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Expert Q&A

How can I best clean up litter box mistakes so that my cat won’t revisit the wrong area again?

How can I best clean up litter box mistakes so that my cat won’t revisit the wrong area again?

BY: The Daily Cat experts

Few things are as troublesome to a cat owner as a litter box miss. Some cats will then repeat the error time and again, turning the mistake spot into a new litter destination.

Only the cat knows exactly why the change was made, but usually a handful of reasons can explain the problem. According to The Humane Society of the United States, “Location, location, location!” is a buzz phrase for not only human real estate, but also what your cat values about its litter box. Make sure the box is in a safe, quiet and fully accessible area. If your cat is elderly, use a box with low sides. If you have more than one cat, each feline should have its own box. (You should also add an extra box for good measure.)

Keep the box very clean. A lot of people use scoop-able litter now and just scoop it out every few days. I advise cleaning it twice a day or more as needed. When you set up your box, use a plastic liner. Place a paper shopping bag at the bottom over that; this will help prevent your cat from scratching through the plastic. Put another liner over everything and then fill with your cat’s favorite litter.

I like to place the filled box over some sheets of newspaper on a much larger plastic bag, all of which can help catch spills and will make cleanup easier. None of these things, however, will save you should your cat go on the carpet, furniture or some other spot. If that problem happens repeatedly, take your cat for a veterinary visit to rule out any underlying health issues.

For cleaning such “whoops” areas, wipe the spot completely with a plain, dry cloth or paper towel. Next, use a cleanser with bio-enzymatic ingredients. These help break apart the protein bonds that can so tenaciously remain. They also usually leave behind a fresh citrus scent. (An added plus is that cats dislike the smell of citrus even though we humans enjoy it.)

Wall-to-wall carpeting and cat mistakes, such as the above, aren’t usually a great combo. It is hard to fully clean carpeting and fabric furniture since the protein waste sinks into the material and cannot easily be cleaned off. Mop-up jobs will be much more successful if you do not have carpeting. If you do, you might have to block off the troublesome area. Make sure it completely dries, down to the padding and under-floor, after cleaning. Dampness can encourage bacterial growth, compounding the problem.

Photo: Corbis Images

Tags: cat care

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