There are lots of things that come with adopting a cat: choosing a name, rigorous playtime, routine feedings, and all the cuddles and purrs.
Then, there’s the litter box.
Litter boxes are unavoidable.
Usually, your cat discovers the box and uses it with precision. But sometimes, they miss—by a long shot—and piddle on your carpet, your clothes, or your rug.
Rancid. Vile. Odious. This is not an understatement when your cat urinates outside the litter box. That’s known as litter box avoidance, which can be symptomatic of a serious medical issue, sudden household stress, or chronic anxiety.
Luckily, once your vet rules out health problems, guiding your cat back to the litter box isn’t complicated. And you don’t have to battle this sticky situation alone.
Follow the seven simple litter box tips below and dig yourself out of the hellacious hole.
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Table of Contents
- Is it OK for cats to share a litter box?
- How many litter boxes should you have in your house?
- How do I get my litter box to stop smelling?
- Is your cat pooping on the floor?
- Can you put a litter box anywhere?
- How do I keep the litter box from smelling up the house?
- Do you know what type of litter your cats prefer?
1. Is it OK for cats to share a litter box?
Cat ambush is one of the leading causes of cat pee outside the litter box.
Some cats will claim ownership of a litter box and guard it so that no other cat can use it.
Follow the N+1 rule: one box for each cat + one extra. And it will be impossible for your territorial cat to guard them all at once.
Now, each cat will have a safe place to do his business without fear.
See related:3 Easy Tips to Stop Litter Box Stress
2. How many litter boxes should you have in your house?
For every level in your home, you should have a litter box and a cat litter scooper. That way, your cat never has to go very far.
Even though your cat is likely to gravitate toward using one box most of the time, having one on every floor keeps them accessible, especially in an emergency.
This is particularly true when you have kittens who haven’t learned to climb the stairs yet or an older cat who moves slow.
3. How do I get my litter box to stop smelling?
Cats have an acute sense of smell. About ten times (or more) as strong as people. That’s one of the reasons they’re such skilled predators.
And we all know that cat urine is distinctively malodorous. By the time we smell the box, imagine how it smells to your cat.
When a litter box smells too much of another cat or is dirty, your cat may not use it.
So, multiple litter boxes help keep odor in check for humans and cats.
4. Is your cat pooping on the floor?
Some cats don’t like to co-mingle pee and poop in the same box. They also don’t like it when the box is full.
It’s that simple.
Multiple litter boxes practically guarantee there will always be one clean box available when nature calls.
However, sometimes pooping or peeing outside the box is a medical condition. So, if you have the right number of boxes and they are clean, have your vet check for medical problems.
5. Can You put a litter box anywhere?
Location. Location. Location.
The litter box needs to be in a quiet convenient location. Like the bathroom or home office.
Not located off in the backwoods equivalent of your home, also known as the garage or a closet or that extra weird room in the basement that nobody ever visits.
Placing boxes throughout the house means kitty will never be too far away when they need to do their business and you won’t forget to clean them.
6. How do I keep the litter box from smelling up the house?
Generally, you should scoop every litter box twice per day and clean them entirely once per month.
The longer cat urine is allowed to sit, the more it starts to decompose and release a foul odor into your home.
However, not everyone can run around with a scooper and poop bags all day so having multiple boxes means that no box will ever get too full.
Even distribution of the load minimizes a concentration of smell emanating from one litter box.
See related:Tips to Combat Cat Hair and Clean Your Home
7. Do you know what type of litter your cats prefer?
Like humans, cats have preferences.
In a multi-cat household, different cats might like different types of cat litter or they might prefer different locations.
Multiple boxes offer the ability to cater to your cat’s needs.
We recently discovered our cats prefer blue litter boxes. Could it be because that is one of the few colors cats can see? I have no idea. But they use it. And I like that.
The truth is, cats really aren’t that complicated.
They’re territorial. They’re habitual. And they need to feel safe in their space.
And it’s these reasons why it’s absolutely critical to have more than one litter box, even if you only have one cat.
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