tips for kitty litter-tray troubleshooting
• The key points to remember – cats don’t queue and cats don’t share.
• Is there a medical reason? Conditions that can cause litter tray problems include urinary tract infections, kidney disease, trauma and age-related incontinence. Your veterinarian can rule out medical causes.
• Litter tray misfires, mishaps, misuse and total avoidance are signs that your cat is trying to tell you something.
• Is the tray clean? You might think so, but you’re not standing in it. Remove solid waste at least once a day (ideally, whenever you see it) and change clumping litters at least once a week. Some cats might prefer that the litter tray is cleaned daily – just like people prefer the toilet to be flushed every time it’s used.
• What about politics? Litter problems can be due to anxiety or aggression between cats. You should provide at least one tray per cat plus one extra. This is especially handy during times of high stress like moving house. If problems persist, you may need to consult a veterinarian who specialises in animal behaviour.
• Is the tray in the right location? Your cat should be able to go to the toilet in privacy. Don’t keep the litter tray in the same area in which you feed your cat. They find this most off-putting (wouldn’t you?).
• Is the tray big enough? If it is too small your cat may struggle to aim. Adult cats need adult-sized trays. Overweight cats might need slightly larger trays (and a diet!).
• Is there enough litter in the tray? It needs to be deepenough to allow your cat to bury its waste. Clumping litters are most effective at absorbing moisture when the tray is filled to the 5cm level. This allows the litter to form a ball around the urine before it drains to the bottom of the tray, so the urine can be removed in a solid clump.