Don’t bin the litter tray!
Updated: Apr 11
Your cat is housetrained, great! They are now going outside to do their business and you want to ditch their smelly indoor loo. Don’t! Would you like to go outside if it was cold, or you feel scared to do your number 1 or 2?
Urinary problems such as cystitis, a painful bladder condition, are a common feline problem in the veterinary world. There are multiple factors leading to its manifestation, and anxiety and stress related to going to the toilet are just one, but an important one. In other articles, we will look at other ways to keep your cat’s bladder healthy. But passing urine and faeces regularly and not holding onto either due to stress is important.
Fireworks, cold weather and occasionally hot weather, a new cat in the neighbourhood or generally feeling bullied, and arthritic pain are just some of the reasons your cat may refuse to go outside and have a wee. Therefore, keeping a litter tray in the house is important. The rule is one tray per cat plus an extra. So, for 3 cats you would need to have 3 trays within the house.
Many cats like to see their surroundings when toileting. For this reason, they will not appreciate a closed litter tray. It may make things less smelly within your home, but some cats will avoid the tray as much as possible and hold onto until they can no longer. This will cause both stress and irritation to the bladder. There are exceptions to this rule, with a minority of cats preferring an enclosed space to do their business.
Elderly cats would prefer a flat tray. This tray has high sides. Cats with creaky, potentially ageing arthritic joints will not wish to climb into a tray thus potentially holding onto their bladder.
There are trays on the market that have a flat opening making stepping in easy, or you could line and use a baking tray!
Keep the litter tray in a peaceful area of the house, and make sure it is always kept clean. If your cat is urinating of defecating outside of the tray, it could be because they simply do not like the trays design so try another. Or perhaps its is they type of litter you are using. There are many on the market and cats can refer one brand over another.
So don’t bin the litter tray, it is an important part of good urinary health.
Written by veterinary surgeon Dr Sophie Bell of Animal Love Pet First Aid