When a cat develops a sudden aversion to the litter box or starts treating the rest of the house as a free-range bathroom, it's a sure sign that something isn't right. The longer this type of behavior continues, the harder it will become to get your cat to start using the box properly again. Here are some tips to think about as you're trying to figure out the root cause of the problem.
Clean-Up Is Important
Any time you find that your cat is urinating somewhere else in the house, you need to clean it up right away using a special enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaners are used to eliminate even faint hints of animal odors, which are the markers that most animals use to return to certain areas to mark or to relieve themselves. If you don't have enzyme cleaner, most animal hospitals and veterinarians have it.
You should also consider cleaning the litter box. One of the most common reasons for a cat to avoid the litter box is because it's dirty. If you keep the box clean every day, you'll have less chance of something like this becoming a problem.
Litter Box Availability Matters
You might think that just because you only have one cat, that means you only need one litter box. This isn't necessarily the case. It's often best to have one litter box per cat plus an additional box. This means that if you have one cat, you should have two litter boxes in different places in the house. Sometimes, just the inconvenience of only having one litter box can drive your cat to urinate in the house. If it's happening in just one part of the house, buy another litter box and put it where the problem area is.
Litter Box Style Is a Consideration
The style of the litter box can also be a source of trouble. If your cat has grown larger, a covered litter box may feel too cramped. This can make it hard to turn around in, discouraging your cat from using the box. Another common issue to consider is the height of the box sides. For older cats, high sides can be a mobility problem. If your cat isn't able to easily jump, think about investing in boxes that have lower openings for easier access.
Litter Choice Is Significant
Sure, you probably like the scented litter that's designed to keep smells at bay, but it may be a sensory nightmare for your cat. For cats who don't like the fragrance, scented litter can drive them away from the litter box. Opt for an unscented product that has activated charcoal or baking soda in it instead.
Declawed cats often have sensitivities to the type of litter in the box. Sometimes, the cat litter is too dense or too rough, which can be painful for declawed paws. Talk to your veterinarian or a local animal hospital about the types of litter that are most gentle for your declawed cat to help avoid this problem.
If none of your efforts are successful, it may be an indication that your cat has a urinary tract infection or other problem. Talk with your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital to have an exam done. For more information, contact a company like Centennial Animal Hospital.