Proper design, placement and management of litter boxes can go a long way toward stopping or preventing cats from urinating or defecating in the wrong place, according to a new brochure by a national cat medical group.
The publication, “Feline House-Soiling: Useful Information for Cat Owners,” which the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) unveiled Aug. 14, explains that litter box avoidance is not an act of spite but a call for help. In many cases, an inadequate litter box setup is the cause.
Among the brochure’s recommendations:
- A litter box should be 1.5 times the length of the cat from the nose to the base of the tail, but many boxes sold in stores are too small. Try alternatives, such as plastic storage bins, which are available in large sizes.
- Cats can be territorial, so one litter box may not be enough in a multi-cat household. Place several boxes in multiple locations throughout the home.
- A cat may not like certain kinds of litter, so provide multiple boxes with different litter types to see which one he prefers.
A veterinary checkup is also suggested for a cat with litter box problems, as a urinary tract infection or other health ailment may be to blame.
The brochure is intended for veterinarians to distribute to their clients, but it can be downloaded by anyone here.
“Educated cat owners can prevent, address and hopefully manage the problem before they reach the point of complete frustration,” said Heather O’Steen, AAFP’s executive director.
The brochure’s release comes less than two months after AAFP and the International Society of Feline Medicine issued new guidelines to help veterinarians address house soiling in their feline patients. Fixing such problems is critical because they are a major reason why people abandon their cats or surrender them to high-kill animal shelters.