Four cats live in my house these days, and they share the feline bath- room facilities. With the exception of a few accidents when the larg- est cat miscalculated the size of the box, all four of them use the litter box consistently. I consider myself lucky in that regard because I know
litter box behavior can be affected by many issues.
BY STACY N. HACKETT
“The relationship to the lit-
Think Inside the
ter box is more complicated
than just an elimination spot,”
said Pam Johnson-Bennett,
certified cat behavior-
ist and owner of Cat
Box – Encourage
( catbehaviorassociates.com). “It’s
important to look at your cat’s lit-
ter box setup from his perspective
to make sure it meets his needs
and not just your convenience.”
Johnson-Bennett noted that cats
have individual affinities when it
comes to the litter box, from the
size of the box and type of litter to
the location of the box. A cat’s age
may also affect his preferences.
“The needs of a young kitten
may be different from the needs
of an adult,” she explained. “The
needs of an overweight or senior
cat may be different from those of
an active young cat.”
Each cat has individual pref-
erences, but, in general, you can
increase your chances of success
by following these guidelines.
Kittens are still in the learning
stages when it comes to the litter box, Johnson-Bennett said.
“If you’re bringing home a kitten,
stick with an unscented, scoopable
litter,” she added, noting that it
will help prevent the kitten from
becoming confused by a scented
litter or one with a strange tex-
ture. “Make it as easy as possible
for the youngster.”
Put the box where your kitten
can easily find it. Young pets are
still learning how to control their
bladders, so making the box con-
venient to use is imperative.
Don’t worry: If your young cat
misses the box a time or two, he’s
probably still learning the ropes.
Gently place him in the box while
giving him a pep talk, and encourage him to scratch at the litter.
He’ll catch on quickly.
Be concerned: When
you first bring home your
new kitten, keep an eye on