Has your whole house suddenly turned into a giant litter box? If your senior cat is suddenly using your bathroom mat or a kitchen corner as an impromptu litter box, he's sending you a message. Rather than being upset about the "presents" around the house, find out what's going on.
Start with a trip to the vet. Cats are very clean animals and they're not going to start peeing around the house just because they feel like it. In many cases, refusing to use the litter box has a medical cause. Senior cats urinate more frequently and are more prone to developing kidney problems, urinary tract infections and even diabetes. Dealing with the problem might solve the soiling issue as well.
Change the litter more often. If your senior cat is going to the bathroom twice as much as he used to, it means you need to change the litter twice as often. Cats might end up creating makeshift litter boxes around the house if the litter is dirty. Even better, get your cat a second littler box and place it somewhere else in the house. If he has a senior moment -- yes, cats can suffer from dementia -- and forgets where one is located, he's still likely to run into the second one.
Think like a senior citizen. If you had arthritis, would you want to climb into a high litter box? Neither does your cat, so switch to a flatter one. If getting to the litter box requires climbing stairs, jumping into the bathtub or some other mighty requirement, you might be asking too much of your senior cat. Make it easy for him to access the litter box.
- Senior cats can turn finicky and suddenly decide they don't like the way the litter feels on their toes. Try changing to a different texture to see if it helps. You can find everything from sand-like litter to litter made using recycled newspaper. There's bound to be one out there that your cat will appreciate.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.