(Adapted from Dr. Barbara Simpson)

Steps for Litter box ProblemsDealing with litter box problems can be very frustrating. Please remember that it is even more distressing to your cat. Most cases have both medical and behavior components and both sides need to be addressed.

1. Clean affected areas with an enzyme-based cleaner. Do not use bleach or ammonia.
2. Block access to the affected area or cover affected areas with thick plastic (such as a shower curtain liner) or aluminum foil.
3. Count the number of cats you have and add one. That’s how many litter boxes you need.
4. Offer litter in various depths and various products. Most cats do not like covers or liners. If you have an old cat, a shallow container such as an under-the-bed storage bin may be easier to get in and out.
5. Dr. Easley’s Cat Attract or Litter Magnet are excellent products to lure cats back with an herb “spa” approach.
6. Scoop out soiled litter once a day. Empty boxes weekly. Wash with soap, dry, and refill.
7. Diet and nutrition play a role in urinary issues. Overweight cats and cats eating all dry food are at higher risk. If your cat has had a diet prescribed, gradually switch over a week’s time. If your cat hates the food, call us. We have several alternatives.
8. Feliway pheromone spray or diffusers are very helpful, especially when anxiety or aggression between cats is an issue.
9. Encourage water intake with daily fresh water in multiple locations. Some cats love a fountain.
10. In some cats anxiety plays a role in urinary problems. If Feliway is not enough, medication may help. Typical antianxiety medications include buspirone, fluoxetine, and amitriptyline.
11. There is no substitute for analysis of urine samples to properly diagnosis this problem. To obtain a sample it may be necessary to have your cat spend the day with us.
12. In cats with recurrent urinary signs, x-rays or ultrasound may reveal the case.
13. Male cats, especially under 10 years of age, are at risk for urinary obstruction also called “being blocked.” If a cat can’t urinate it is extremely painful and they can die within 12 hours. Signs include straining without producing urine or only producing a few drops, crying, vomiting, and collapse. Your cat needs immediate medical attention. If we are closed, go to the emergency clinic.