Is Your Cat Mistaking Your Bed For The Litterbox?
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Fewer things are more annoying than flopping on your bed after a long day, and realizing that it’s been peed on by your kitty.
Awful as it may sound, cats usually have very genuine reasons to use your bed as their litterbox. Read on to know more.1
1. Does Your Cat Have A Faulty Bladder?
Before you go chiding your cat, you may want to rule out any medical issues that may have caused her to behave this way.
A urinary tract infection or kidney stones, for instance, are painful conditions resulting in inflammation of the bladder and a strong urge in your cat to pee frequently.
Sometimes, a stressor in the environment may result in a hormonal or chemical imbalance in your cat resulting in what is termed as idiopathic cystitis, an inflammation of your cat’s bladder, which again causes pain and a constant urge to pee.
When in pain while peeing, your cat may start associating the pain with the litter box, and begin avoiding it. And your soft bed with your comforting smell suddenly starts to seem like a much better option.
These illnesses can be easily ruled out by a visit to the vet and a couple of simple tests of her urine and blood. And if your cat does have any of these painful conditions, they are totally treatable.
Once you’ve ruled out any underlying medical reasons, it’s worth having a look at the other possible causes that may be causing your kitty’s unusual behavior.
2. Does Your Cat Like The Litter Box?
Cats can be pretty picky about their litter boxes. And there’s a lot that goes into making sure your feline companion approves of its toilet.
The first thing to think of, is the type of litter box you are using for your kitty and if she is comfortable using it.
To begin with, the size of the box needs to be suitable for the size of your cat. Even if it doesn’t suit your aesthetic senses much, what’s more important is your cat’s comfort in using it. Ideally, it should be 1.5 times the length of your cat. In a multi-cat household, the number of litter boxes should be enough for all the cats. The rule of thumb is, more litter boxes than the number of cats.3
The type of box you’ve chosen is also paramount. Does it have a cover? And is your cat okay with it? A lot of cats prefer an open box to a closed one. Not just because it feels cramped, but also because a closed box tends to hold the smell inside, which sometimes overwhelms the feline nose.
The location of the box is important too. Keeping the box in a noisy and exposed area will discourage your cat from using it. So will hiding it away into a cramped corner. And it’s a good idea to scatter boxes around the house if there are multiple cats in the picture. And it also helps to ensure that your kitty doesn’t have to cross other pets’ paths while making her way to the toilet.
Also, cats can be very sensitive to their litter boxes getting moved around suddenly, and expect some predictability around it.
Another important aspect to consider is – the kind of cat litter.
One of the most important things to keep in mind here, again, is to look at it from your cat’s perspective and not yours. So, although scented litter may appeal to you, it may be too overwhelming for your feline friend.
And some cats may prefer a softer, more absorbent litter compared to some others. What may help is to try two different kinds of litter and keep them in two adjacent boxes and find out what your kitty prefers.
Now that we’ve got the kitty-litter and litter-box issues out of the way, let’s understand a very primal instinct that your cat has and needs for you to respect.
A cat has an instinctive need to cover its waste so as to not attract predators. A litter-box emanating a strong odor then becomes a threat to her survival. And this can be very stressful for it to deal with.
It’s imperative then, that you check and clean the litter-box twice daily.
Also, once a month, the litter needs to be completely changed and the box scrubbed clean.
3. Other Things Weighing On Your Kitty’s Mind
If a cat feels threatened by other pets in the house, it will try and seek out elevated spaces to relieve itself, where the threat seems to be the least. And your bed, with its headboard and a soft absorbent surface, fits the bill perfectly.
4. Your Cat Might Be Suffering From Separation Anxiety
A cat may sometimes eliminate on your bed to soothe itself with your smells, in your absence. It’s just trying to find some comfort in mixing his scent with yours.
5. Your Cat Might Be Finding It Hard To Cope With Change
If there’s been a big change in the household, like a new baby, a new pet, or simply even the mess that accompanies renovation, the cat may react by eliminating in the safety and comfort of your bed.
6. Possessive About Territory
Having ruled out or taken care of medical or litter box issues, cordoning off your bedroom for a while may help. And while you’re trying to find out what’s irking your pet, what can protect your bed in the meantime is, covering it up with a plastic-like surface.
It might also help to make your bed a fun and positive place for the cat, by conducting play sessions with him or even giving him treats in that location.
If there are multiple pets in the household, it may involve a painstaking and slow process of getting your errant cat comfortable with the other pets. What might also help is increasing the resources like food bowls, litter boxes, perch locations between pets.2
If the problem is a new person, who the cat is finding difficult to accept, it may be time to set up a routine with the new person playing an active role in feeding, treat-giving and play time.
Separation anxiety, which involves your long absence, can be taken care of by making sure you spend enough one-on-one time with your cat. The cat’s environment can also be enriched with interesting and challenging toys.
If your cat is lonely, you may want to think of adopting another cat to keep your kitty company, and ensure a proper introduction, of course.
Enjoy your warm, clean bed!
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Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.