There are many reasons why your cat may urinate/defecate inappropriately outside the litter box. Our friendly feline companions may eliminate inappropriately due to medical or behavioral reasons. If any inappropriate elimination, urination or defecation, is observed, it is always best to rule out a medical reason right away by scheduling an exam with sample collection. Many times they are merely just trying to communicate to us that something is wrong.

To prevent reasons, other than medical issues, for inappropriate elimination outside the litter box there are some important guidelines to follow. These guidelines are designed to ensure your kitty has well designated areas to eliminate that promote the best urination and defecation habits.

These tips may seem pretty picky, but cats are fussy when it comes to their bathroom habits:

Numbers do count!

The General Rule is to have one more box than your number of cats (i.e. A two cat household should have 3 litter boxes available).

Make sure the litter box is large enough for your cat.

It is important your cat has enough room to move around in the litter box. Large cats often need x-large boxes or even shallow Rubbermaid bins to use as their litter box.

General rule: the litter box should be 1.5x larger than your car.

Keep it clean!

Would you like to use a toilet that wasn’t flushed? Scoop the litter boxes daily please.

Many cats prefer open/uncovered litter boxes.

Covered litter boxes may hold in odor (more pleasant for us, but not for your cat).

Keep one litter box on each floor of your house.

Some cats, especially older cats, may not be able to “hold it” as well. They may also find it difficult to climb stairs to find the litter box due to arthritis.

Keep litter boxes away from your cat’s eating and sleeping areas.

Would you like to smell the toilet while you eat? Cats are very clean animals. They not only like to keep themselves clean with frequent grooming but they also like to have their sleeping, eating and playing areas clean.

Be careful with “scented” litter.

The smell may be nice for you, but too strong for your cat. Your cat may not like it or may be sensitive to it.

Keep litter boxes in a quiet area (your cat needs privacy).

Loud, crowded areas may be a deterrent for many cats when using the litter box. (Laundry areas, walkways, kitchens are not litter box friendly areas.)

Make sure the litter box is easily accessible.

Older cats may not be able to reach litter boxes in high places, jump over baby gates, or climb stairs.

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