Tips for when your cat or kitten wont use a litter box

KITTEN HYGIENE HIJINKS

What can you do, if your kitten refuses to use his litter box? What if he simply starts having accidents around the house?

A few possibilities exist here.

IS THE LITTER BOX DIRTY?

Cats tend to be extremely clean creatures. They can also be quite picky, particularly about hygiene. If the litter box grows too stinky, your cat may simply refuse to use it. Keeping the litter box clean and uncluttered is one of the most important steps you can take, as you train your kitten.

New kitty litters are made to clump together, making it simple to scoop out urine with a slotted kitty litter scoop. (In fact, more than one pet owner has actually packaged such a pile and presented it to a veterinarian’s office as a stool sample, which it most certainly is not.)

WHAT CLEANING PRODUCTS ARE YOU USING?

Although your kitten’s litter box should be cleaned at least once a week (or more often, if you have multiple cats), you can actually over-clean it and create a problem. If you use bleach, pine-scented cleaner, or strong-smelling disinfectants, your kitten may reject the box.

The best way to clean your cat’s litter box is with warm soapy water. Be sure to rinse and dry it thoroughly before refilling it with clean cat litter.

Cats have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. Even after you clean the litter box, your kitten will detect a faint scent that reminds him of the purpose of the box.

HAVE YOU SWITCHED KITTY LITTERS?

Because cats tend to be choosy, your kitten may become confused or upset by a brand-new cat litter. Litter products vary greatly in scent, texture and appearance. Some cats prefer beaded litters, while others love sandy ones. Once you find a cat litter that works for your cat, you will want to try to stick with it. Consistency counts.

DOES YOUR KITTEN RETURN TO SOILED SPOTS?

Once a pet has pottied in the home, he is likely to be drawn to the same spots repeatedly. If your carpet, furniture, linens or other belongings carry even the slightest urine scent, your cat will probably seek the same spots again. A thorough cleaning, disinfecting and de-scenting will prevent this.

IS YOUR KITTEN HEALTHY?

Felines are particularly susceptible to urinary tract infections. If you see your kitten seeming to strain to urinate, or if you see traces of blood in his urine, you should take him immediately to the veterinarian. These are tell-tale signs of a feline urinary tract infection. Whenever a cat suddenly begins having accidents around the house, this should be a concern.

IS YOUR KITTEN MARKING TERRITORY?

Territorial marking (with urine and spraying) is usually an issue with non-neutered males. Early sterilization of a kitten may prevent this behavior altogether. Once a kitten has learned this behavior, it may be difficult to break.

DOES YOUR KITTEN SEEM STRESSED?

Excessive fatigue and stress may cause a kitten to forget his litter box training. It might be a good idea to observe your kitten and consider what factors may be causing him anxiety.

IS THE LITTER BOX ALWAYS ACCESSIBLE?

Sometimes, a kitten will have a pottying mishap in the home simply because his litter box is blocked from him. Did a door become shut by accident?

IS YOUR KITTEN SEEKING ATTENTION?

Rarely, a kitten may refuse to use the litter box, or he may potty in an inappropriate spot, simply to gain attention. Sometimes, cat owners will return after lengthy absences to find that their cats have soiled certain areas of the home.

A well-cared-for cat is most likely to adapt well to the use of the litter box.

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