Opinion

Dealing with litter box issue

There are numerous reason why people get rid of their cats, and one is inappropriate litter box habits.

I can think of many cats that are with us because, among other things, they started peeing outside the box.

If you find yourself in this situation, the most important thing to do is check whether or not the cat has medical issues. Bladder infections and urine crystals cause this behavior.

Because both conditions are painful, the cat begins to associate the litter box with pain and stops using it.  A vet check can easily diagnose if this is the problem.  If it is, the animal will require medication.

Some cats who are prone to these issues will require a special diet, which can be purchased at the vet.

This will cost you a bit extra, but when you take an animal into your home, you have to know that medical problems will arise, and you need to be prepared to deal with them.

In many cases, the inappropriate peeing has nothing to do with a medical condition.  Cats can develop inappropriate litter box habits because of stress.

Cats, in general, are not big fans of change.  A new family member, a new home, a new pet, new litter or even something as simple as moving the litter box to a new location can be stressful to a cat.

If your cat starts to pee outside the box, and medical issues have been ruled out, look around very carefully and think about what has changed in your household.

Always remember that cats are territorial.

Certain changes are simply unavoidable, but don’t assume cats will just adjust.

Just as there are many reasons for this inappropriate behavior, there are also many solutions to deal with it.

If you are adding a new family pet to the mix, make sure you introduce them slowly.

If you are having a baby, let your cat be a part of the process, but also give them a quiet spot to retreat to if needed.

If you are moving, give your feline a place where they can go to that is familiar and safe.

If they start to pee because you moved a litter box to a new location, put it back.

The Internet is a vast resource of information on how to relax a stressed out cat.

There are also various medications and homeopathic remedies that will help your cat with stress.  Check with your vet or your local pet store.

Inappropriate peeing is so common that some pet stores carry a special brand of litter that is designed to attract your cat back to their litter box.

It is your responsibility to make sure you have done all that is possible to try and solve the problem before you consider placing your animal in a shelter.

In recent months, some of our cats  have turned it around and started using the litter box regularly when they found the right home.

Judging their behavior at the shelter, is not fair because a stressed out cat who finds themselves in a shelter just gets more stressed out.

 

Magdalena Romanow is a volunteer at Katie’s Place, an animal shelter in Maple Ridge.

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