Inappropriate elimination (going to the bathroom somewhere other than in the litterbox) is a common cause of cats being rehomed. Throughout the country, and definitely in Ohio, cats are brought to vets offices for euthanasia or to shelters because of this issue. If you don’t believe this, call your local vet. What many people don’t know, and what is hard to convince pet owners after they are already very frustrated, is that often these problems can easily be solved.
But what new kitten or cat owners are not always told either, is that it’s much easier to prevent these problems than to fix them later! Here are a few tips to help keep a good relationship between you and your cat.
1. Have a large litter box, the boxes sold as litter boxes are usually not as large as cats will prefer. Look for big plastic tubs. Tall isn’t necessary, but a big width and length are important.
2. Unscented litter is preferred by cats to scented litter. Litter companies add the scents to help us feel better about the litter, not for your cat’s benefit.
3. Clean the litter box often. Give it a quick cleaning in the morning and at night, every day. Cats like clean litter boxes just as much as we like clean bathrooms. On a weekly or biweekly basis, depending on the size of your box, number of boxes, and cats in the home, remove all of the litter and give the box a good scrubbing.
4. Have enough litter boxes for the number of cats in your home. The rule of thumb is 1 per cat, plus an extra. If you have one cat, have two boxes. If you have three cats, have four boxes.
5. Place the boxes in a good location. Cats like a bit of privacy. Shy cats especially, will try and find a different location if your litter box is in too busy of a location. Boxes should be placed away from the cat’s eating places, and your boxes should be in different parts of the house. If you have four boxes, put two at one part of the house, and two at another part of the house.
Prevention is much easier than changing your cat’s elimination habits. Don’t let a problem start. If you notice a sudden change in your cat’s elimination behavior, get him to the vet for a health check. Cats do not have a good chance of getting out of Ohio shelters. In the Columbus area, most shelters are full of cats and get more inquiries about dropping off cats than adoption. Let’s help keep cats in their homes. Pass this onto any cat owners you know, and especially to new cat owners.
If you are thinking about getting a cat, check Petfinder .