For many cat owners the litter box is the bane of cat ownership. It smells, litter goes everywhere, and cleaning it is no fun at all. However, keeping your cat’s litter box clean is extremely important to her psyche as well as her health.
In the wild, cats are very careful with their waste. When urinating and defecating, they are normally very careful to dig and bury their urine and feces. This behavior has two reasons behind it.
The first is that in the wild cat’s are often preyed upon by larger predators such as coyotes, wolves, owls, eagles, and other large birds and mammals. In an effort to keep their presence hidden from these would be predators cat’s keep their scent hidden. Only the large in charge male cats or extremely territorial females will mark their territories by spraying, and even this primal marking puts them at risk.
The second reason is that cats are predators. In order to keep their prey from smelling them and knowing they are in the area, they bury their excrement. This keeps cats incognito and prey like small rodents and birds from smelling their presence before they are close enough to pounce.
So what does a wild cat’s habits have to do with our domesticated friends?
Indoor cat’s retain many of the instincts they had when they were wild. Luckily for us, the instinct to bury their urine and feces is one of the instincts they retained.
Now imagine you are a cat, do you want to go to the bathroom in a dirty litter box?
As cats dig in the box for a place to go the last thing they want is their paw to hit a past deposit. This is why if you have a large litter box you will find that your cat mostly fills up the top portion. She doesn’t want to dig too deep and risk hitting anything yucky.
If you let your litter box get too dirty, chances are your cat will start going either next to the litter box or in another part of your home.
While it’s easy to get mad at your cat for this, you only have yourself to blame. No one likes to use a dirty bathroom and our meticulously clean feline friends are no different.
Imagine if you had to walk into a dirty porta-potty barefoot, and then lick your feet clean when you were done. It’s pretty gross, and that’s how your cat feels every time she has to use her dirty litter box.
If your cat has started urinating or defecating outside the litter box the best thing you can do is clean the spot with an all natural enzyme cleaner like Nature’s Miracle. This cleaner is actually made up of good bacteria that will eat away the things that are on or in your carpet; in this case, cat urine and leftover feces particles.
This will completely eliminate any odors, and will hopefully prevent your cat from wanting to go in the same place again.
The good news for you if you hate cleaning the litter box is that there are several brands and types of automatic litter boxes on the market today. While they are significantly more expensive than your average litter box, in my opinion, they are more than worth it.
When choosing which one to buy be sure to read reviews and pick one that you think your cat will like. I also suggest getting one that can use any brand of litter, as the ones that only work with crystal litter aren’t the greatest in my opinion.
If you refuse to get an automatic litter box and you don’t want to regularly clean your cat’s litter box consider potty training her. Potty training cats can be a challenge at first, but once they get the hang of it you can say good bye to litter boxes for good.