Chapter contents

3. CAT LITTER ADVICE

If toileting problems have developed there could be a health problem, a veterinary checkup is advised.

Cleaning cat litter poses very little risk to human health

Simple hand washing afterwards is effective & hygienic, or if your really worried just wear rubber gloves.

A recomended cleaning product for animal 'messes' on upholstery etc is Simple Solution

Litter Training

Cats instinctually know what to do with litter, dig and bury. Usually all that is needed to house train your cat is a well situated, clean litter tray. If your cat or kitten is refusing to use theirs, follow the guidelines below. If their behaviour is a sudden change from the usual or they appear to be in discomfort a veterinary check is recommended - there are many medical reasons for soil/litter problems.

Cats should have at least one litter tray per animal within each household.

It may be preferable to us if our cats discreetly disappear into the garden to dispose of their waste & usually they would prefer this too. However, if the weather is poor or if it is night time (it is advised that house pets are kept indoors after dark) Your cat may not want or be able, to go outside. They may "hold it in" until such a time as they are able to visit the sandpit. This may be convenient for us, but it can be very bad for their health & painful bladder stones can form. Cats need to pass water regularly, often twice per day perhaps more - dependant on the individual.

We can encourage them to use the great outdoors, but a permanent indoor tray should always be available...

Providing sand pits or areas of loose soil, which are made easy for paws to dig into will encourage outdoor toileting. Locate any "sand pits" in secluded, easily accessible (even undercover from the weather) secure spots. Over time this will help to reduce the frequency of their visits to indoor litter boxes. The more gardening, hanging washing etc. you take part in outside, the more your pets will feel that the territory is secure. Blocking easy acces holes into the garden in fences etc, will help to secure your cats turf from invaders who might put them off of using the outdoor litter.(You can also encourage them by scattering some of their own soiled litter around the area you would prefer them to use, for the scent association)

Other factors may prevent a cat from going outdoors. There could for example be a dominant cat who sees your garden as his territory. Your house cat will not feel comfortable or secure enough to use the sand pit. Especially at times when the other cat is prowling - usually dusk & dawn. This can be the cause of messaging, in the form of spraying or uncovered faeces, see - "Announcements"

Providing a discreet litter place indoors, will prevent soiling problems from developing within your household. (if you have a dog, the litter tray should ideally be out of reach to him or her)

The position & location of a cats litter tray is very important.

Cats prefer to use a litter tray when it is somewhere private & peaceful. However it should be close by and readily accessible for them at any time. 

Pausing to perform bodily functions leaves them vulnerable, instinctually they prefer to do this somewhere tucked away. A safe place where nothing will approach or sneak up & surprise them (unless they are posting a public message).

At the same time, especially in young cats with short attention spans. If a litter tray is so out of the way that they can't remember where it is, or if it takes a lot of effort to reach - they will look for somewhere else to go (perhaps a house plant). This often happens with some urgency, as they may have left it until last minute - in favour of some more interesting activity.

Think about it from their perspective - you wouldn't like to be exposed for all to see. Neither would you care for your seat to be located far away or on a lane, where cars could zoom around a bend.

If a cat repeatedly deposits waste in an area where you really don't want to position a litter tray, you could try (after thorough cleaning) leaving dry food in that spot as cats do not like to soil the place where they eat. Putting a scratch post or matt in that spot may also provide an alternative scent notice board for them to leave their signature scent, with the glands in their paws activated by scratching. For more information about these sort of problems please see... Feline announcements

Chapter contents