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  • Writer's pictureJen Van de Kieft

Is Your Cat's Litter Box Setup Working?

When your cat is eliminating outside the box, it can feel frustrating and stressful. Visiting your veterinarian can determine if a medical issue is the cause. Additionally, you want to ensure an adequate litter box setup. Do not make drastic changes, as some cats do not respond well. If you need to make adjustments, do so gradually. For example, when switching litter type, start slowly by mixing a small amount of the new litter with the old litter. Or, keep the old litter and offer another box with the new litter.

Consider These General Guidelines For Litter Box Setup:

  • Number of cats plus one is the recommended number of boxes you need to provide sufficient choices;

  • Size of Box - cats prefer larger boxes. One and a half times the length of your cat, minimum. Under the bed storage boxes can be used;

  • Uncovered boxes are preferred. Covered boxes keep the smell in and do not allow for cats to see what’s going on around them, especially important in a multi-cat home;

  • Location - select quiet spots the cat frequents, avoiding high traffic areas where he/she will be disturbed. Boxes should be spread throughout the home (not all in one area), allowing for ample exit opportunities, particularly important for multi-cat homes. At least one box should be on each level of a multiple floor home;

  • Litter - cats prefer sandy, clumping, unscented litters. Litter should be an inch or two deep;

  • Maintenance - Scoop at least once daily (possibly more depending on number of boxes and cats); dump litter twice monthly and clean the box with a mild soap or just hot water. Replace boxes every 6 months;

  • Seniors - may have special considerations. A litter box with a low entrance is helpful for mobility issues. Keeping boxes in close proximity to typical hangouts makes it easier for seniors to use them;

  • Stress - If your veterinarian rules out medical issues and these general guidelines fail to help, your cat may be marking. Assess your cat’s environment for stress and/or seek behavioral assistance.

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