Dr. Karlee Hirakis talks to us today about the common issues that all cat owners face when it comes to the kitty litter. This video will also discuss the difference between urine marking and inappropriate urination in a cat.

Video Transcript:

Hi my name is Karlee and I’m the new vet here at My Vet Animal Hospital and I’m a total crazy cat lady, So, you can come and visit me and probably find me talking about my cat for most of our consultation. And so, this is my first video, so you have to bear with me a little bit, I’ve got my notes here just incase I forget anything.

I just want to have a chat about a very common problem that we get here all the time and that’s litter box aversion. And so the first place to start is to decide whether your cat has a litter box aversion or they’re actually urine marking. So we’re not going to talk too much about urine marking today but the way you can tell the difference is when your cat is urine marking, it can be very distinctive and they tend to urinate quite quickly and they urinate a small amount compared to what they do in the litter tray. And they tend to twitch their tail and urinate on vertical surfaces.

I’m just going to run through a couple of things but, one other important thing is to actually rule out any medical conditions before we decide whether it is purely a behaviour problem or a preference problem.

There are a couple of conditions that concludes cats not urinating on the litter box, so things like Feline cystitis, it’s sort of like having a really inflamed bladder that’s really uncomfortable, stones or blockages can cause them not want to urinate in their litter tray and then we have our aversion sort of issues.

So, I’m going to talk mainly about a couple of those. So, the first place to start is how to manage your litter box properly. So, cats tend to like clumping litter that is non scented. The ideal depth for most cats is about 1 or 2 inches as they don’t like it too deep but it will depend on what they used as a kitten. So, the best thing to do is scoop it and change the litter daily and fully rinse out the litter tray at least once a week because cats have an amazing sense of smell even when we can’t smell it and it can really deter them from actually using their litter box. And sometimes, it can be a little of trial and error finding what works for them best and one way that you can actually do that is set up two different litter boxes with different litter in them and see which one she prefers to use.

And in terms of using covers or not using covers, most cats prefers to not use covers but you can give it a try and see if thats make them comfortable. And also sometimes if the sides are too high. Cats don’t like the sides of the litter box to be too high so something with a shorter sides can encourage them to use when they going outside a little bit.

Apart from that I guess the medical conditions we’ve already sort of briefly mentioned about some cats actually have an inability to use a litter box so, some older cats have really bad arthritis causing them to go outside of the litter box because they can’t actually get in there comfortably to go to the toilet. So come down and have a chat to us and if you think that could be the case of your cat we can talk about arthritis treatments and getting a litter box with lower sides and giving them an easy entry and maybe removing the covers so they will be comfortable.

Another reason that cats might avoid using their litter box is because they’ve had a negative experience. And as we all know cats are really sensitive creatures. And any sort of bad experience can turn them off as so, I guess the best thing is to have a litter box in a place where it’s quiet for them, where it’s not near the dog’s food and where they won’t be harassed by the dog. So they need to have plenty of area for them to able to escape if they don’t like their box to be in a really confined area. And cats don’t want to go the toilet where they eat and drink.

Apart from that you can have cats with stress and like any animal or cat in the household or whether they are indoor or outdoor cats they can have stressful things going on in their life that can make them avoid the little tray.

Even sometimes things like a new candle can stress your cat out, so one of the ways that we can help avoid stress to cat in the household is one litter box for each cat plus an extra one.
If you find that your cat is a little stressed at home, there are things that we can do here to make them feel less stressful whether down the track if that’s behavioural medication or one of the other things that is really an easy place to start is synthetic pheromones or a diffuser, that really creates a calming environment for them and can help them feel more comfortable using their litter box.

So I hope that was helpful. If you have any questions, please come in and have a chat to us. And thanks for watching my first video, I’ll see you guys later.

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