Alpine Observer - North East Regional Extra

Feline litter issues

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OUR feline friends can be finicky creatures, especially when it comes to toileting habits.

A lot of feline owners have issues with their pet’s toileting habits.

Often these ‘issues’ are actually just normal cat behaviour and we need to understand their likes and dislikes better to help them behave how we want them too.

Occasional­ly toileting issues can be due to medical reasons such as feline cystitis, bladder stones, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and mobility issues.

These need to be fully assessed first to ensure your pet isn’t in pain or suffering from a condition that could be better managed.

However, if your feline friend is in perfect health and no underlying issues are detected, then we need to work on the toilet situation for your pet.

First, we need to distinguis­h between ‘marking’ and ‘inappropri­ate urination’.

Marking is normal feline behaviour; they do this to mark their territory and can be due to other cats being in the area.

When marking a cat will be standing, tail wiggling and will spray a small amount of urine on a vertical surface.

Inappropri­ate urination is when a cat urinates normally, but in a location that doesn’t appeal to the owner, such as on your nice shoes.

When this occurs, we need to work out why the cat isn’t urinating in the normal place and what we can do to encourage the cat to urinate where you want them to.

The cat may not want to go where it normally urinates due to an aversion of the litter tray and the type of litter, a previous bad experience in the litter tray, they may prefer another substrate such as your bedding, the litter tray may not be as clean as they would like, and a variety of other reasons.

You need to make the litter tray as appealing as possible to your cat.

This means having enough trays for each of your cats.

The rule is one tray per cat, plus one extra. The tray needs to be large enough, ideally 1.5 times the length of the cat from nose to tail base.

The litter depth needs to be at least 4-6 cm deep, so they don’t reach the bottom of the tray when they dig.

It needs to be in a safe environmen­t where they can see what is going on around them.

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