Cat Tips

Animal shelters must screen their cats for health and temperament, whereas pet adoption ads posted on the Web or in newspapers by individuals are usually unregulated. Adopting a new cat from a shelter is therefore often the best, safest option.

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Expert Q&A

My 5-year-old cat has decided to eliminate in places other than the litter box, including the kitchen cabinet. He is not an only cat but has never had a problem before. What should I do?

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Your concern, both for your cat and your kitchen cabinet, is understandable! The problem does not revolve around your cat’s attraction to your kitchen cabinet but instead has to do with why your cat is rejecting the previously established litter box.

First, if you haven’t already done so, schedule a visit with your veterinarian to rule out health problems that can cause a cat to reject the litter box. These may include urinary tract or bladder issues, infections, medications, parasites and more. Elderly cats often get arthritis or other age-related health problems that can affect litter box usage, but since your cat is only 5, these problems are most likely not the case.

Make sure each of your cats has its own clean litter box. Frequently scoop the boxes clean and change the litter as directed by the manufacturer. If you’ve recently changed litter brands, your cat may not like the new litter’s smell or texture.

Finally, you can retrain your cat to use his litter box by keeping your pet in its own comfy, closed-off room for a few days. Make sure the room contains food, water, his favorite toys and scratchers, and of course, a clean litter box. Without access to your kitchen cabinet and no other attractive options in sight, he should get into the habit of using his box again. Use this time to also thoroughly clean your kitchen cabinet so your cat won’t recognize his scent there when he’s allowed back into the rest of your home.

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