A proper litter box setup saves you a lot of time (as you don’t have to clean up the mess from clothes, sofas, carpets, and beds) and keeps your cat healthy and happy. Generally, you don’t have to make a lot of effort to make your cat use the litter box except to arrange a litter box, show the cat where it is placed, and let the instinct work.
However, cats can be fussy when using the litter box or their bathroom routines. Avoiding the litter box and messing outside the box is one of the most common problems that feline parents face. Cats may start avoiding the litter boxes because of little things we don’t even notice. However, these minor things mean a lot to our cats, and the litter box setup must meet your cat’s standards.
So in this post, we will comprehensively discuss the common mistakes cat parents make while setting up a litter box and how you can avoid these mistakes.
Net Enough Litter Boxes
Not arranging enough litter boxes is the most common mistake most feline owners make (especially novice owners). Even if you have only one cat at home, you must arrange two litter boxes as most cats would like to pee in one box and poo in the other.
If you live with more than one cat, you must have one litter box for every cat plus one extra box. Adult cats prefer to keep their litter boxes private. So Instead of placing them in line (like urinals), place the litter boxes at different locations in the house. This will keep the cats from fighting over litter box ownership.
Wrong Size of The Litter Box
Using a small litter box is another reason making the cat stop using the box. The litter box must be spacious and high enough for a cat to feel comfortable.
As your feline friend grows in age and size, you must replace the litter box regularly with a bigger one. Generally, it is recommended that the litter box must be 1-2 times larger than the size of the cat.
Using Wrong Litter
From the owner’s perspective, litter that absorbs moisture and contains smell is considered good. Though these things matter a lot, cats are more sensitive to the texture of the litter.
Since cats have the instinct to bury their poo, they prefer a soft, sandy litter that doesn’t hurt their feet while digging. In addition, you may also like to use a scented litter, but most cats don’t like strong fragrances and may not use a scented litter.
So, while choosing a litter for your kitty, you should prioritize your cat’s preferences over your own opinion and go for one that suits your cat.
Not Cleaning The Litter Box Regularly
If you are not cleaning the litter box regularly, don’t expect your cat to use it because cats prefer to avoid sitting in dirty places. Cats have around 200 million smell receptors, while humans have only five million.
Cats can detect even a faint smell that we can’t, and a litter box that we think is in good condition may be smelly for the cat. So you must scoop out the fecal or urinary clumps twice daily and wash the litter box once a week at least.
Using Covered Or Self Cleaning Litter Boxes
It has been observed that most cats prefer open boxes over covered boxes, as they are convenient for them. Similarly, using automatic self-cleaning litter boxes may be a good option for the owner (as he will not have to scoop daily). Still, your cat may get startled and afraid of the automatic self-cleaning litter box. If this happens once, your cat will never use it again.
Litter Boxes Are Placed In The Wrong Location
If you don’t see any of the above reasons, and still your cat is avoiding the litter box, then there must be an issue with the litter box placement. The box should be placed in a place that is easily accessible for the cat.
In addition, It should be in a calm place and a low-traffic area. If there is unnecessary disturbance or noise, your cat may prefer to go to a more private site. So while deciding the spots to place the litter boxes, keep the cat’s convenience in mind rather than yours.
You Have a Long-Haired Breed
If your cat uses the litter box, but you still see accidents often, you probably have a long-haired feline. Yes, in the case of long hair cats, sometimes the problem lies in their hair rather than their behavior.
What happens is that the feces get stuck in their long hairs and falls somewhere in the house after drying. And you may get the impression that your kitty is using something other than the litter box. Though we can’t afford to trim their beautiful coat, to avoid this problem, trim their butts and hairs under their tail once in 2-3 months.
If you have ruled out all of the above factors, your cat may have some medical issues. We have placed this factor in the end because the cat is not avoiding the litter box; instead, some disease or medical condition is making him do things at places other than the litter box.
He may suffer from a condition that produces more urine than usual (like diabetes, kidney issues, urinary tract infection, etc.). In addition, he may be unable to reach the litter box in time due to pain in joints or paws and a weak bladder (age factor). Older cats may forget where the litter box is placed.
In conclusion, setting up a litter box for your cat can seem simple, but many common mistakes can be made. These mistakes can lead to unpleasant odors, unhappy cats, and even health issues, from choosing the wrong type of litter to not having enough litter boxes or placing them in the wrong location.
By following the tips outlined in this post, such as using a non-clumping, unscented litter, providing more litter boxes than the number of feline friends you have, and placing it in a quiet, easily accessible location, you can ensure that your litter box setup is a success and your cat will be happy and healthy.
Remember that when it comes to litter box setup, it’s all about finding the perfect balance for your cat’s needs and preferences.