Scoopin’ the Poop: Cats and Litter Boxes

Cats and Litter Boxes

Did you know that the number one reason for pet owners to surrender a cat is due to inappropriate use of their litter box!  This is a sad and unfortunate occurrence, and often times the veterinarian is the last to know. Here are some helpful tips that can aid in preventing litter box avoidance in our finicky felines.  But first and foremost, if there is a concern, please contact Oakview Veterinary Medical Center ASAP so we can help to resolve it. The longer the inappropriate use of the litter box goes on the harder it is to resolve, and to find the potential underlying cause.  It is important to rule out medical causes that could be affecting your pet such as urinary tract infection, pain or anxiety.

Oakview Vet Blog - Plover WI


Litter Box Etiquette

  1. First and foremost there is a formula! Who knew math would be involved?

The # of cats  + 1 litter box  ( 3 cats + 1 = 4 litter boxes in household minimum)

  1. Scoop daily, wash weekly.
  2. Choose open litter box styles vs. closed or ones with lids.
  3. If you live in a multi-level household there should be a box on each level.
  4. Choose a litter and stick to it! Non-scented is preferred!
  5. If all the litter boxes you have are in view from each other, they count as 1, not 3.
  6. Bigger is Better, choose the largest litter boxes you can find, and if they are all too small get creative and design your own. The garment boxes that roll under beds for storage actually make ideal litter boxes.


Litter Boxes
These litter boxes are for a senior cat, so not only is a large one provided, but the smaller one has the sides cut down for more comfortable entry for an arthritic cat. This home has 1 cat and 4 litter boxes.


The Real Estate of Litter Boxes

Location, location, location!!

If our feline friends are avoiding the litter box, make sure that the location isn’t adding to the situation.  IF the only place to use it is located down a flight of stairs in the farthest reaches of the basement, then there are improvements that can be made. And if one cat guards a litter box, be sure everyone has a safe space to use the box.

If you have a cat who is not using the litter box, see our last post for how to contact our helpful behavior technician Emily.


See you next month! February is all about dentistry in cats and dogs.

 Dr. Curtis
Written by Valerie Curtis, DVM

Dr. Curtis received her undergraduate degree at UWSP and her doctorate of veterinary medicine at Purdue University. She has been in practice for over 10 years. Her knowledge, attention to detail, and compassion are integral to our practice here at Oakview.


Oakview Pet Gazette Vet Blog - Plover WI
| OVMC Staff

Oakview Veterinary Medical Center is a progressive clinic located in Plover, WI. Our veterinarians and staff have lots of wisdom and personal stories to share. We are friendly, compassionate, and engaged with all species!

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