Why won’t my cat use the litter tray? - How to acclimatise your feline friend to their litter tray

Most kittens take to the litter tray like a duck to water, but with older cats, sometimes it’s not quite so easy. If your moggie is struggling to ‘go’ in the right place, it can be stressful and messy for all involved, and this can happen for a variety of reasons - from territorial marking, to a house move or change in location. 


Cats who get used to going outdoors can find it hard to adjust to using a tray again. If this sounds like your kitty, we sympathise. So let’s look at some of the solutions to get your cat back in the box.

 

Check for a urinary infection or medical condition

In the first instance, it’s worth ruling out any ailments or conditions such as a urinary or kidney infection, so make sure to speak to your vet. and if this definitely isn’t the case, eliminating outside of the tray could be down to one or more of the following reasons. 

 

Is stress a factor? 

Have you moved house? Is there a new arrival in the home - another pet, baby or guest perhaps? Cats don’t take kindly to sudden upheavals in the household - especially if it means taking a demotion from number one fur baby!

Resident Veterinarian for Natusan, Dr. Scott Miller, recommends pheromone diffusers and anti-anxiety medication - which can help your feline friend as they settle into a new routine.

If your cat is choosing to relieve themselves near a door or window, then other cats may be visiting and marking on the other side. Try to close blinds or doors so they can't be overlooked or intimidated by visitors. 

Also, cohabiting cats can fall out, which can be very unsettling for house cats. To help relieve tension, ideally, there should be one tray per cat in a multi cat household, plus one extra to give everyone space. 

 

Cat lying in litter tray

Outdoor cats can develop different habits

Of course, it’s great if they choose to do their business outdoors, but your neighbours might not feel the same way. Dr Scott says, “a lot of the time, cats that are used to going outdoors aren’t great at using the litter tray.” To help your kitty come back in the house, “put a litter tray in more than one room, and if there is one place where the cat is urinating a lot, maybe put a little bit of food on some cardboard there - as they won't urinate where they eat.” 

 

Make your litter box cat friendly 

Since cats can’t talk, a ‘dirty protest’ outside the box is a subtle way of saying “CLEAN MY TRAY HOOMAN.” Yes, kitty is entitled to shout if the tray isn’t meeting his/her standards of purr-fection. Be a fastidious pet parent and practice daily scooping to remove the clumps, and once a week, wash and empty the tray using hot water and unscented soap, replacing it with fresh litter.   

Ginger Cat Exiting Litter Tray

Location, location, location 

We all like privacy in the WC - and cats are just the same. The litter tray should be placed in a quiet spot, with multiple access or escape routes, preferably away from high traffic areas and away from food bowls. If your cat develops a preference for eliminating in a specific location, place toys or food in the same spot to discourage repeat offenders. 

 

 

Cat Sat Outside Natusan Litter Box

Is there a problem with the type of litter?

Cats have a preference for certain textures and can even develop allergies to their regular litter. Also, nobody likes using a smelly toilet! And this applies to our feline friends too, so choose a brand with built-in air freshener. Natusan provides 100% natural, biodegradable and compostable clumping cat litter. Not only does the tight-clumping litter result in less cleaning, it also eliminates unpleasant smells, as the ultra-absorbing litter has long lasting odour control. Meaning you and your kitty can both say goodbye to unwanted whiffs.

06/08/2021 by NatuTeam

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