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Keeping kitty litterbox happy
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When Shakespeare wrote, “There are more things in heaven, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” surely he didn’t have litter boxes in mind. But who am I to assume what was in the Bard’s mind at that inspired moment?

What I can tell you is, he summed up a huge problem related to litter boxes and their use, even if he didn’t know it.

The most horribly frequent reason for cats to face euthanasia in the United States aside from homelessness is called “inappropriate urination.”

So the situation begs the question of why the cat suddenly is boycotting the socially accepted potty. It usually boils down to this: The litter box isn’t as attractive as it used to be. Draw what conclusions you may regarding loyalty and the feline personality, but remember, cats are not humans. If the humans in the household have fallen short in their responsibilities regarding cleaning the litter box, the cat will likely be affected much sooner than the humans. And when the litter box is slightly dirty to a human, it’s filthy to a cat.

Many surfaces we think smell clean enough to eat off may in fact smell like a port-a-potty to a cat. Keep this in mind when you wonder about your cat’s choice of urination site.

Recommendations for litter box hygiene include:

Using a litter than can be scooped and scooping it at least daily, if not twice a day. Complete changing of litter at least weekly (dumping the full box and refilling.)

Changing the box itself at least yearly, if not every 6 months. This is because of microscopic scrapes that can retain odor despite new litter.

Have at least one box per cat, per floor of the house.

These are the ways to keep your box looking nice to kitty.

So remember, as with all relationships, understanding is what makes it work with your cat. If you notice a potty problem, jump on it fast so it doesn’t become a habit. Remember, there are things dreamt of in cat philosophies that humans can barely understand.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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