Our friends over at Cat Scene Investigator (our favorite book about solving litterbox issues) point out that a number of veterinarians, backed up by some research, believe that longhaired cats have more litterbox trouble than just about every other breed. If you find that your longhaired cat is peeing and/or pooping outside the litterbox, perhaps some of the following tips might help.
Stating the obvious, longhaired breeds have longer fur than other cats. While this give these cats a unique and exotic look, their long hair is believed to contribute to problems when using the litterbox. Here’s how.
First of all, these breeds have long hair everywhere, including on their hindquarters. Sometimes poop (particularly if it’s runny) can stick to the fur around the cat’s bottom. Once the poop dries, it causes the fur to mat, tangle and knot, leading to general discomfort for the kitty.
Long hair also grows between these cats’ toes. Wet clumps of urine-packed litter can stick to furry toe tufts which, once it dries, can pull on the fur or form hard clumps, which can cause the cat pain when he’s walking.
With both of these issues, your cat may attribute the pain and discomfort he’s feeling to the litterbox, leading him to avoid the box and finding another location to do his business. Fortunately there are some things you can do to make your cat more comfortable.
To help keep your cat’s “pants” poop-free, give your feline friend a sanitary trim. This basically consists of (carefully!) trimming the fur around the cat’s bottom so there’s no hanging fur for the poop to stick to. While you can attempt this yourself, it’s a good idea to leave it to the experts and have a professional groomer or even your vet do the honors.
To prevent paw irritation due to dried litter, the ASPCA recommends that you trim the fur between your cat’s toes as often as it is required to lessen the chances of a foreign body lodging in or around the foot. While trimming, check your cat’s feet for any sign of irritation, infection, or injury. If you see something that looks abnormal, have your vet examine your cat as soon as possible.
You may also want to try a non-clumping litter specially blended for your longhaired cat. Non-clumping litter, in conjunction with proper paw care maintenance, further reduces the odds of a wet clump attaching itself to your cat’s feet. Cat Scene Investigator recommends Dr. Elsey’s Precious Long Haired Cat Litter, which has a silica gel that won’t adhere to toe tufts, and also contains an herbal attractant to make the litterbox a more inviting place.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) also points out that some longhaired cats may be finicky about the depth of litter, presumably due to their fur dragging in the litter or the feel of the litter between their furry toes. Try reducing the amount of litter in your longhaired cat’s litterbox to see if that makes a difference for him.
Longhaired breeds are special cats that require some specialized care when it come to the litterbox. Some additional well-placed trimming and possible a change of litter could help your longhaired cat make peace with the litterbox.