MeOW Welcome to a brand new Service Cat Monday. We’re really behind today, but we think when ya’ get to the end, you’ll furgive us. We have quite a few questions regarding the wheelchair that we’re holding until the new chair gets here. In the meantime, we’re runnin’ low on your other questions. ‘Member, the only dumb question, is the one that’s not asked. Everypawdy can’t be a seasoned pet pawrent; ya’ have to start somewhere. So ask us anythin’ and we’ll do our bestest to help out. We’re tacklin’ a good one today. Let’s get the business outta the way and get to it. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
So, what’s the hot topic today that every kitty pawrent wouldn’t want to miss? Well, every living being on the planet has 4 basic functions they must do in order to survive: Eat, Drink, Sleep and Eliminate (urinate and defecate). Today, we’re going to focus on kitty’s need to Eliminate. We call this a hot topic because inappropriate Elimination has been the cause of so many kitties losing their furever homes. Problems arising from kitty’s inability to Eliminate can lead to illness and even death. And as every inside only kitty parent would probably say, the litter box is the least favorite part of being owned by a cat. But, it’s necessary. The litterbox isn’t something you or your kitty can live without. Now we know that some have trained kitty to use the human toilet, and some have kitties that go outdoors, but, ideally kitty should have access to a clean litterbox to use for their Elimination needs.
Me’s not usin’ this thing. Me wants a real box.
We’re not going to spend much time on the alternatives, but we would like to quickly address kitties using the human toilet. As we prove each week with our Service Cat Monday posts, cats are extremely intelligent, but even cats have limitations. Mommy had once thought teaching kitty to use the toilet would be wonderful. However, watching sis Lexi’s mobility and balance decline over the last year of her life has totally changed her mind. We Do Not recommend toilet training any cat.
So, whether you have a new kitty, one kitty or ten (or more), you’re going to need a litterbox. The rule of thumb is 1 box and a spare for each cat in your home. As most people with one or two cats will likely tell you, they’re getting by with just 1 box. But, be aware, the fewer boxes you have the greater chance you have of inappropriate Eliminating. Now, we’ll get back to choosing the right box in a minute. We’d like to talk Litter for a minute.
With all the different types of litter on the market, it can be confusing. Especially to the novice cat owner. But, even long time cat owners can get overwhelmed at times. To Clump or not to clump, that is the question. If only it were that simple. But, that is the first question you need to ask yourself. We prefer Clumping. Mommy says she can’t even remember the day of non clumping litters and is thankful for that memory loss. MOL The next question you might ask is, natural or not? The truth is, clay is just as natural as corn, wheat or grass. The difference is how it reacts in the litterbox and inside kitty’s tummy. Make no mistake, kitty is getting some litter in their mouths. And just about anything that goes into kitty’s mouth is going down their throats, due to the nature of their tongue barbs. (we’ll cover that in another post if you’d like). Cats are such fastidious groomers, that anything left on our furs or between our paw pads is going to get licked and may be ingested. Here is where the natural difference comes in. Clay and it’s clumping additives are not naturally edible and don’t easily pass thru kitty’s intestines. Instead they do inside kitty the same as they do in the litterbox…form clumps and cause blockages. While there may be little nutritional value to corn or wheat in a cat food, it can certainly pass thru the intestines with ease.
The next question to ask is, Scented or Unscented?. The smell of cat urine is like pouring a bottle of amonia in a bowl. It can quickly cause burning eyes, burning and/or itching in the nose and throat and just plain be unpleasant. Many litters on the market add things like perfumes, baking soda and other scented additives to make the litter smell more pleasing to the human nose. Notice me said human nose. When was the last time you saw a kitty of any size looking for the closest lavender field to urinate in? Kitties have very sensitive olfactory senses (noses). We kitties prefer a totally Unscented place to Eliminate. Remember, cats are both Predators and Prey; and anything that draws attention to us could in our minds put us at risk of becoming something bigger’s meal. And hey, if you’re scooping like you should be, there shouldn’t be any lasting smells. (we’ve only posted a few different types of litter. there are many many more to choose from)
Another thing we’d like to bring your awareness too is Litters/Additives that can help one keep an eye on kitty’s urinary health. In recent years crystal type litters have gained popularity due to their lack of color or color changing crystal additives. These help humans identify Urine pH levels or blood in the urine easier. We’ll tell you that for this reason, we really like the Garfield Cat Litter. It’s completely clear, clumps well and keeps down odors naturally. It has minimal dust and a texture most cats like. It comes in two formulas, small grain and large grain. We prefer the small grain, as it’s very soft and easy on the paws. It feels a lot like sand. We think it would work great for older, paw sensitive and declawed cats. (PLEASE Do Not Declaw your cats!!!). Stay tuned at the end of this post, we’re giving away a couple of 10 pound bags.
Let’s talk about scooping for a minute. No matter how many cats and/or litterboxes you have, you should scoop the litterbox at least once a day. Me personally, thinks it should be scooped every time a deposit is made. Yes, mommy spoiled me and me never grew out of it. But, one day when she was mumbling about scooping so me could go poop, me had just peed and so the box must be cleaned ASAP; she thought to herself, “I wouldn’t want to use a potty that hadn’t been flushed after the last use so really…why would I expect my girls to use a dirty potty?.” When ya’ put it that way, it makes total sense. She doesn’t mumble as much anymore. MOL Anyways, for the rest of the world, we say at the very least, once a day. The cleaner the box, the less chance you’ll have of Inappropriate Elimination. Remember, us cats really like clean.
So, you’ve chosen a litter and are ready to go. How do you pick a litterbox? The box you choose must be large enough to accommodate kitty. Most kitties are going to want to turn around a time or two, dig a little and then pick a spot and squat. Of course there are the kitties who forget to squat. If you have one of those, be sure to look for a box with high sides or maybe a lid. Just be sure the lid is large enough for kitty to be able to stand up straight in. If you’re using an enclosed litterbox, regular scooping becomes even more important. Most of the smell is trapped under the lid. We shouldn’t have to explain walking into a stinky bathroom, we think most everybody already knows about that one. You may also want to look into an automatic litterbox. They’ve come a long way in the last few years. Stay tuned, we’ll be giving you the scoop on our pick next week. The last step is to place kitty’s litterbox in a quiet place with easy access in and out. You don’t want kitty to feel trapped or cornered.
Hmmmmm I’s don’t know sissy, what do you think?
So, you’ve done everything right. The box is the perfect size, you chose the best unscented litter with a texture kitty loves and placed it in a quiet location, but kitty’s still Inappropriately Eliminating. Here are a few tips to get kitty and their pee and poop back in the box where it belongs. Do Not Punish kitty!!! Remember, all successful Training is about Positive Reinforcement, Repetition and Rewards. First things first. Clean the area well with an odor neutralizing cleaner. You don’t want to mask the odor, but eliminate it altogether. Take kitty to the VET to rule out any medical reasons such as Urinary Tract Infections, Kidney or Bladder Stones, etc. If kitty gets an all clear, try placing a litterbox over the area kitty is using temporarily to entice kitty to use it. Sprinkle a litter attractant, catnip, silvervine or valerian on the litter and the lip of the litterbox. If you see kitty start to use the floor, say in a firm voice, “NO” and move kitty to the litterbox. Each time you see kitty use the box, praise them and reward them with hugs or treats. Always set kitty up for success and you’ll have a much happier home. Remember, you might like the scent of all those scented litters, but you’re not the one trapped inside a small enclosure with them. The litterbox should be attractive to kitty, not necessarily you.
Litter Robot Open Air III with Garfield Cat Litter.
Whew, That’s a lot of infurmation and we just barely scratched the surface. MOL But, we’ve got a give away to get too. So, tell us ‘bout your litterbox or favorite litter in the comments and then paw the Enter Here graphic fur your chance to win a bag of Garfield Cat Litter fur yourself. And don’t furget, you can ketch up on any post you may have missed by clicking the links below. Send your questions to us by commenting below or sending us an email.
Don’t furget the Blessing Train sissy. Our blessing today is the wonderful companies that allow us to pass a blessing along thru give aways. And, a pawsum mommy who cares more ‘bout us likin’ our litterbox than her.
Till the next time………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Dezi: Vibrant Blue
Raena: Navy Blue
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle