Common Litterbox Mistakes, and How to Fix Them

At a glance

A cat who is going to the toilet outside the litter tray should always be evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out medical causes. Once the cat has received a clean bill of health, the next move is to determine what is causing the cat to refuse the litter tray.

Common non-medical causes of litter tray avoidance include the following:

  • Not enough litter trays
  • Litter tray location
  • Litter tray type
  • Dirty litter tray
  • Scented products
  • Litter tray liners
  • Type of cat litter
  • Not enough or too much cat litter
  • Inter-cat dynamics

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Choosing a Cat Litter Tray – What To Look For

There is more to choosing a litter tray than pulling one off the shelf at your local pet store. Litter trays are available in all shapes and sizes from the standard plastic rectangular tray to customised trays which are hidden in furniture.

Choosing the right type of litter tray, providing the correct number of trays and placing them in different locations will all help to guarantee litter tray success.

Litter tray basics

  • Provide one litter tray per cat plus one additional tray. Two trays for one cat, three trays for two cats, four trays for three cats.
  • Place litter in different locations and at least one tray on every level.
  • The ideal length of the litter tray should be 1 to 1.5 times longer than the cat.
  • Large storage boxes can be useful for large cats or cats with a tendency to flick cat litter out of the tray.
  • Trays with low sides are recommended for kittens and older cats with mobility issues due to arthritis.
  • Remove solids twice a day and empty and replace with fresh litter once a week.
  • Add a 3 inch layer of cat litter to the tray.

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Inappropriate Urination (Periuria) In Cats

Cats are clean animals by nature, so when a cat starts urinating outside the litter box (medically known as periuria), this is usually a sign that there is something wrong with either the cat or the litter box. There are two types of periuria, marking (which is the marking of vertical objects such as walls … Read more

Cat Spraying and Urine Marking

Urine spraying is a marking behaviour which enables cats to communicate with one another, it is also a leading cause of cats being surrendered to shelters. While we humans consider it a problem, it is actually quite normal and is their way of marking their territory.

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