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Spring Cleaning and Your Cat's Litterbox

If your spring house cleaning leads to a discovery that your pet cat is not using her box, here are some tips.

Ahhhh, that time of year is here! Being from the Pacific Northwest, and an ardent advocate of opening up those windows for the fresh spring air, I have always been dismayed at the disconnect between my dusting goals and the yellow pollen that covers everything! Oh well, it provides a great excuse for dusting procrastination.

But besides dust, do you suffer another house cleaning issue? Feline house soiling–inappropriate urination or defecation outside of the litter box–is a very common pet cat problem. It is one of the most common problems that cats have, but fortunately, there is much that can be done to to alleviate this headache.

I am a professional animal behavior consultant, having started a practice within my veterinarian's clinic when I began working there in 1991 and moving out to my own practice in 2001. We still work very closely together, and there are few other more imperative, compelling reasons for this collaboration than feline house soiling.

There are two primary reasons for feline house box problems, one being territorial or scent marking, the other being inappropriate elimination. There are many reasons for both, and the problem can be complex and complicated with other issues.

Before working with feline house soiling as a primary behavior problem, it is imperative to go to your veterinarian for a very thorough physical exam. Many behavior problems have their start in physical problems, and especially in this case, if there is an underlying medical problem, then no amount of behavior training will be completely successful.

Health concerns, sanitary concerns, and the insult of your pet's behavior to your generous hospitality are all solvable with a bit of detective work and cooperation with your veterinarian. If you have a naughty kitty, don't despair–get to a vet asap, and then start some kitten kindergarten and hopefully your problem will resolve in a timely manner. If you need help, give me a call, I will be happy to see what I can do or refer you to a qualified veterinarian.

Dorene and Scruffles, my cat that I adopted when she was 15 years old, she is in her 20's now, and has always used her littler box.  GOOD KITTY!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Chris R. April 09, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Blue Buffalo just came out with a line of Cat Litter. It's made from walnut shells. The odor control is amazing! And, there's virtually no dust when you poor a fresh batch into the box. It also doesn't stick to the cat's feet as much so he tracks less litter through the house. There are three varieties: fast clumping, multi cat, and non clumping pellets. Just like with new cat food, you should always transition your cat gradually to new litter.

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