A cat sitting on its litter box

Most cats aren’t shy about their attachments to certain routines. They dislike when their food is switched up, when meal times vary, and under no circumstances are they keen on going to the bathroom in strange places. Furthermore, don’t even attempt to throw curveballs at them regarding their preferred type of litter! 

Indeed, cats have very strong opinions about how their litter box looks, feels, and smells. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to transition them to a new normal, especially if the changes benefit the entire household.

Walking on Eggshells

Obviously, the last thing you want is to upset your cat, but sometimes the reasons behind changes to their litter box are unavoidable. For instance, litter boxes can break, or their size can become too small or shallow for a growing cat. Similarly, digging can cause a big mess and may result in needing a hood or a deeper box. 

Aging felines might also need a box that is easier for their aching or stiff joints to get in and out of. You might have to raise the box off the floor if you also own a dog that eats poop.

Rule of Thumb

Many households end up adopting more than one cat (whether at the same time or down the road). The best approach to avoiding litter box issues in a multi-cat household is to supply one box per cat plus one more. In other words, two cats benefit from three boxes. While many cats can share their litter box with another (this is especially true for litter mates), they may not necessarily prefer to.

So. Many. Options.

Amazingly, modern cat owners have a huge variety of choices when it comes to providing the ideal litter box. There are self-cleaning boxes, triangular-shaped boxes to fit in corners, boxes concealed in furniture, top-entry boxes, flip-top hooded boxes, and shallow litter pans to name a few. Whatever you choose, your cat will provide you with ample feedback – if they show consistency with their litter routine, it’s best to stick to the box style that they’ve grown accustomed to.

A New Litter

It’s hard not to be drawn in by the latest and greatest fads, and litter is no exception. However, cats are commonly thrown off by the smell or feel of new products, often leading to eliminating outside the litter box. Sure, you might like the price or the fragrance better than the product your cat likes, but please bear in mind that cats are the definition of creatures of habit!  

Transition the Litter Box

If you absolutely have to make changes to your cat’s litter box size, style, location, and litter product, we recommend the following tips of success:

  • Start slowly and integrate the new routine over time. 
  • Switching litter can be done by adding a little bit of the new kind to the old, gradually increasing the new litter over time until you’ve completely changed over. 
  • If you are attempting to move the location of the litter box, make the new spot as attractive to your cat as possible. Also, reward them when they use the new location. Before you remove the old box from the previous location, you must be certain they have adopted the new one. This can take several weeks.

Lots of Love

Transitioning your cat’s litter or their litter box can be really a long process, but when you show affection, offer praise, and give rewards your cat is more likely to succeed.

If you have additional questions about your cat’s health and behavior, our team at Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care is always here to help. Good luck!