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Is the Litter Box in the Right Place?

A Litter Box That’s too Close to Food

Their survival instinct tells cats not to eliminate where they eat. The last thing a cat wants is to have the scent of her waste attracting predators to where she is eating, sleeping or raising her young. The reason cats cover their waste in the litter box is rooted in that same survival instinct. Covering the waste makes it less able to be detected by predators. If you place the litter box close to the feeding station, the cat will often choose to eliminate somewhere else.

A Litter Box That’s too Inconvenient

The litter box isn’t the human family member’s favorite part of household décor. As a result, many cat parents place the litter box in the most out-of-the-way locations in the home. It gets hidden in basements, wedged in the corner of the garage or shoved into closets. Putting the litter box in the household equivalent of Siberia will often backfire on you. When your cat’s bladder is full, she’ll truly appreciate having a litter box conveniently located. This becomes even more important as your cat ages or has mobility problems. If you live in a three-story home would you like to have to travel down several sets of stairs to get to the one bathroom in the home? Probably not. Provide litter boxes that are conveniently located – and that includes providing an adequate number of boxes based on the size of your home and the number of cats in your family.

gray cat next to covered litter box

Photo: Fotolia

A Litter Box too Private

When it comes to taking care of personal business, humans definitely prefer privacy. Cats, however, don’t need as much privacy. Granted, you don’t want to place the litter box right smack in the center of the living room, but you also don’t want it so isolated that it becomes forgotten or difficult to access. Find the right balance between adequate privacy and convenience.

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A Litter Box That’s too Uncomfortable

Does your cat have to squeeze through a pet door to get to the box? Does she have to wedge herself between the tub and the toilet to gain access to the small box you’ve tucked in there? With older cats, keep in mind that arthritis or limited mobility may make it too difficult to access a litter box location that was originally fine during younger years. Make sure the box is in a location that provides comfort and ease of use. Litter box location should be about the cat’s convenience.

A Litter Box That’s in a Noisy Location

Just as you don’t want to locate a box in an extremely remote area of the house, you also don’t want to go to the other extreme and put the box in a high-traffic area. Your cat doesn’t want to be in the middle of personal duties in the box while the children are running around just inches away or the family dog is barking at her. Just as in the paragraph on privacy, provide a healthy balance.

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