Kitty, Please Use the Litterbox!

Litterbox problems are among the most frustrating for cat owners. Learn how to solve current soiling situations and prevent future ones.

By Marty Becker, DVM, and Janice Willard, DVM | Posted: Wed May 5 00:00:00 PDT 2004

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Instead, Darr created a private refuge for Buddy, a quiet and safe place to eat, drink and sleep. "When my mother died, I couldn't cope with the thought of people coming to my house and walking into a pile of cat poop, so I put Buddy in the basement with a litterbox, food, etc. He had a box to sleep in and a towel on a cabinet he seemed to like to lay on.

"When life settled down a bit (about a week), I let him out. I haven't had a problem since. One day I forgot to shut the basement door and when I couldn't find him, I checked downstairs. There he was, happily sleeping in his box. He lives down there now, in his own space. He comes up and roams the house, but goes back down there to sleep. He's been religious about the litterbox and he's even more affectionate. He would never get up on my bed, but does so now and cuddles up to me, which is a first.

"What he was trying to tell me, I still don't know. Maybe it was just, 'I need my own space.' But whatever it was, the problem seems to be solved. My only concession has been to remember to leave the basement door ajar. And that certainly doesn't raise my blood pressure. The frustration seems to be behind me and we're all happy again."

Cats can be mysterious, but with knowledge and understanding, not incomprehensible. If we work to see their world from their perspective and consider their needs, we may solve the problems they are having outside the litterbox.

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Reader Comments

camille    manistee, MI

4/21/2012 8:10:52 PM

to andrew in san antinio
Not sure why they like the shower, my vet sayas some cats like smooth surfaces to paw at before they do their business as stimulation vs a rough surface.. at any rate I took two poster boards, taped together with packing tape and taped them to the bottom half of the shower so the cat cannot get in. With the curtain pulled and the towel hanging right there, she cannot get in.. same thing happened with an old claw foot tub... but she seems to stay out of that now. Of courtse, you have to step way over the cardboard to get into the shower but so far it is working for me. The cat pees and poops in the litter box appropriately now. Hope that helps

Marie    Philadelphia, PA

7/22/2011 1:27:07 PM

We have 9 cats which all grew up together. Our baby who is 3 years old now (we rescued him when he was 1 month old) urinates in the litter box, but poops in the bath tub. This we cannot figure out. One of our other cats who we rescued when he was 2 hours old and is now 12 years old, poops in the litter box but we have to keep a tuck outside the box because that is where he urinates. Does anyone have any ideas about why they are doing this?

Carole    Tacoma, WA

6/27/2011 12:16:05 PM

We have three cats. The oldest one is 7 yrs old and I have no problem with him, he is very very loving. The other two are brother and sister. One of the two are urinating just outside the litter box. We clean the litter box everyday.
Recently we were gone for a few days and when we came back, I found that one of the cats had peed on the stove and again today 6/27/11. I have never seen or heard of this before. Could someone please help me. I have cleaned the stove with vinegar and than washed it with soap. Totally stumped!

debra    lake city, MI

10/19/2010 3:40:05 PM

i like the article and have tried everything, the vet checked her out-- she is a spayed 12 year old ragdoll mix, she urinates in the box but poops on the floor in other areas,i have cleaned the areas thoroughly-- she soils in different spots, bigger litter box she now has 3 litter boxes--changed the the litter to non clumping corn etc. the vet has checked her out and found nothjing wron. can anyone give me a solution

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