A cat’s senses are how the animal relates to the world around it. In many ways, the senses of a cat are much more acute than ours and this can often be at the root of litter box problems. When your cat begins to urinate, or even defecate, on the floor or furniture, it’s time to get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible. Never punish the cat for his or her transgressions – your pet will be unable to associate the accident with the litter box, and dragging the cat to the litter box after a scolding or spanking will only cause further litter box problems.
Your Cat’s Senses
Cats are naturally very clean animals, so when your companion begins using the home as a litter box, a serious problem exists. Once your pet has been found to be healthy, and not suffering from a medical condition that is causing incontinence, take into consideration your cat’s sensitivity.
- Cats have a sense of smell that is about 15 times stronger than yours is. Imagine how a litter box that may smell rather sour to you must smell to your cat. Clumps of fecal material and urine-soaked litter will cause most cats to eliminate elsewhere. The odor of ammonia is sharp and irritating to humans, and is even more so to cats. The litter box should be cleaned religiously; using clumping litter makes this easier. Remove stools and wet litter two times a day. Boxes using clumping litter can go 3 weeks before actual changes (you will be adding more litter after removing the clumps), but a box with ordinary litter should be changed, and the box washed, 2 times every week.
- Smell also plays a part in litter box avoidance if your cat simply detests the smell of the litter, even if it’s completely clean. This usually comes about when a new litter is introduced. Try adding a bit of the new litter to the old to accustom the cat to the change.
- The tactile sensations of cats are highly developed, and this includes the cat’s feet. Litter that feels ‘funny’ to cats will be avoided. Instinctively, cats are drawn to a litter that feels like soft sand or soil. Choose a litter that most closely mimics nature.
- Everyone knows that cats have an acute sense of hearing. Mechanized litter boxes can produce sounds that are frightening to a cat. Self-cleaning boxes are often avoided just because of the clatter they produce. It may take some time and patience to get your cat used to motorized litter boxes, and you may have to return to an ordinary box if your cat cannot adjust.
Putting yourself in your cat’s place when litter box problems arise can make it easier to solve the problem and make both of you happier and more relaxed.