What could be more frustrating to a pet cat owner than litter tray mishaps? Quite often cats that habitually have litter tray accidents are the ones that end up in animal shelters due to their owner’s exasperation! If a cat steadfastly refuses to make use of the litter tray, it means there could be an underlying reason or problem, so potty training your cat or in other words, toilet training your cat, may be the way to go. You may find that some cats that are not litter box trained or do not like using the litter tray are very difficult to toilet train so before going down this road, you may need to discover the reasons why the cat won’t use the litter tray.
One main reason you may find that cats refuse to use the litter tray is because it is dirty. Most cats are very particular when it comes to cleanliness and you may find that they will turn their nose up at a dirty litter tray and will refuse to use it, even if it has used the tray just the one time. So, one of the first things that need checking should you discover an ‘accident’ is the litter tray- make sure it’s not dirty.
Depending on how many cats you own, you may find the problem related to not enough litter trays around. Cats love their own space and privacy, especially when it comes to litter tray usage, so they should have at least one litter tray each. Indeed some veterinarians recommend two litter trays per cat as a kind of stress busting measure, though this would be beyond most people’s idea of a stress free life for themselves! Imagine the daily grind of cleaning out two litter trays per cat!
Accidents may occur because you may be using the wrong kind of litter. Some of our feline friends are particularly fussy when it comes to the smell and texture of a particular type of litter. Also, certain types of litter are very dusty which could cause problems with some cats.
Litter tray shapes and sizes have also been known to cause a few litter tray accidents. Some cats may prefer the privacy of an enclosed litter tray but some kittens or older cats may have problems getting in and out of this type of litter tray. Keep an eye on your cats actions on a litter tray and you may be able to gauge from this what particular tray your cat needs.
If you feel none of the above explanations apply to your cat then there could be an underlying health problem causing the litter tray accidents. The cat may have a urinary tract infection, kidney problems, bladder problems or even diabetes. Visit your local vet so they can give your cat an examination and if a problem does arise then medication can be prescribed for it.
Make sure that if your cat does have an accident of a litter tray nature, to clean the area thoroughly afterwards to remove all offending odours. If you don’t then you may find the cat going back to this particular area as a matter of habit because it can detect the odours and associate the area as a toilet space.
Lastly, another reason your cat may have stopped using a litter tray may have nothing to do with any of the above. Indeed there may be no underlying problem at all. The cat could just be ‘marking’ out its territory and these occurrences may be particularly true in multi-cat households or households where a new pet has just been introduced.