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I'm sure many of you are familiar with that sinking feeling when walking down the hall late at night and suddenly stepping in something wet and squishy. That old wet and squishy feeling is especially disgusting while wearing socks. Fluffy did it again! FLUFFY..........!!!
Though the vast majority of cats have no issue utilizing their litter box, at least 10% develop a persistent bathroom problem, and find disturbingly creative ways to avoid the dreaded cat toilet.
Why is Fluffy Making Such a Mess?
What stress? We're not stressed!
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There are many, many, different reasons why cats develop litter box problems. I've gathered a few reasons with a little help from the Human Society of the United States website, and one or two other places I really should list at the end of this article.
Reason Nunber One
The box is filthy! Would YOU want to use a dirty bathroom? Cats are very tidy creatures and dislike putrid smells and vileness. Clean the box.
Reason Number Two
His Lordship dislikes the box you bought him. Many cats find lidded boxes uncomfortable. Cats instinctively want to see their surroundings, and worry about attacks from giant cat killing monsters even though they live in domesticated splendor with YOU.
If you have a large cat, buy him a large box. Fluffy won't be happy if his bum is hanging over the side of his toilet. Clear plastic storage boxes from Walmart and similar stores make good cat bathrooms. Buy one with shorter sides so your poor beloved doesn't need a ladder to climb in.
If you have more than one beloved, you need more than one cat box. All the experts agree that one box per cat is the way to go. One box per cat PLUS one extra for run off. If you have seven or eight cats, I hope you live in a big house.
Reason Number Three
You're using the wrong kind of litter. Experiment. Cats can be touchy about the texture of litter on their feet. If they don't like it, they won't use it. If your cat likes to "go" outside in the dirt, put dirt in his box. Also, deodorized litter is often rejected. Save the Spring Meadow and Mountain Breeze for your own bathroom. Fluffy will thank you.
Reason Number Four
Location, location, location. Cats prefer quiet and meditative places to poop. If Rex the labrador retriever is waiting for the snack bar to open, Fluffy will find another place to relieve himself. Hopefully, not on your pillow.
You could try placing the box in Fluffy's alternate pee spot. Remove grandma's boots from the closet, and put the box in there. There are worse things, and grandma's boots should have been removed a long time ago. Throw them away and buy her some new ones.
Placing a litter box on each floor of your home is a good idea. By employing such simple thoughtfulness, Fluffy won't tire himself unnecessarily by walking downstairs.
If you've moved the box to a place more congenial to yourself, return it to its original spot. Cats don't like change.
A cute picture to break-up the tedium.
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Reason Number Five
Has the routine changed at home? Is there a new baby? Is the cat suddenly alone for long periods of time? Moving to a new home can upset a cat So can loud noises. As I wrote before, cats love consistency and HATE CHANGE. Think about it. It doesn't take much to stress a cat. Since it doesn't take much to stress me, I can understand and sympathize. We're all in the same boat together.
Reason Number Six
Sometimes cats have health problems. If your cat stops using his box, takes forever to pee, licks his genitals, or cries while peeing, take him to his vet. This is especially true regarding male cats. A urinary track infection, or blockage, could be causing the problem. Don't hem and haw, your cat could die from such infections and blockages.
Other Bits and Pieces
Once you've learned Fluffy has no health issues, what else can be done to discourage the use of your home as a giant litter box? As many cats dislike aluminum foil, try putting it everywhere your angel eliminates. According to the Humane Society, citrus-scented cotton balls work. I've never tried scented cotton balls, so I wouldn't know. Cats also dislike peeing and pooping near their food and water bowls. Put bowls everywhere Fluffy has messed.
Cleaning up old messes is very important. Don't use ammonia, as it will only encourage the cat to revisit that spot. Pet stores sell special enzymatic cleaners that remove pet stinks. Try that. You may need to try that more than once. Pet odors can be stubborn.
Well, now that your home contains twenty cat boxes, tons of citrus scented cotton balls, food and water bowls as far as the eye can see, and aluminum foil covering every ounce of furniture, think of all the money you'll save over the holidays. Since your friends and family will think you're crazy, they'll refuse to visit your house. You and Fluffy can eat ALL the turkey!
The best of luck to you!
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