Today I have a reader question and answer by one of our Litter Box Mentors, the meow-velous Marilyn Krieger.
Reader Question: I adopted my 13 year old Persian last year. I think he was probably in the shelter because of litter box issues. He poops in the litter box but will not pee in it, he goes on the floor, usually in the same 2 places. If I see him start to go on the floor, I pick him up and put him by the litter box, and about half the time that will prompt him to use it. Otherwise, floor city. We tried adding a litter box (we tried a regular pan, a Boodha, and now we have 2 litter robots), and also we’ve changed the litter to see if that helps. I’ve even tried wee wee pads. It’s so frustrating. We even spent $125 to get him shaved down, because we thought the amount of fur might be the cause. My last resort is to try a diaper. Has anyone else tried this?
Meow-velous Marilyn: “My first sentence never changes—before approaching this as a behavior problem, please rule out any possible medical causes for the behavior by having your cat examined by a veterinarian.
From the description of your litter boxes, most likely, the problem is caused by the types of boxes you are using, their locations and possibly how you are cleaning up the targeted areas. I recommend using large uncovered litter boxes. Cats can feel trapped in covered boxes because there is only one way in and out. Another downside to covered boxes is that they retain odors. You may not be able to detect them, but cats can.
Also, the two boxes you mentioned are probably too small for your cat. I usually recommend large storage containers, but because of their height, they may be challenging for your cat to jump into. You can either cut a “U” shape into the side or purchase large 44 or 60 qt Plastic Under Bed Storage Box and use them as litter boxes. Look for litter boxes that are at least 1.5 times longer than the length of your cat.
It is also important you do a thorough clean up of the targeted areas, using an excellent enzyme cleaner. Cats will repeatedly target areas that aren’t adequately cleaned up. It may smell clean to you, but the urine is easily detected by the cat’s sensitive nose.”
Marilyn’s award-winning book, Naughty No More! focuses on changing unwanted cat behaviors through clicker training, environmental management and other positive reinforcement based methods.
To learn more about Marilyn, visit our Litter Box Mentors page.