Love is in the air, but as much as we love our cats… we do not love the way their litter box smells permeate our living spaces. One of the biggest concerns we get from cat owners has to do with potty issues. There may be no replacement for the litter box, but there are strategies we can recommend to make your life with your cat more, well, aromatically harmonious.
There are typically two reasons your cat may choose to potty outside of their designated litter areas:
- Lack of access to an acceptable bathroom
And often, reason #1 is a result of reason #2. Think about it, the same is often true of humans: when we get stuck in traffic; or, perhaps the only choice is a well-used porta potty. Reflect upon the access your cat has to its bathrooms. Is it in a room with a lot of traffic? Is it cleaned daily? How many cats have access to the same box? Does your cat have to run a gauntlet of other pets or children to get to their bathroom?
Here are some ways to update your cat’s bathroom experience while enhancing your cat-owning experience:
- Each cat should have access to their own litter box, and there should be a spare.
- Multi level homes should have a box on each level.
- Keep them clean! If need be, invest in an automatic cleaning litter box, and check it often. Or make it a daily chore for a cat-loving child.
- Make sure your cat can get to the litter box area without having to brave the cat-loving child, see above, or a well-meaning, playful pup. In general, dogs should not have access to the cat’s potty area at all.
The actual litter may affect the cat’s desire to use the box as well. Some cats are very particular (yes, shocking, we know) about what they feel under their paws. Be consistent with type (for example: pine vs. clay) of litter. If you plan to change types, you may have more success if you do so slowly, changing the ratio over a period of days.
Think outside the litter box… a cat that has an environment that makes them feel confident often will not feel the need to “mark its territory”. Cat perches, lofts, and lookouts can help a cat engage with its environment and feel like it can find safe spots to nap, play and observe.
If your cat has suddenly decided that litter boxes are not for her, please seek veterinary care as soon as possible. A simple urine test and some antibiotics will help her feel better. Left untreated, urinary tract infections can develop into more serious kidney infections. Equally important: a review of her bathroom situation will help ensure she remains healthy.
Pro tip: When it becomes necessary to eliminate the less than pleasant aroma, steer clear of fragrance sprays that temporarily mask the smell. An enzymatic solution (found in any pet aisle or pet store) liberally applied will actually break down the particles; thus, erasing the source of the smell.