Litter Box Care, Jonny Style
Kitten Training Day
Cats are naturally very clean animals. And that's not just me bragging, it's a fact. Anyway, cats are as particular about their litter box activities as they are about their grooming and cleanliness. Hey, it's just how we roll.
If you're training your cat to use a litter box, keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Most kittens are ready to begin litter training at about three to four weeks of age.
- Keep the litter box in a private, quiet area and ensure that the kitten can easily use the box.
- Place the kitten in the litter box when he looks ready to urinate.
- Never rub your kitten's nose in his waste if he urinates in the wrong spot. This is ineffective as a training tool and will make your cat fearful of you.
- Clean all inappropriate waste areas completely and spray with an odor neutralizer.
- Be patient and observant. You're establishing the habit of a lifetime.
What to do if your cat stops using the litter box
- Note the progression and duration of the behavior.
- Make sure the box is in a secure and private location, and they can climb in and out with no extra effort.
- Limit your cats' opportunities to make messes in the house. Watch them and put them in their box during their usual time of eliminations (after waking and eating, for example).
- Clean the inappropriate soiled areas to make them undesirable, otherwise your cat will return to the same location. This can be achieved by spraying the previously soiled area with an unappealing scent or with an odor neutralizer, which will ultimately discourage your cat from soiling there again.
- Lastly, make sure your cat's litter box is clean. Most cats will not go in a dirty litter box.
What's the deal with feline spraying?
A common form of territorial marking, urine spraying, is often stimulated by new visual or olfactory cues introduced into your cat's environment.
- Feline spraying results from your cat seeing or smelling a visiting cat outdoors, new furniture, a new pet or a stranger in the house could all be sufficient reason for your cat to "spray" in an attempt to define boundaries and confirm his social standing.
- Cats who are establishing territory by urinating tend to mark vertical surfaces. They stand with their legs straight, tail stiff and vertical and back up to the target.
- Using pheromone spray can sometimes curb this behavior.
- Urinating outside the litter box should not be confused with spraying. A trip to your veterinarian for an examination is recommended to rule out the possibility of infection or some other inflammatory condition involving your cat's urinary tract.
- Inappropriate elimination of urine or feces is usually a result of medical issues. If you see your cat avoiding the litter box, and squatting to eliminate on horizontal surfaces (floors, carpets, quiet corners, or even the dog's food dish!) that's typically a sign of a medical issue.
Please Note: The preceding content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing a pet's health or fitness problem or disease. You should always consult your own veterinarian and medical advisors.