Common Litterbox Mistakes, and How to Fix Them

At a glance

A cat who is going to the toilet outside the litter tray should always be evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out medical causes. Once the cat has received a clean bill of health, the next move is to determine what is causing the cat to refuse the litter tray.

Common non-medical causes of litter tray avoidance include the following:

  • Not enough litter trays
  • Litter tray location
  • Litter tray type
  • Dirty litter tray
  • Scented products
  • Litter tray liners
  • Type of cat litter
  • Not enough or too much cat litter
  • Inter-cat dynamics

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Choosing a Cat Litter Tray – What To Look For

Choosing a litter tray

Litter tray basics     Choosing a litter tray     Types of litter tray     Litter tray cost

There is more to choosing a litter tray than pulling one off the shelf at your local pet store. Litter trays are available in all shapes and sizes from the standard plastic rectangular tray to customised trays which are hidden in furniture.

Choosing the right type of litter tray, providing the correct number of trays and placing them in different locations will all help to guarantee litter tray success.

Litter tray basics

Litter tray basics

  • Provide one litter tray per cat plus one additional tray. Two trays for one cat, three trays for two cats, four trays for three cats.
  • Place litter in different locations and at least one tray on every level.
  • The ideal length of the litter tray should be 1 to 1.5 times longer than the cat.
  • Large storage boxes can be useful for large cats or cats with a tendency to flick cat litter out of the tray.
  • Trays with low sides are recommended for kittens and older cats with mobility issues due to arthritis.
  • Remove solids twice a day and empty and replace with fresh litter once a week.
  • Add a 3 inch layer of cat litter to the tray.

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Inappropriate Urination (Periuria) In Cats

Inappropriate urination in cats

Cats are very clean animals by nature, so when your cat starts urinating outside the litter box (medically known as periuria), this is usually a sign that there is something wrong with either the cat or the litter box. There are two types of periuria, marking (which is the marking of vertical objects such as walls and doors) and latrine behaviour (urinating outside the litter tray). This article focuses on latrine behaviour.

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Spraying in Cats

Cat spraying

Why do cats spray?      Difference between spraying and urinating     Preventing urine spraying     Medicating your cat   Cleaning urine spray   Home made urine removers

Urine spraying is the most common behavioural problem in cats and a leading cause of cats being surrendered to shelters and euthanised. While we humans consider it a problem, it is quite normal and is their way of marking their territory. Naturally, this behaviour is seen as anti-social to humans and thankfully most household cats don’t need to mark their territory.

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