Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

It seems simple enough: give a cat a place to eliminate and all will be well; they’re instinctive animals, right?

Well, Kind of. Cats do understand that a litter box is the place to do their business, but there are several things to consider if it is your wish to give your cat(s) a comfortable life, and a comfortable setting for when nature calls.

1. A cat’s most basic instinct to eliminate away from their food and sleeping area. Put their litterbox in a separate room from those designated spaces.

2. Some cats spray to mark their territory (mostly males), but most instinctively want to bury their waste to cover their tracks and protect their nests.

3. Most cats, especially bigger ones, prefer uncovered litter boxes, because they can get more comfortable and because covered ones hold the smell inside the covered dome, which they strongly dislike since cats are naturally very clean and meticulous animals.

4.On that note, if you are unable to clean the litter box and change the litter frequently enough, you should consider getting a second box and making it available somewhere else in the house. Cats can’t stand to step in wet litter and may end up peeing elsewhere in your house if they are out of options. Use less litter – about an inch deep is plenty, as it saves litter and is easier to change.

5. Once your cat finds a brand of litter it likes, avoid switching because it may confuse him.

6. If you have a kitten, avoid clumping cat litter because it creates more dust which then settles on the kitten’s fluffy coat and when it cleans itself, the dust gets ingested and could wreak havoc on their stomach, clumping inside.

7. Declawed cats are more sensitive to litter, especially when it is wet and unclean. Stay on top of changing it!

8. Remember that some scents that are pleasant to a human’s nose might be awful to a cat. Resist the temptation to place air fresheners near the litter box because they might shy away from it, especially if it’s chemically scented. Use an odor eater instead.

9. If your cat frequently urinates outside the litter box, they may be trying to tell you something. Often it will be found that they have a bladder or kidney problem — Consult a Pet Wellness Network vet immediately if your feline friend is failing to you’re the box you provided for them.

10. And the final and most important rule of etiquette when it comes to a litter box of any kind: HIDE IT WELL. Seriously… cat owners sometimes forget that not everyone keeps felines in their home and can be easily offended by the pungent smell of cat pee and poop. Scents are big memory triggers, and you don’t want people to think of the nostril-stinging smell of a stinky litter box whenever they think of you. Also – cats, like (most of) us, prefer to do their most private business in a private place, and dislike being watched or interrupted. The back of broom closet works nicely, or in the basement… any place quiet will do. Keep it tucked as nicely away as you can, and everybody wins.


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