How to make the cat use the litter box?


Cats are reputed to be cleaner, neat and independent than dogs. In fact, if we were in the typical debate that arises when you go out to party between lovers of dogs and cats, these would be some of the reasons that would be used by their staunch defenders.

But not everything is idyllic in the cat world because, like all pets, they have behavioral problems that must be corrected. For example, they can stop using the sandbox and make your needs out of it. This behavior is called "improper disposal" by veterinarians and is more common than we think: most of the abandonments of feline pets occur for this reason.

It is important to understand that this ‘bad behavior’ is telling us that our cat is not well. We should not take it as a revenge towards us or think that it does it. The veterinarian Ixone Foreman Colás points out some of the reasons why a cat can stop using the sandbox:

1. Diseases of the urinary or digestive tract

Cats are animals that suffer a lot from the urinary system. In fact, a stressed cat can develop a cystitis that makes him look for different places to pee, either because of the urgency he feels or because of the pain caused by the disease.

If the sand is dirty (or the cat considers it that way), stop using the tray and use other sites. There are more demanding cats than others, and they require more frequent cleaning than the one established once a day.

3. Insufficient trays

As for animal welfare, it is recommended to have one more tray than the number of cats at home: two trays for one cat, three trays for two, etc. If the number of trays is insufficient or the location does not satisfy the cat, you can stop using it.

4. Unsuitable substrate

There are many types of arenas. Not all cats like the same substrate, so they can stop using the tray because they don't like the sand they find.

There are times that cats make their needs on other surfaces to mark or because that substrate attracts them more. The same goes for the sandbox, some prefer it open and others closed.

6. Painful experiences or fear

Yes, a cat it takes a scare being on the tray or having pain, for example, from suffering from painful diseases such as feline idiopathic cystitis or constipation, among others, can cause pain to be associated with the presence of the tray and look for other places to meet your needs.

In any case, it is important to choose a site quiet, accessible and intimate To put the tray. Given these bad behaviors, sometimes the solution is easy: if it occurs when changing sandboxes or substrates, the type of sandbox or previous substrate can be reused. In the case of marking, it is useful to use pheromones in those places where we do not want the cat to mark with urine.

If we are not clear about the cause for which our cat acts like this, it is best to go to the veterinarian to assess the problem and rule out various pathologies. In this sense, the veterinarian remarks that “Cats don't act for revenge. Behind a problem of inadequate elimination there is always a pathology or a problem of behavior, so it is advisable to let the veterinarian know so that he can advise and help ”.

My cat does his needs outside the sandbox, what is wrong with him?

The cat has stopped using his sandbox. And it makes its needs in the most unexpected place of the house: behind the doors, on the carpet of the room or on the walls of the living room. This awkward situation is not unknown to many of those who live with a feline. "The misuse of the sandbox by the cat is the most frequent behavior problem," warns a study on feline behavior at Cornell University (USA)

Cats that urinate outside their litter box, that leave their feces away from the place indicated by their owners and that, in the worst case, they mark the home with their droppings, in response to territorial behavior. This problem of feline behavior is common, as experts say, but it is no less annoying. So what to do to stop it in time and prevent it from becoming a bad habit?

  • Gathers the house to reduce the stress of cats and thus avoid behavioral problems like this.

A Frequent mistake is to think that the pussycat does not use his sandbox to punish his human, for example, for having left him alone at home longer than usual. This reasoning, however, is wrong: it is nothing more than a misunderstanding of the animal's behavior. "Revenge is not a feline feeling, in addition, we would be assuming that for the cat both its feces and its urine are unpleasant, when it is not true," the scientists add.

My cat doesn't use the sandbox, is he sick?

So why has the feline stopped using his sandbox and does his needs outside? A medical problem It may be behind this behavior.

Among others, you might have a malfunction or inflammation of the kidneys. Kidney diseases are not uncommon in cats, they already affect about 7% of these furry friends, according to a study coordinated by veterinarian Paul Bartlett of the University of Michigan (USA), and published in the scientific journal Veterinary Medicine International.

Kidney problems are also painful for cats, since they involve inflammation of the urine exit ducts, creation of crystals or inability to expel urination. How to recognize these types of problems in the cat? The sick animal tends to cry while trying to make his needsConsequently, the furry friend will soon connect the sandbox with something painful, so he may try to find another place to break free.

The cat doesn't like his sandbox, is he in the wrong place?

Placing the sandbox of the cat is a place too far away or not very peaceful will not make it attractive to the cat

The diseases, however, are not always behind the misuse of the sandbox by the cat. On other occasions, the cause is that the box for feline depositions is placed in the wrong place. Some people place the box in a place too far away, in order to avoid odors. But "leaving the sandbox of the cat in the basement, in the room of the washing machine or on a cold concrete surface will not make it attractive to the cat, so it is normal to stop using it," warns the Society Against Cruelty to animals.

A cat that refuses to use its hygienic tray is more than possible to find something in it that is not to its liking. In addition to the location of the box, too scented sand It may be another frequent reason for rejection of the drawer. The crystallized beds, although absorbent, they are not well received by the most fussy hairy friends, because the sound they make when they are stepped on can be annoying and even unpleasant.

The cat leaves bowel movements out of the box, won't it be dirty?

Another frequent cause of rejection of the sandbox by the cat is the lack of cleanliness. These four-legged friends are very demanding with grooming, and proof of this is that a cat spends around eight hours a day grooming itself. A dirty box will therefore not be well received by the animal.

"The cat's box should be cleaned twice a day, removing stool and liquid bowel movementsIn addition, once a week it is convenient to remove all the sand, clean the drawer with soap and water and fill it again, "explains veterinarian Eva Carmona.

Another key to maintaining proper cleanliness in the feline tray is to have the number of suitable sandboxes. "In general, there is a rule that works well, having at least one sandbox for each cat in the house and, in addition, having an extra one," Carmona concludes.

10 tricks for the cat to use the litter box

1. A cat that does not make its needs in the drawer can suffer a disease, among others, a renal ailment. It is important to discuss this behavior with the veterinarian.

2. Felines need privacy while doing their needs. Therefore, the sandbox must be placed in a quiet place, far from the passage of the rest of the inhabitants of the house, but not so removed (basement, laundry room, etc.) so that it is inaccessible.

3. The correct location of the sandbox is key for the cat to use it: the place must be pleasant, but protected, and without cold drafts.

4. The size (and shape) of the box is also important. There are felines that reject covered sandboxes. The drawer must be, on average, 1.5 times the size of the animal.

5. On other occasions, it is the orientation of the container what fails. It is advisable to place it so that the cat has a complete view of the room, and not against the wall.

6. The sand used is essential. "Many felines reject scented products and even crystals," says veterinarian Patricia González. For these animals, a binder product, with sepiolite, is most suitable.

7. Cleaning the sandbox is key when the cat is intended to use it. Cleaning it twice a day and emptying it completely once a week usually works. In addition, the container must be cleaned with soap and water periodically.

8. Does the drawer have enough sand? The container must have a height of at least four centimeters of binder product.

9. In houses with more than one cat, one sandbox for every two cats may be enough. If there are problems, however, the number must be increased: one for each animal, plus one extra.

10. Misuse of the sandbox can involve aggression problems among cats that share a house or a behavior that is too territorial on the part of any of them. The veterinarian or animal ethologist will be, again, the best advisor.

My cat does not use the sandbox

It is impossible. You have tried everything and your pussy continues to make his needs out of the sandbox. It seems that it does by disturbing! But no, it is not like that. Remember: the animals move by instinct, if you don't do your things in the sand, it will be for something! And since your cat can't tell you why, we tell you.

If your cat does not use the sandbox, it may be for any of these reasons:

Health problems

If your cat’s problem is that he did use the sandbox but suddenly he stopped, You may have a health problem. We explain: if your cat has, for example, some urinary infection and it stings when peeingHe may be relating his sandbox to that pain, it is "the place of suffering", so he will avoid it at all costs. I might also have incontinence episodes and don't give him time to get to the litter box.

If your cat has stopped using the sandbox, the best thing is to go to the vet and tell him, will test you for possible diseases.

(Photo via: notigatos)

Improper location

Finding the ideal place for your cat's sandbox is very important. It must be in a quiet and private place or at least where there is not much traffic of people (such as hallways or the hall). It does not have to be an exclusive room for this purpose, but it is Away from noise and daily hustle and bustle.

Further, try to make it easily accessible for your cat: Avoid putting the sandbox in a room whose door is always closed, or that your cat has to go up or down stairs to reach it.

Suitable places for cat litter they can be a corner of the kitchen, the bathroom, a bedroom or room that you do not use regularly ...

Lack of hygiene

Be sure to clean your cat's sandbox every day, or at most every two. Cats have a highly developed sense of smell and the smell of urine and feces can cause rejection.

It's very probable that If there is accumulated waste in your sandbox, do not want to use it. With more reason if you have more than one cat and share sandbox.

He doesn't like stones or sand

Your cat may feel uncomfortable with the bed of his sandbox. Have you changed sand recently? A change in the smell, texture or hardness of the sand in your box may not make you feel like yours, find it strange and prefer to avoid making your needs in the sandbox.

When the cat does not use the sandbox

Of all the disagreements between human and cat, the discrepancy in making their bowel movements is one of the most frequent. As a general rule, cats are very careful animals with their cleanliness, so when we regularly find our feline friend's feces in inappropriate places we must be aware that there is something that is not going well and all our systems alarm must be started.

Our first action, always, whatever the change of attitude of our cat, must be to ensure that he is well physically. A visit to the veterinarian with a general review in response to the specific problem that leads us there, will help us to tackle a problem early, if any, or to rule out the diseases causing its change.

The next thing we have to do is know how to recognize when we are faced with an inappropriate elimination problem and when it is a form of marking. Let's not forget that one of the cat's most important forms of communication is through smells.

Marking usually occurs in non-sterilized animals, whether male or female, interchangeably, therefore it is a subject exclusively of adult animals. As a general rule it is only done with urine, which is usually found on vertical surfaces such as doors, windows, unknown objects or passageways. His goal is none other than to tell everyone who wants to "listen" that this is his territory and that he / she commands there.

Improper elimination can occur at any age and in both sexes, and we can find it anywhere in the house with both feces and small puddles of urine.

Once we know that our cat is not making its depositions correctly and that it is not a physical problem or a form of communication, the fundamental thing is to know the cause that is motivating it to be able to solve it as soon as possible.

We can divide the motifs into three large groups: Physical, emotional and environmental.

Sandbox size

Comfort is essential to make your needs properly. And the truth is that the size of the sandbox should change as your cat grows. Puppies usually feel comfortable in small and deep sandboxes, but when the cat grows, it needs a larger cubicle.

Physical problems:

The cat's age: If our partner has been with us for many years, although we have hardly noticed, his body is accusing the passage of time. Bone problems make movement difficult and the entry or exit of the sandbox can be painful for them. If you also live with other younger cats, you may not feel as confident as before in front of them and by all means avoid agreeing with others in the sandbox. In this case, the best thing is that you can have a sandbox for yourself in a quiet place where nobody bothers you and can make your depositions with ease.

Diseases: We refer to diseases of the urinary and digestive system. Cystitis, diarrhea or constipation can make our cat try to relieve his discomfort regardless of the place. We have already said that ruling out this cause must be a priority.

You may not like to share

If you have several cats, you may need to put several sandboxes, even one for each. They are quite territorial animals. There are cats that refuse to share the sandbox with another, even if it is cleaned properly. We all have some mania, don't we?

(Photo via: misanimals)

Emotional problems:

Stress, anxiety, fear, changes in the environment ... all this can alter the emotional state of the pussycat. Inappropriate eliminations are nothing more than a way of telling us that they are not well and that there is something in their territory that is not to their liking. In order to solve the problem, it is necessary to look for the reason for its unease to eliminate it in the med> We have to do a thorough review of everything that has happened> the problem.

Another cause of inappropriate elimination that we can include in this section is that of puppies too young who have not had the support of their mother or who do not have a reference adult. Many times the little ones are unable to find the evacuation site that we have prepared for themselves, losing themselves in a territory too large for them and finally doing so anywhere in their choice. In these cases it is best to adapt the territory of the kitten to its size. Reducing the useful space of the kitten and introducing all its trousseau into it is normally the best solution and a relief for the little boy who was lost and only in a territory from his point of view.

Hey! Why do you take my sandbox?

The cats they are animals of customs, they feel comfortable following a particular routine. If your cat was used to using his sandbox in a certain place but you have recently changed it, It is very likely that instead of going to the new location of the sandbox, continue to make your needs where before, But without sand!

Therefore, it is important that look very well for the ideal place for your cat's sandbox, so you don't have to move it later. Once he got used to using it in a certain place, It may not be funny if you change it. Nor is it weird ... imagine that suddenly someone puts your toilet in the hallway!

And that's all! We hope our advice will help your cat reuse his sandbox as soon as possible.

Environmental problems:

As a general rule they are the most common cause, but also the most laborious to find. For this we have to look for the problem always starting from the sandbox out. Among the most frequent reasons we can find:

The choice in location: We have to have cu> without ru> And of course always far from the area of ​​food, rest and recreation.

Problems with the sandbox: In the market there are many types and designs of sandboxes. By acquiring them we choose them from our point of view and our cat may not agree with us. There are cats that need to be covered to get the intimacy

Size does matter in this topic. The drawer must be proportional to the size of the cat, since our partner may enter it, but when they realize their needs they are deposited on the edge and even outside of it due to lack of space.

The type of sand: There are more and more types of substrates for cats and not all have to be of your choice. As a general rule, cats prefer an odorless sand and the finer the better. Although, of course, each cat is a world, it is best to make sure that the one we are using is to your liking to avoid rejections. And once found the one of your taste we must try to avoid sudden changes.

Drawer Cleaning: Cats don't like anything to get into a dirty sandpit, since the cat disgusts the smell of their own urine tremendously. Cleaning must be careful and continuous. The feces and the remains of urine must be removed daily and the replacement of the sand must be carried out every two days approximately. Periodically we will proceed to the complete cleaning of the drawer with mild-scented detergents and disinfectants that do not dislike the cat's extremely sensitive olfactory system. In the market there are specific products for this purpose that we can use.

Inappropriate number of sandboxes: If we have more than one cat we must adapt the number of drawers to the inhabitants of the home. Ideally, you can have a drawer for each cat, since, as we have seen, there may be different preferences and what makes one specimen pleasing to another produces rejection that makes him choose to do it outside. In this way each cat will have its ideal sandbox. Do not fear, they will be able to find it among others without problems.

A bad experience: If the cat has at any time had> and try to avoid using it. An abrupt noise when he was inside, an attack by a partner, a small accident when entering or leaving…. Anything can be the cause. That is why it is very important that we do not quarrel with our cat when he makes his depositions in a drawer, since we are possibly reinforcing the removal of the cat instead of what we want to achieve, which is to use it.

As we can see, there are many factors that we have to take into account in the problem of improper disposal. To solve it we must always be patient and affectionate. We should not fight the animal, let alone punish him for it. Remember that what you do has a cause to look for and find. As always, it is best to work positively, rewarding him every time he does well in the way he likes best, games, sweets, caresses ... so that the cat is able to realize that doing things in the drawer is the right way to do it and want to do it.