Cats know what they want and if they don’t like something, or are not happy, they will let you know. If something is bothering your kitty they will often communicate their unhappiness through their litter box use. You may notice refusal to use the box, “going” outside the box, or sitting in the box for extended periods of time. Changes in their box habits could signal a health problem, emotional stress, or other issue. But what is upsetting kitty?
Change in Litter
Cats don’t like change and something as simple as a different type of litter can upset them. If your cat is “going” on the floor in close proximity to the box this could be the problem. Introduce new litter gradually by first mixing the litters, slowly increasing the amount of new litter until that is the only one left in the box.
Stinky Litter Box
Litter boxes should be scooped at least once a day and a complete litter change once a week. Cats are very particular about the cleanliness and smell of the box and if it does not meet their standards they will not want to go in it. These messes will be found on the floor directly outside the box.
Box is Too Small
Has your cat outgrown the box? As cats grow, their litter box needs to grow too. A litter box that was the proper size for a kitten may not be the right fit for a full-grown adult cat. Make sure kitty has enough space when in the box to scratch, turn around, and squat while still within the perimeters of the box.
Kitty is Scared or Anxious
Cats like small, confined areas where they feel safe and secure. If you find kitty sitting or laying in the litter box for extended periods of time this could mean they are scared or anxious. This is often seen when new cat or kitten is introduced into a home with other cats or if you move with your cat to a new location. When kitty is spending longer time than needed in the box, take them out and give lots of extra love and attention. This will calm fears and anxiety and hiding in the box will become a thing of the past.
If you find that kitty is leaving messes in spots far away from the box it could be a health issue and a visit to your veterinarian may be needed.
Listen to your cat’s litter box communication and you will be able to hear what kitty is trying to tell you. Solve the problem, and the issue will be solved as well.