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Posted on 01-28-2015

LITTER BOX WOES!!! UGH.

One of the most challenging issues in veterinary medicine is a kitty that won't go potty in the litter box! This can be SO frustrating! And frankly it is the NUMBER ONE reason for EUTHANASIA in our cat patients!

So, that REALLY motivates me to want to help my clients to SOLVE this problem!

There are many things that are extremely effective in treating this issue in holistiic and integrative ways.

Let's start with the basics.

*Most cats go potty in the litter box naturally, without issue.

*Some breeds are more prone to litter box issues than others, like persians and himalayan cats.

*Multiple cat households that exceed the "magic number" of three kitties, will often have at least one cat that feels "inspired" to perform behavioral marking due to "pecking order" insecurity issues. This is actually, "normal" behavior, just as a tiger would mark in the wild to stake out territory.... but obviously when it is the back of your formal couch, it is rather annoying.

*Underlying medicial issues can cause or exacerbate this issues. Sometimes cats with a low grade bladder infection, or diabetes, or kidney disease will urinate outside the litter box to "get your attention" so you "fix" the problem. I personally had a cat that would urinate on my pillow whenever her bladder infection flared up. Yippee. But at least, then I knew it was time to do something for the poor girl. So we must work up and address underlying disease issues.

*Some cats have REAL particular preferences about their potty....they ARE Egyptian Royalty, you know! So, it is very important, when things are going well, not to change anything. Some cats want the good old fashioned clay litter. Some want unscented clumping litter. Some want NO litter, just an empty box (these are the ones who tend to go potty in the shower stall or the empty sink in the guest bathroom.) Some don't CARE how green you want to be, they don't LIKE the new recycled litter....others are real tree huggers. Some will tolerate your madness of using scented litter, others will make their point known that they do NOT like that stuff.

*Some kitties like covered boxes. Some kitties need things wide open.

*The behavioral management specialists recommend that we have one litter box for each cat, plus one. So in a one cat house hold, two boxes. A two cat household, three boxes. You get the idea.

*Setting up a smorgasboard of litter box choices often will help you determine preference.

*When you have had a mishap....cleaning thoroughly and then following with a product like NO ODOR, or Nature's Miracle, or Urine Off is the key. In a pinch, using plain old white vinegar is effective for MOST cats, but NEUTRALIZING the odor so they don't go BACK is the key.

*Placing a litter box very close to the area where they had the "accident" helps. This box can be put away when company comes over. But on a day to day basis, if you place an acceptable alternative in an area where the cat is tempted to make a "mistake", they may choose a more acceptable choice.

*Make it EASY. Of course, none of us want a litter box right under our noses. But if the cat has to creep past the obnoxious German Shepherd puppy that wants to give chase in order to go to the laundry room or down to the basement to go pee....the kitty may hold it and hold it and finally give up and choose the spare bedroom pillows instead.

*Watch for stage of life issues. An old, arthritic cat may not be able to make it easily down the basement stairs anymore. Or hop over the baby gate it has cleared for years. It may be that if your baby goes CLOSE to the litter box, but not IN the litter box, that stepping over the ledge is now painful and too difficult. If this happens, place the litter box in a more accessable area, cut down the edge of the litter box, and by ALL means, come see US here for the MANY alternative therapies to help with arthritis pain in cats! (They don't always complain, so we don't realize they are old and crickitey just like the dogs. I can really HELP!)

*Pheromones are very helpful, like the use of Feliway, the "feel good, bonding hormone" for cats. This is available in many forms, from a diffuser, sprays, and wipes.

*Antianxiety herbs can help calm the cat that is having behavioral issues.

*Herbs to help ward off low grade bladder infections and bladder spasms really help.

*Some antianxiety meds help by also relieving bladder pain associated with sterile bladder inflammation. These give you a "two for one" effect.

*Treatment of the underlying illness not only makes your cat feel better, but helps avoid urine marking behavior.

Our staff at Compassion Vet Hospital would love to help solve this problem with you. Step by step we are able to get to the underlying cause and help you to prevent it from happening again.

Please give us a call today! We want your litter box woes soon to be over!

Give those kitties a little love scratch from me in the mean time,

Dr. Diane

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