Why Does Your Cat Keep Missing the Litterbox?

shutterstock_474216130Cats are among the most hygiene conscious creatures in the animal kingdom. The ancients speculated that human beings learned to deal with their waste from felines, implying the belief that cats had a keener instinct for cleanliness than humans. One advantage cat owners feel they have over dog lovers is they don’t have to take their pet outside to go to the bathroom, but their cat can take care of the issue himself in the litterbox. However, in some cases, there are some litterbox fails. When it happens, it can be so surprising, given the fact that people expect cats to be neat and tidy, that it can lead to tremendous disappointment. Sadly, people who run animal shelters report that the number one cause of abandonment of pet cats is that they don’t use the litterbox. What makes this not only sad but tragic is that a bit of troubleshooting and thinking outside of the box (so to speak) can help reverse the problem and enable a cat and its owner to resume a healthy relationship.

The first thing to do for cats that are missing the litterbox is to figure out whether it may be an issue with the litterbox. Some cats can be extraordinarily picky about the position of the box. It is hard to see things from your cat’s point of view and of course, he or she can’t tell you what is causing dissatisfaction with the litterbox. Try positioning the box in different places and see if your cat responds more favorably. The next thing you need to think about is the type of litterbox you have. Many owners like having litterboxes with lids that resemble small houses, but cats are often less thrilled about this than humans. Cats feel vulnerable when they are eliminating waste, because they are often prey as well as predators, and they want a full view of everything around them at that time. A lid on a box restricts their view, and this might be unacceptable to a cat, particularly if the cat feels intimidated by other cats, a pet dog or children in the house.

It may seem easy to adopt a companion cat for your kitty, but one thing to consider is that since cats are quite territorial, you will need a litterbox for each cat. In fact, many pet experts recommend one litterbox per cat and an extra to spare. Cats often will keep up their end of the deal about being clean if the humans do; they may not want to use a litterbox that is heavily soiled, so be sure to remove clumps and feces regularly. If you find one type of litter is working well, don’t be so quick to change, because there is no guarantee your cat will accept a new type of litter. Felines can be quite sensitive to texture and fragrance of litter and reject the change.

Another reason your cat may be missing the litterbox could be due to arthritis or kidney trouble. Speak to a veterinarian if you suspect there is a medical problem that is causing your cat to eliminate outside of the litterbox.

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