standing to spray and not squatting to urinate.  You can help diminish your cat's need to spray by creating "friendly zones" by using your cat's own pheromones or Feliway, a synthetic feline pheromones, rub a soft cloth between your cat's eye and ear. Wipe the cloth on the soiled area repeatedly over several weeks. This tells your cat this is a "friendly zone" and diminishes its need to mark the area. Follow the product's directions, spraying it on the soiled areas several times for a month. Also, use it on high-risk areas like the edge of a sofa or on walls. Place scratching posts in areas that are marked so the cat will mark with the scent off its pads and not with urine.  Cats may also mark their territory with feces. Signs of this type of territorial marking include defecation in very conspicuous and unusual spot, such as on top of a table. Your veterinarian can also help you by prescribing various drugs to reduce marking. You may want your cat to have a complete physical examination to rule out any other problems.

BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS

This category includes everything from box rejection (a cat that does not care for your choice of litter) and location preference (the cat that uses an out of the way closet instead of its box) to stress-induced soiling (often related to changes or upheaval in the household). Since all litter box problems are in some sense behavioral, these techniques make a good starting point for solving any problem. Be attentive, flexible, and above all, patient. With your help, your cat can, and will, learn to "think inside the box."

 

 

SPECAIL CONCERNS -THE REAL TOUGH CASE

For the cat that consistently soils in the same spot, try placing a litter box with Cat Attract in the "trouble spot" for a period of 10 to 14 days. After this initial phase, move the box an inch or two each day toward the place the place where you would like it to be. This method takes a lot of time and patience, but it may be an answer.  Alternatively, confine your cat for at least one month to a room that has not been soiled in the past. Provide a litter box filled with Cat Attract along with food, water, and elevated hideaway. After a month, the cat should be consistently using its litter box and you can expand its territory to include two rooms, then three, and so on. Over time most cats respond to this treatment, and can eventually be trusted to roam the house. Some however, require a more rigorous treatment: Confine the cat to a large cage or pet carrier with litter. Create a small bed and spot for water and food at one end. This will force your cat to use the litter. Over time, reduce the amount of litter in the carrier, so that litter only covers a portion of the floor. Once the cat is consistently using only the litter-covered area in the carrier, bring it out into the room and proceed with the one-room confinement treatment outlined above.  Whichever treatment you choose, you are most likely to succeed using Dr.Elsey's Cat Attract.  Cat Attract's unique combination of scoopable litter and natural herbs will help your cat overcome resistance to other litters that may discourage use.

SENIOR CATS

Senior cats may need special help getting in and out of the box. Create a ramp to make it easier for them. For these cats, set up extra boxes on every level of your house.

BRINGING AN OUTDOOR CAT INDOORS

A cat that is used to prowling outdoors may need help adjusting to life inside.  Try mixing a few spoonfuls of dirt from its favorite place in the Cat Attract. Your cat will be attracted to the box by the familiar scent. Here again, the use of Feliway will help create a sense of familiarity for your cat and reduce stress.

WELCOMING A NEW CAT

The addition of a new cat may cause feline stress and litter box problems. Make introductions slowly, confining the new cat to its own room for a couple of weeks. Use Feliway in both rooms to create a calming effect for both cats. Sniffing and swatting under the door will acquaint the cats. When they finally meet face to face, you should expect tension or conflict for a couple of weeks before they settle down.  To speed the process, try wiping each cat's fur with a separate towel daily. Then place each cat's food dish on top of the other cat's towel. They will associate each other's scent with the positive experience of being fed, and grow tolerant of each other quickly. Make sure each cat has easy access to its own safe, elevated hideaway, and give each of them equal love and attention. Of course, remember if you have multiple cats, in your household.

MOVING TO A NEW HOME

Cats can be traumatized during a move to a new environment. To prevent spraying and other stress-related litter box problems, help your cat feel secure in its new home.

Confine it to one room for a couple of weeks, so that it can acclimate to the new area without becoming overwhelmed. Equip the room with all of the comforts of home?a large litter box, a bed, food, water, and an elevated hiding spot. Be sure to spend extra time every day playing with your cat during this difficult time. You might also "prep" the new home with Feliway adding friendly pheromones to the new environment.  Feliway is excellent for calming cats in stressful situations such as moving in or transporting to a veterinarian.