The most common reason why cats wind up sitting in a cage at an animal shelter is because they refuse to use the litter box. Cat urine has a very strong odor, and getting it out of fabric or even removing the smell entirely from hard surfaces can be difficult. And, cats have been known not only to defecate behind furniture to hide the deed, but also often on the worst places possible, such as your bed. If you've been frustrated in trying to get your cat to use the litter box, you may be surprised to learn that the answer to the problem could be very easy to solve. Please note that any cat who is not using the litter box should be checked out by a veterinarian, just to rule out hidden illness.
Keeping It Clean Rather than getting angry at your wayward cat, it may be time to examine a critical element in the problem - the litter box itself. Cats are very clean animals, and one thing that can drive a cat from his or her litter box is a box that is filthy. Put yourself in your pet's place and imagine how you would like to use an overflowing toilet; you wouldn't, so why should your cat. Today's busy world often leaves us trying to do too much in too little time, but the litter box cannot be neglected.
- Clumping litter is probably the best choice for the litter box. Not only does this kind of material make it easier to remove feces, but it also makes it simple to remove urine. You should use a scoop to take out the clumps at least twice a day, and if you are home most of the time, scoop the box as soon as your cat is finished. Remember to add a bit of new litter to compensate for what was removed.
- The entire box should be changed once a week if you have only one cat using it and at least twice if you have several cats all using the same box. It's best to provide a box for each cat, however, to prevent one cat from dominating.
Cleaning Up After Accidents
Although you may have read that soap and water or baking soda will remove cat urine odor, they will not. Some of the compounds in cat urine are not water soluble and require an enzyme cleaner to remove the smell completely. You may need to repeat the process several times until all the odor is gone. Your nose will tell you when the job is done.