Litterbox Problems Are Behavioral
Many Litterbox Problems Are MEDICAL
Cats who urinate or defecate outside the litterbox are often assumed to have behavioral issues, and many do. However, many more have MEDICAL problems that are contributing to or causing the unwanted behavior.
Litterbox issues often involve both medical and behavioral components. BOTH must be addressed to achieve success. Failure is guaranteed unless the medical problems are identified and treated.
Many medical disorders can affect litterbox behavior. A cat who feels pain in the litterbox may avoid it. Arthritis, intestinal diseases, bladder problems and tender footpads are examples of such problems. Even apparently unrelated problems such as dental pain can influence a cat to avoid the box.
Diseases that alter a cat’s behavior, such as hyperthyroidism or cognitive decline, may also play a role.
Some cats want to use the box, but must overcome physical obstacles to do so. Arthritis can be a factor here as well. Arthritis can be treated, but it helps to make environmental accommodations too. A litterbox on every floor and litterboxes with low walls help your kitty do the right thing. Larger litterboxes will help cats who can’t turn around without hitting an achy tail on a wall.
Medical problems of OTHER pets may also need to be evaluated. A cat who’s ill and grumpy may take it out on a second cat by chasing him out of the box. In this case, the first cat’s illness must be treated to solve the problem.
Litterbox problems are often complicated issues with both medical and behavioral components. An experienced feline veterinarian is your best resource to help you and your cats!