Litterbox Blues – Does Your Cat Have a Problem?

Does your cat:

  • Prefer to pee outside her litterbox?
  • Poop on its rim?
  • Avoid his litterbox at all costs when it comes to pooping and peeing?
  • Pee or poop on you or your clothes? (Ick.)
  • Spray? (The worst!)

These are just a few of the almost countless ways our cats try to send messages to us via their personal elimination preferences. For us humanoids, the thought of using one’s potty habits as a means of communicating is about as gross and foul as one could get. But cats have a lot to say to each other, and to us, by leaving all those smells and marks around to make their point or protect their territory. Sorry. It’s just who they are and one way they talk.

Animal communication can help, but if you engage in it be ready to become involved in some serious negotiations. Barring a urinary or systemic health problem, you are probably going to be pressed to the wall to do things like, oh, get rid of all your other cats for example, so the offending feline will have her domain all to herself. Or to please stop seeing your most recent paramour, of whom she is very jealous. Trivial life changing stuff like that.

Before you go running for the hills, or contemplate moving to Alaska to satisfy your picky kitty who happens to like things cold, try some of the following things first. These have been put forth by Temple Grandin Ph.D., world-noted animal advocate and behaviorist. Temple is autistic so is able to relate to animals and understand them in ways most of us cannot. Plus she has a solid educational and scientific background to back up her theses.

In her newest book,  Animals Make Us Human, Temple addresses the dilemma of litterbox problems and has a few basic recommendations to try before shooting yourself in the head. I paraphrase here in order to keep things short and sweet (and not to “reprint without permission”) and hope one or more of these tips might help solve your litterbox blues and please your finicky feline.

  1. Try different kitty litters. And pay close attention to how they smell. If you don’t like them your cat may not either — or vice versa. Let HIM decide.
  2. Move the catbox! Sounds too simple and obvious doesn’t it, but this one can be a biggie. More privacy may be desired. Or perhaps more quiet. Factors that would affect you too while sitting on the potty.
  3. Check the floor UNDER the litterbox. Make sure it’s not slippy slidey, or noisy, or uneven. Stuff like that. Cats are coordinated and careful and don’t like weird surfaces.
  4. Change the litter more frequently. Duh. Do NOT let your catbox get to looking like the one in the picture above! Would you be drawn to use a box like this?
  5. If you have more than one cat, get at least one litterbox each. Locate strategically. Do not line them all up like the men’s urinal in an airport.
  6. Change the type of litterbox. For instance, some cats like hoods, some don’t. My own kitty, Lily, prefers a huge, deep, round, blue bin that would accommodate about four cats and whose previous life was a free-choice mineral tub for the horses. My thought on this blue behemoth that dominates my mud room? “Whatever floats your boat, Princess!”

Do not despair. These problems can be solved. After making darn sure your cat doesn’t have a health problem, get creative and shake things up a bit. If that doesn’t work, then you might think about calling an animal communicator and beginning joint therapy with your pretty kitty.

Oh, and be SURE and check out Temple’s book!

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