Pet Doc with Nikki Burdine: Getting your cat to use the litter box

Weekend Extra

For today’s Pet Doc segment, we are joined by Dr. Staci Cannon with Metro Animal Care and Control.

to talk about kitties and what you can do if your cat decides they don’t want to use the litter box.  

Nikki: Thanks for joining us. This is a common problem, right?  

Dr. Staci Cannon: It is sure it is something that cats intuitively want to use the litter box, typically it’s not as hard as house training a dog. Typically when you get a kitten like this little guy, you can put them in a room with their litter box and they will instinctively know what to do. It is something we see over time, that can sometimes develop…older cats, you will start to notice for some reason they are starting to go to the bathroom outside the litter box. And that can be incredibly frustrating for pet owners.  We hear about it a lot it’s a common question that people present to their veterinarians.  We want to talk about some tips and some things to consider.  

Nikki: OK, so what do they do?  DSC:  OK, first of all, we want to rule out a medical problem.  Cats can develop inflammation or irritation in their bladder or urinary tract and they can even have some arthritis if they are a little older, it can make it hard for them to maneuver in and out of the litter box. A veterinary exam is really important to rule out these medical causes if they are not using their litter box. Additionally to that, there are a lot of environmental things that can affect cats and their desire to use the litter box.  So, things to think about are the placement of the litter box.  If it’s in a high traffic area, or maybe it’s near the washing machine or the laundry room that can be loud and that can startle the cat if something comes on while they are in the litter box.  Or if you have other pets in the home like a dog that is constantly waiting outside the litter box for the cat to leave, that can be distracting to the cat. Placement is important. Also making sure the litter box is clean. Cats are pretty fastidious. Cats would like to use a clean bathroom. So scooping that box out every day, keeping it clean is really important to ensure they want to use it. The last thing sometimes is the litter itself. Choosing a litter that is not aversive to the cats.  There is a lot of different options out there.  You have seen the scented litters, crystals in the litter. All of these different things.  Sometimes it means the cat has just developed an aversion to the actual substance, so trying a different type of litter can help as well.  

Nikki: So trial and error there, make sure your kitties go to the bathroom.  This is chi, right?

DSC: This is chi he is only about five months old, he is precious, he is a little fluff ball, he is going to grow up big and strong.

Nikki: He is so beautiful, he is up for adoption at MACC, and then you can use these tips to get him to use the bathroom.  

News 2 brings you special reports every weekend morning. Click here for our “Weekend Extra” section.

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