him when he uses the box. If he
shows any signs of pain or discomfort, take him to the veterinarian
When your kitten becomes
used to the litter box routine, keep
the box in the same place, and
continue to use the same litter.
“Cats are creatures of habit, so
don’t make abrupt changes in the
brand or type of litter you pur-
chase,” Johnson-Bennett said. “When
kitty enters the litter box, he will
expect to feel the same texture on
his paws he felt yesterday.”
When initially deciding where
to put the litter box, consider your
cat’s point of view. Avoid placing
it near his food and water dishes,
and select a location where he
feels like he can easily escape
if necessary. While you may be
tempted to place the box in a spot
away from your everyday living
areas, such as a basement, your cat
may not want to travel to a spot
quite so far away to take care of
business. Keep the box in an easily
When our household went from
two cats to four, we increased the
number of litter boxes to accom-
modate the needs of all the adult
cats. The ideal number of litter
boxes available in a household typ-
ically equals the number of cats in
the home, plus one more.
Litter box behavior for an adult
cat should be fairly consistent if
the box is in a spot the cat prefers
and is filled with a litter he likes.
Further encourage regular use of
the box by keeping it clean.
“The litter box should be
scooped at least twice a day,”
Johnson-Bennett said. “A dirty litter box is like an unflushed toilet.”
Don’t worry: Sometimes accidents happen. If the incident is a
one-time occurrence or the result
of a misplaced posterior, just clean
it up and move on.
Be concerned: If your adult
male cat visits the box frequently
but does not seem to be actually
“going” while he’s there, or if you
notice blood in the litter box, your
cat may be showing signs of feline
urinary syndrome. Take him to the
vet right away.
As a cat ages, climbing in and out of
the litter box becomes more difficult due to arthritis or other age-related conditions. Provide a litter
box with lower sides and keep it in a
room that he can easily access.
“If he has trouble going up and
down stairs, don’t place the box in
the basement or in a spot that’s difficult for him to access,” Johnson-Bennett said. She also recommended placing a box on each level of
your home to make it easier for
your senior to get to the box.
Don’t worry: If your senior
cat occasionally misses the box,
gradually introduce a new box in
a location that’s more convenient
for him. Place an additional box in
the new location, and slowly but
surely move the old one closer to
the new one until the two are side
by side. When your senior is using
the new box consistently, remove
the old one.
Be concerned: Sometimes
older cats suffer a decline in their
cognitive function, and your cat
may truly forget where he should
go to the bathroom. If you notice
memory problems and confusion
in your cat, schedule a veterinarian
visit as soon as possible.
A lifelong cat owner, Stacy
N. Hackett writes frequent-
ly about cats, cat breeds
and a range of pet-related
topics. The inspiration for her writing
comes from her four cats — Jack, Phillip,
Katie and Leroy — and her Cocker Spaniel/
Labrador Retriever mix, Maggie.
Many senior cats suffer
from arthritis. Make
bathroom time easier for
them by providing a low-
sided litter box.