Kitty Litter Boxes 101 - What Do You Need To Know?

Kitty Litter Boxes 101 - What Do You Need To Know?
Did you know that the number one reason for surrendering cats to shelters is because of kitties not adapting to a clean at home loo etiquette? This problem is an easy one to solve if you understand these elusive, furry creatures and their preferred usage of litter boxes. You can test this out by placing a litter box within close proximity of your new kitten. If your kitten doesn’t use the litter box as its preferred loo spot, there may be a host of reasons why – Canine & Co and their local pet care team have highlighted five important considerations and provided a few solutions to help you troubleshoot your litter box set up experience.

Selecting the perfect litter box and positioning it in your home
Cats are private, self-cleaning animals, so place clean litter boxes in quiet, private areas of your home which are easily accessible to the cat. Make sure that these areas are not accessible to children or other pets or, placed within close proximity of noisy household items such as washing machines as the slightest disturbance could prevent your cat from using the litter box. Litter boxes should be far removed from the cat’s food and water dishes. You can expect that a kitten will more easily take to the litter box than a full-grown cat, however, when ‘toilet-training’ your new kitten, limit their territory until they learn that the litter box is the only acceptable place to ’go potty’. Also covered, or ‘hooded’ litter boxes can be offensive to cats as they do not provide for the cat’s need to escape potential threats when eliminating. They also trap the odour inside, creating an ‘outhouse effect’. The litter box should be uncovered and large enough to suit the adult cat.

At least one litter box per cat
Cats will often not use a litter box that’s been used by another, so ensure you have one for each pet, plus an extra as your cat may choose to defecate in one and urinate in another. If you have a space challenge, a corner litter box doesn’t require as much room, consider options such as the SmartCat Corner Litterbox.

Choosing appropriate litter
There are so many litter options out there these days that it can be a daunting task to choose one. Natural litter is typically preferred by most cats however, different feline needs dictate why owners need to explore different cat litter options. Some natural litters are even biodegradable and compostable or, you can flush them down the loo. Made from all-natural wood and grass fibres, these are dust-free, gentle on kitty’s soft paws and clump amazingly well, making cleaning the litter box an easy task! A favourite amongst the Canine & Co staff’s pets is the SmartCat All Natural Clumping Litter.

A handy tip for kitties with longer fur to reduce tracking of dirt as they leave the box is to try a pellet type litter such as the Cat's Best Smart Pellet. These types of litter are heavier than ordinary litter and less likely to stick to your cat’s paws when they hop out of the litter box.

If you are old school and loyal to the traditional clay litters, then try the modern version like the SmartCat Lightweight Clumping Litter. It offers unbeatable clumping, is 99% dust free and stops odours on contact.

Stress and anxiety as a reason your cat might not be using his/ her litter box
Another reason that your cat might be urinating or defecating in places other than their litter box is stress. Cats are sensitive little creatures and if you suspect your cat might be stressed, or if you are just not managing to get litter box training right, try a home diffuser geared toward promoting calmness in your cat. Great ones to try out are the Feliway Home Diffuser or Nurturecalm Cat Collar. As well a being sensitive, cats are also picky and might just not like the place you have selected for them. If you find yourself having to reason with a picky cat, try moving the litter box to an area closer to where you are finding they prefer to go. Just remember to get rid of all odours from previous mishaps and, be sure to use a specialised cleaning agent for this purpose such as the Simple Solution Stain & Odour Remover.

Underlying health conditions
If you’ve tried all of the above and your cat still isn’t using its litter box, this could be indicating a potential health condition. These special animals are known for being champion ‘hiders of pain’ – your cat may be experiencing a urinary or intestinal disorder, which makes elimination uncontrollable or painful. Be sure to take your kitty to the vet to have any potential health conditions assessed. We hope these tips help you in your efforts to toilet train your kitty, don't be afraid to ask an expert at your pet store for advice if your kitty is having loo-time issues!

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