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What To Do When Your Cat Refuses To Use Their Litter Tray

 by jaime on 31 Aug 2014 |
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It is frustrating when your cat refuses to use a litter tray, but it can also be cause for concern. As it turns out, your pet might be urinating outside of the designated area area due to medical reasons. Here's what you need to consider if you want to understand and fix the problem.

Most cats care a lot about hygiene, and so a dirty or poorly filled litter tray could be so off-putting that it might prompt your pet to go elsewhere. If you think the tray could be cleaner, make a commitment to cleaning it at least once a day and see if your cat's behavior changes. If you have more than one cat, having several litter trays can help to ensure that one is always clean. In addition, think about where the litter tray is placed. Cats feel vulnerable doing their business, so if the tray is exposed or difficult to escape then they might choose to go somewhere more private. Furthermore, it might be worth trying a different type of litter to find out whether your kitty doesn't like the feel or smell of your current product. No matter what litter you use, most cats will prefer it to be no more than two inches deep.

If your cat is of a mature age, then that may be the reason why you have seen a change in litter tray use. Firstly, some elderly cats can develop a degree of dementia that may leave them feeling confused about where they are or cause them to forget where they are supposed to urinate. Secondly, arthritis is a fairly common complaint in older cats, and the joint pain associated with the condition can make it difficult to get into the litter tray. If your cat has arthritis then it may need a litter tray with low sides.

Certain health problems can strike a cat of any age and lead to a reluctance to use the litter tray. It can be useful to make an appointment with your vet and discuss all of the following:
  • Urinary tract infections: If your cat enters the litter tray but does so more often than normal and only manages to pass small amounts of urine, a urinary tract infection may be behind the new tendency to urinate elsewhere.
  • Interstitial cystitis: This inflammatory disease affects the bladder and makes your cat feel like urinating more often. As a result, your pet might start urinating in unusual places instead of (or as well as) the tray.
  • Bladder stones: Bladder stones are very painful, so if your cat is suffering from this problem then you might hear crying when the animal tries and fails to urinate.

In any of these cases, treating the underlying condition should eliminate the problem with inappropriate urination.

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