LITTER TRAYS FOR INDOOR CATS – WHY WON’T MY CAT USE THE LITTER TRAY?
Litter trays or boxes are an effective way of allowing cats to toilet inside. They are usually kept in the laundry or other tiled area and cats quickly learn to use them reliably. Cats are inherently very clean animals which like to bury their faeces, so the tray does need some depth to allow this to happen. There are many good commercial litter trays that are light weight, easy to clean and deep enough to satisfy the cat’s needs. So why would a cat stop using its litter tray? This is a problem that occurs from time to time and there is no one answer. However, the first thing to consider is the cleanliness of the tray. If your cat has already soiled a number of times in the tray it will be deterred from using it further, just as you would be reluctant to use a really dirty toilet. Empty the litter tray regularly, at least every few days, and use quality litter material which minimises odour and is easy for the cat to dig in. Cats do get particular about the type of litter you use, so if you are using a different brand and your cat has refused it, take the hint! Next, consider the location of the tray. Cats are very private with their ablutions just like humans, so if there is a lot of noise or activity near the tray location they may baulk at the idea. Find a spot that is secluded and quiet to locate the tray. Thirdly if you have recently added another cat to the household, remember not all cats are willing to share their litter trays. Even if you have had more than one cat for a long time and they have previously shared a litter tray successfully, cats can change their minds, just like people, and sharing may no longer be what one or both wants. Consider having more than one litter tray in a separate area for each cat. If you have an unsterilised cat, it is possible that it is not urinating away from the litter tray, but spraying to mark its territory. There is no reason to have an unsterilised cat, so addressing this issue will help prevent spraying. Finally, consider whether your cat may be ill. Cats suffering from urinary tract infections will result in them urinating often and sometimes inappropriately. Diabetes in cats can also cause ‘accidents’. If you don’t think any of the other reasons are likely, get a vet check to rule out medical problems, Remember, cats want to toilet appropriately, so persevere with training, work out the problems and everyone will be happy.