Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thinking Outside The (Litter) Box

For Adoption Specialists, litter box counseling "101" comes as second nature. As such, we sometimes take for granted the insider tips we've accumulated over years in the to speak.

So, whether you're currently battling the whims of a finicky feline or would just like to be prepared for the potentially evolving preferences of a senior are some useful tricks of the trade to keep in mind!

Covered vs. Uncovered - Kitty claustrophobia? You better believe it! Some kitties will only use an uncovered litter box for fear of being trapped with the potty goblins. Conversely, some are very demure and need their privacy. To which camp does your cat belong? Offer both options and wait to see where the action happens!

Pearls, Corn, and Clay...Oh My! - Gone are the days of the kitty sandbox, my friend. Selecting a litter today may require an Excel spreadsheet, Consumer Reports, and a degree in chemistry! Moreover, unless you and your cat communicate telepathically, the litter preference game is likely going to be one of trial and error. Our advice? If you know what your kitty was using in her previous setting, start there. If past litter choices don't meet with your approval, introduce an ADDITIONAL box with the new litter and wait until Fluffy is using it reliably before removing the old box.

The Maytag Monster - Do you enjoy using the loo on a plane, train, or in a wind tunnel? Not the most relaxing setting. Likewise, many of our feline friends have expressed a preference for a quiet litter box setting - i.e., not six inches from the washing machine or dryer! Keep in mind, if you are restricted by space, your kitty may be confident enough to potty near the Maytag Monster, so don't be afraid to try if that's your best option. But again, (and you may be sensing a theme here), offer an additional box elsewhere for a while to make sure that Fluffy doesn't avoid the laundry room altogether, lest she be gobbled up and fluffed to frenzied perfection.

To Automate or Not to Automate? - If you are a bit purrrrsnickety about the litter box, an automatic "sifter" may appeal to you. Continuing with our current theme, we recommend offering a low-tech box as well in case Fluffy is squeamish about the mechanical noises and movements. This will prevent spooked kitties from having accidents. Although automatic boxes don't sift until they have been free of motion for at least ten seconds, elderly kitties or others who may just enjoy taking their time have been known to be caught unawares by the sifter after standing still in the box for a few. So, proceed with caution!

Multi-CAT-astrophic! - Have four kitties, only three of whom are using the box? You may need more boxes. To play it safe, provide a box for each kitty then ADD ONE. For instance, five boxes for a household of four kitties. That may sound excessive, but it's better than discovering that your clean laundry has been used in place of the box! Keep in mind our other tips too. Maybe one kitty only likes covered boxes and another refuses to use a covered box - offer both. Also, if possible, keep some distance between the boxes. Rather than placing them side-by-side, try opposite ends of the room for optimal privacy.

Already Trouble Shooting? These Tips May be Useful 1) Scoop daily! It only takes a few seconds and can save you a lifetime of heartache. Many cats won't use a dirty box so it may be THAT simple. 2) Sanitize and refill. Completely emptying, cleaning, and refilling the box with fresh litter weekly or bi-weekly can make it much more enticing. 3) If your cat is inappropriately urinating or defecating outside the box, treat the spot with an ENZYME cleaner. If accidents persist, try placing a litter box in the problem area. Severe cases may necessitate professional carpet cleaning, carpet removal, or other "deep cleaning" techniques. 4) Alternatively to number three, some cats will stop inappropriate potty behaviors if they are FED in the problem area. If you attempt this approach, monitor closely to ensure that it doesn't inhibit Fluffy's appetite!

HSSV's Whole Pets Store We offer myriad litter choices, including the top-selling "World's Best Cat Litter" which is made of a biodegradable corn-based material, is dust-free, and fragrance-free. We also offer some wonderful enzyme-based cleaners like the ever-popular "Anti-Icky Poo". When you shop at Whole Pets , the proceeds from your purchase benefit HSSV's Animal Community Center and the pets in our care. Even better, our prices are very competetive! See the attached link for more information about Whole Pets or come check us out today!

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