Saturday, February 12, 2011

Martha Stewart vs. The College Boys

Do you have any brothers?  I have two.  There is a peculiar shade of grey that only exists in the bathroom of a college guy.  Every part of the bathroom seems to be grey, and it's hard to even enter that room.  Cats, like people, have a tolerance range.  Some cats are "college boy" cats.  The litter box is the place to eliminate.  It can be dark and smelly and down in the basement, but that's the bathroom.  (If we have one of these cats, we're lucky).  Now, if you will, imagine Martha Stewart in that college boy bathroom.  Some cats are "Martha Stewart" cats.  This is a cat who scratches and scratches and sniffs and turns and scratches and turns and then eliminates in the litter box.  She requires a clean litter box.

Here's the challenge.  There's no way to know whether you're getting a college boy cat or a Martha Stewart cat.  If you find urine spots next to the box, this suggests your cat wants to use the litter box, but just can't bring herself to go in.  Does your cat perch on the edge of the litter box, eliminate, swipe once, then bolt?  If it smells bad to us, it smells bad to them.

Here are some tips:

  • Cats have an excellent sense of smell.  We recommend scooping the litter box once a day.
  • Don't use plastic liners.  For some reason, a lot of cats don't like them.
  • Try to stay away from scented or perfumed litters.  Many of them are scented to make us happy and are too strong for cats.
  • Completely empty and clean out all of your litter boxes at least once a month.
  • It sounds crazy, but some cats put stool in one box and urine in another.  We recommend as many litter boxes as you have cats, plus one.
  • Covered litter boxes keep the smell inside.  Cats often prefer uncovered litter boxes.
  • Make sure your litter box is big enough for your cat.  A big cat who is in the box may accidentally spray out of the box.
  • Try to keep the litter at least 2-3 inches deep at all times.
  • Finally, cats are often traditionalists.  Newfangled litters may seem cool to us, but a lot of cats prefer soft, granular (dirt-like) litter.
As always, the best 'treatment' is actually prevention.  Even if you don't currently have problems, you might want to check out this list.  Don't take away your current litter box, just offer a new one.  See what she does.  If she likes it, she'll use it, and that's the point!

Kelley Wagner, CVT

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