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Cat Tips

If your cat seems bored with its food, offer a wet food with a different texture and flavor. Experiment by placing a few different types side by side to see which one your cat likes best.

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Expert Q&A

Someone told me that I should never clean up cat litter box spills with ammonia-containing products. Why is that?

Someone told me that I should never clean up cat litter box spills with ammonia-containing products. Why is that?

BY: Brad Kloza

In general, cats are quite fastidious animals. If something doesn’t smell right to them, they tend to avoid it. This mindset extends to their litter box habits.

Ammonia is a colorless yet strong-smelling compound of hydrogen and nitrogen. Cat urine contains this compound -- it’s a byproduct of metabolism. That’s one reason cat urine is so pungent. It can even make your eyes tear and your throat burn when inhaled, just as ammonia can. Cats suffering from certain renal diseases tend to have more ammonia in their urine than do other healthy felines.

If you use an ammonia-containing cleaner, your cat will likely think its litter box is very dirty. Your pet may then avoid the box, choose another place to go -- your favorite carpet, bathroom mat or anywhere else that seems tidier to your cat.

Other strong-scented cleaners can also put off cats. It’s better to wrap your cat’s litter box in a disposable plastic bag or two. I like to place a paper bag between the plastic layers, with newspaper lined around the box. If you need to clean the box itself, try bleach diluted with water. Just be sure to thoroughly rinse off the disinfectant and allow the box to dry before your cat uses it.

Brad Kloza is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Discover. He is a frequent contributor to The Daily Cat.


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