Urinary Blockages in Cats

Urinary Blockages in Cats

By Jennifer Coates, DVM

One of the biggest emergencies that pet parents can face is urinary blockage in cats. Treatment often involves a panicked trip to the veterinary clinic (usually at the least convenient time possible) and hospitalization for the intensive care and monitoring needed to save the cat’s life.

 

If your cat has blocked once, he is at high risk for it happening again. So whether you’re looking to prevent a recurrence or to protect your cat from every having to experience this condition in the first place, it’s important to be informed about ways to prevent urinary blockages in cats.

 

What Causes Urinary Blockages in Cats?

 

Urinary blockages (also called urinary obstructions) are usually caused by plugs of proteinaceous sludge, crystals and/or small stones that become lodged within a cat’s urethra—the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside of the body. Neutered males have very narrow urethras, which explains why these cats have, by far, the highest incidence of urinary blockages. Urinary obstructions can also be caused by involuntary muscular contractions called urethral spasms or, less frequently, by tumors, infections, trauma and other conditions.

 

Urinary Obstruction Symptoms

 

When a cat is blocked, he will frequently squat like he is going to pee, but little to no urine will come out. Urine continues to flow into the bladder, and the pressure and pain increase. Additionally, the toxic waste products that are supposed to exit the body in the urine begin to back up within the bloodstream leading to symptoms like lethargy, disorientation and vomiting. Without timely treatment, a cat’s bladder can eventually rupture. Needless to say, get to your veterinarian immediately if you think that your cat may be blocked.

 

How to Prevent Urinary Blockages in Cats

 

In some cases, your veterinarian may identify a particular risk factor that increases the chances that your cat will become blocked. For example, a cat who has a history of developing urinary crystals or stones made of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) will often benefit from eating a food that contains low levels of magnesium and phosphorus and promotes a urinary pH that makes it less likely that crystals will form. If your cat has a history of urinary blockages, make sure to ask your veterinarian about any specific prevention strategies that he or she can recommend.

 

If the cause of your cat’s urinary blockage can’t be identified or you simply want to prevent the condition from developing in the first place, don’t worry, you still have good options. The following three strategies will go a long way towards lowering the risk of urinary blockages in cats:

 

·         Provide enrichment. Research has shown that environmental enrichment and stress relief play a huge role in maintaining a cat’s urinary (and overall) health. Stress relief can take many forms. For example, you may need to modify your cat’s living arrangements if he is routinely fighting with other cats in your home. More generally, cats love a regular schedule so keep his routine as predictable as possible. Give your cats lots of opportunities to exercise their bodies and minds. Play with him, and purchase or make new cat toys and rotate through them regularly. Make use of food puzzles. Place perches near windows. Have lots of cat scratchers available.

·         Manage the cat litter box. You want your cat to keep his bladder as empty as possible so make his “bathrooms” pleasant and easy to access. Always have at least one more box available than the number of cats in your home and don’t place them all in one out of the way location. Keep all the boxes scrupulously clean. Determine what type of box and litter your cat likes best. Large, uncovered boxes with a deep layer of unscented, clumping litter are generally the most popular.

·         Keep your cat hydrated. You cat should be well hydrated so his urine stays dilute. Feed canned food rather than dry. Place several water bowls throughout your house and keep them clean and filled with fresh water. Some cats prefer drinking from a running source of water. An easy-to-clean cat water fountain can be an excellent investment.

 

Follow these tips and any advice from your veterinarian and you can rest assured that you’ve done everything possible to protect your cat from developing a urinary blockage.

 

Feline inappropriate elimination

Feline inappropriate elimination

By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

Feline inappropriate elimination — a fancy name for those times when kitty pees (or poops) outside the litterbox — accounts for about half of all reported behavior problems in cats. Sadly, it’s the reason pet owners give most often when they relinquish their kitty to an animal shelter. According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a professor at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and founder of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic:

“It is a cold, hard fact that cats who fail to use the litter box once a week are four times more likely to be relinquished; if they eliminate outside the litter box daily, these odds increase to over 28:1. About 4 percent of cats urinate outside the litter box weekly, and 1 percent eliminate outside the litter box daily.”1

Cats relieve themselves outside the litterbox for a number of reasons, some having to do with natural feline tendencies, and others involving their environment. Often there are both natural and situational factors underlying a problem with inappropriate elimination. The three main causes for feline inappropriate elimination are:

1.    A medical problem

2.    Urine marking

3.    Aversion to the litterbox

Estimates are that 10 to 24 percent of all kitties have an inappropriate elimination problem at some point in their lives.

Medical Conditions That Can Cause Inappropriate Elimination

If your cat suddenly forgets her manners and starts either peeing or pooping outside the litterbox — especially if she starts using the bathtub or a sink instead —the first thing I recommend is a visit to your veterinarian. There are a number of medical conditions that can contribute to inappropriate elimination, including feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), urinary tract infection, cystitis, obstruction of the urethra, diabetes, cognitive dysfunction and hyperthyroidism.

Diagnosing and treating an underlying medical condition is extremely important to your kitty’s health and to resolving inappropriate elimination behavior. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam, and order a complete blood count, a blood chemistry profile, a urinalysis and check the thyroid if your cat is older. If the problem involves pooping outside the box, a fecal sample will be taken.

If your cat gets a clean bill of health from the vet but is a senior or geriatric kitty, it’s possible the aging process is causing changes in her elimination habits. For example, does she have to climb stairs to get to the litterbox? Is the box easy for her to get into and out of? It can be challenging to determine if a cat is uncomfortable or in pain. If your older cat is otherwise healthy but could be experiencing joint pain, make sure you’re doing all you can to make it easy for her to use her litterbox.

Urine Marking

Urine marking can be hormonally driven, but it’s most often the result of a natural system of feline communication, or stress. Both male and female cats spray, as do both neutered and intact cats. However, neutered cats spray less, and neutering can reduce or eliminate spraying in some cases.

Kitties who urine-mark generally use the litterbox normally, but also perform marking behaviors. Some cats do both house soiling and urine marking, but it’s easy to tell the difference between the two once you know what to look for.

Urine marking, when it takes the form of spraying, typically happens on vertical surfaces. However, some cats urine-mark on horizontal surfaces, which can make it more difficult to determine whether you have a marking problem or a house-soiling problem. Where your cat marks is of primary significance. Generally speaking:

·         If he marks under windows or on baseboards, he may perceive a threat from animals outside, usually other cats

·         If he marks on or near furniture or doors inside your home, he might be having problems with other cats in the household

·         If your cat marks personal belongings, such as clothes, bed linens, a favorite chair or a computer keyboard, he’s probably experiencing some anxiety about the human who owns those things

Other places cats are known to urine-mark are on shopping bags just coming into the house, heating registers and household appliances.

Resolving urine marking involves identifying and addressing the source of your kitty’s stress. When did the marking begin, and what was happening in your cat’s environment at that time? Just as cats favor certain scratching surfaces, they also return to the same spot to urine-mark. You’ll need to use an enzyme-based product for cleanups to remove stains and odor.

You might also want to spray a synthetic pheromone like Feliway on kitty’s favorite marking spots. Cats also “mark” by rubbing their cheeks against objects (for example, the top of their human’s head), and Feliway may encourage your cat to mark with his cheeks instead of his urine.

It’s important to note that urine marking can be difficult to manage, as often the root cause, if determined, can’t be resolved completely. And sometimes despite addressing all possibilities, cats still mark. 

One option is talking to an animal communicator, like Diane Weinmann to understand the underlying problems your kitty has.

Litterbox Aversion

Cats who are happy with their bathrooms behave more or less like this:

·         Approach and jump or climb into the box without hesitating

·         Take a little time to poke around and choose a good spot

·         Dig a hole

·         Turn around and do their business

·         Inspect the result and then cover it up with litter

Cats who are developing a litterbox aversion may approach it tentatively. They may balance on the side of the box or put only two feet in. They may actually use the litter, but immediately leap from the box when finished. Worst case they may walk to the box, sniff at it, turn, walk away — and eliminate elsewhere. Pooping outside the box, but very close to it, is almost always a litterbox aversion problem.

Your cat can decide she doesn’t like her litterbox for any number of reasons. Perhaps it isn’t being cleaned frequently, or not frequently enough for her comfort. Maybe she’s sensitive to a chemical used to clean the box, or perhaps she’s not fond of a box with a hood. The box may be in a noisy or high-traffic location, or where another pet in the household can trap her in there.

Tackling Kitty’s Litterbox Aversion

Extra boxes for multi-cat households. If you have multiple cats, you may need to add more boxes. The general guideline is one box per cat, and one extra.

Litter preference. It could be kitty doesn’t like the type of litter in the box, or it’s not deep enough (4 inches is recommended). You can discover your pet’s litter preference by buying the smallest amount available of several kinds of litter, and several inexpensive litterboxes. Place the boxes with different litters side by side and see which box gets used most often.

Studies on the types of litter cats prefer show they are quite particular about particle size. The cat’s evolutionary substrate, for potty purposes, is sand. When kitties started living indoors, clay litter came along and most cats were okay with it. But clay has its own issues, as do corn- and wheat-based litters.

These days, there’s a wide selection of organic and natural types of litters on the market, but many of them feature big particle sizes, which don’t appeal to most cats. Kitties also don’t like synthetic scents or odor control additives in their litter. The litter I use for my own cats is our own Biocharged Kitty Litter made with organic biochar. Biochar has a large surface area and is a recalcitrant, which means the charcoal itself holds onto things such as water and smells.

Our litter has incredible clumping properties, which means it lasts longer and there’s less total wetness and mess. It’s also 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. And it’s entirely fragrance-free, because the carbon helps to lock in odors.

Litterbox location. Find locations for litterboxes that are somewhat out of the way, and away from noisy household machinery and appliances. Choose warm locations in the house rather than the basement or garage. And make sure boxes aren’t close to kitty’s food or water bowls.

Litterbox cleanliness. Boxes should be kept scrupulously clean. They should be scooped at least once a day and more often if you’re dealing with a potential litterbox aversion situation. Dump all the used litter every two to four weeks (I recommend every two weeks, minimum), sanitize the box with soap and warm water (no chemicals), dry thoroughly and add fresh litter. Plastic litterboxes should be replaced every year or two.

To review, litter box aversion can usually be resolved by:

·         Determining the type of litter and litter box your kitty prefers

·         Using the right amount of litter (4 inches, minimum, at all times)

·         Keeping the boxes scooped, and doing a thorough cleaning at least every two weeks

·         Having enough boxes and locating them in safe, easy-to-access locations

Diane has encountered many litter box issues in her 20 years as an animal communicator.  Many litterbox problems are related to changes in the household, cleanliness and actual litter preference.  Please note that sometimes cats change their mind about the preference of litter they like so the tried and true litter you’ve used for years may not cut it any longer.  Contact Diane at Dianefortheloveofanimals@yahoo.com to schedule an animal communication session.

 

Cats and Urine Accidents

Cats and Urine Accidents

By Dr. Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

On occasion (and in some cases, more than occasionally), cat urine winds up somewhere other than the litterbox — usually on a soft absorbent surface like carpeting, an area rug, a pile of clothes or even your bed.

Obviously, this is a problem that must be tackled from a few different angles, the most important of which is to sort out why little Fluffy isn’t confining her potty habits to her litterbox. There are a number of reasons she might relieve herself outside the box. Here are a few of the most common:

• The box isn’t scooped and/or disinfected often enough. Cats are fastidious creatures who don’t enjoy a dirty, stinky bathroom any more than we do. That’s why you must be extremely disciplined about scooping the box. As in, once or twice a day scooping of all poop and urine clumps.

Also remove any litter stuck to the sides or bottom of the box with a damp paper towel. Dry the area thoroughly before scooping dry litter back over it. Keeping the sides and floor of the box clean and dry may help extend the time between full box clean-outs. Dispose of all used litter and clean the box at least weekly.

It’s important to wash the litterbox thoroughly to remove as much odor as possible so your cat doesn’t get turned off by the smell and decide not to use it. Wash the box using hot water and fragrance-free soap. Avoid scented cleaners and products containing potential toxins.

• Your cat doesn’t like your choice of litter or the box is in a high-traffic area or is difficult to get into or out of

• She has a medical condition like FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease), or another chronic illness

• Your kitty is a senior citizen or is experiencing cognitive decline

If your cat suddenly starts peeing outside her well-maintained litterbox and you haven’t moved the box or changed the type of litter she prefers, I recommend making an appointment with your veterinarian to check for an underlying physical or cognitive issue that may be contributing to the problem.

How to Pinpoint Where Your Cat’s Been Peeing

The next thing you’ll want to do is to get rid of urine odors for your own sanity, and so your kitty won’t continually return to the scene of the crime and reoffend. Some people tend to believe cat urine smells worse or is harder to extinguish than the urine of other animals, but I’m not convinced.

Often when a cat urinates outside the litterbox, no one notices right away because it’s a small spot that dries quickly or it’s somewhat hidden. As the bacteria in the urine decomposes, it gives off that telltale ammonia-like odor we all know and don’t love. Older kitties whose kidneys aren’t working at 100 percent efficiency can have more potent-smelling urine than younger cats, as well as intact males whose urine contains testosterone.

If you discover your cat has been peeing in a spot outside his litterbox, it’s a good idea to find out if he’s doing it in other areas of the house as well. The quickest way to do this is with a black light. Urine stains appear in a lovely shade of neon green when illuminated with a black light, so darken your house and walk around shining the light on floors, baseboards and anywhere there are suspicious stains or smells.

Once you find he definitely is urinating outside his box you need to determine why.  A vet visit may be in order or you may have a kitty with an emotional issue.  If this is the case, you can call Diane Weinmann, an animal communicator to obtain info from your cat as to why a change has occurred. Contact Diane at Dianefortheloveofanimals@yahoo.com.

Removing Urine Stains and Smells

For dried urine spots, treatment will depend on the type of surface you’re dealing with. Hard materials such as tile, wood flooring and baseboards can be cleaned using a safe, natural solution like 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water, or undiluted white vinegar. Liberally spray the solution on the urine stain, wipe and repeat as often as necessary to eliminate any lingering odor. If the smell remains despite your best efforts, I recommend purchasing an enzyme-based cleaner as described below and re-treating the area(s).

Cleaning carpeting, upholstery or another absorbent surface requires a bit more effort. Cat urine is composed of several different chemicals, strains of bacteria and other substances. And while natural cleaners like hydrogen peroxide, vinegar or baking soda can deal with some urine odors, they don’t deal with them all.

That’s why it’s important to have an enzyme cleaner on hand to deal with the uric acid in cat urine stains. Take these steps to thoroughly clean urine stains and odors from carpets, rugs and other absorbent surfaces:

1. If the spot is still wet, use paper towels or another absorbent material like a rag or cloth and blot up as much of the urine as possible before moving to step 2.

2. Pour plain water over the spot and soak up the moisture, again using clean, white cloths or paper towels — continue blotting until no yellow appears on the towels.

3. Saturate the spot with a commercially available enzyme-based “digester” solution and let it sit for the prescribed amount of time. Thoroughly saturate the soiled areas, including carpet padding, if you suspect the urine has soaked all the way through.

4. Use more clean paper towels to blot up as much moisture as you can and then allow the spot to air-dry. Protecting the just-treated area is a good idea to prevent humans from walking through it and kitty from finding it and re-soiling. You can place aluminum foil loosely over the spots or use upside-down laundry baskets, bowls, baking sheets or similar items.

If the urine spot has been there awhile, you may need to repeat the last two steps at least once. Depending on the scope of the problem, be prepared to make this a multi-week project as you soak the spots, blot them, allow them to dry and then repeat the process as many times as necessary to completely remove stains and odor.

Additional Suggestions

Do yourself a favor and DO NOT make the mistake of using any old carpet-cleaning product you have on hand instead of a specialized pet formula. The products sold specifically for pet messes contain bacteria and enzyme digesters that are extremely effectively at eliminating stains and odor in both carpet and padding, without damaging or discoloring most flooring materials.

If you try something else on the spot first, then use a specialized pet formula, you may not get the same good result you can achieve using the pet product only. Also, no matter how bad the stain may look or smell when you discover it, resist the urge to use a harsh scrubbing motion to remove the spot, as this can quickly destroy the texture of your carpet or rug, and scrubbing really isn’t necessary.

If you’re patient and follow the steps listed above for stain removal, even if you have to repeat the process a few times to get all the stain out, there’s a very good chance you won’t notice the spot after it dries thoroughly. Even light-colored carpeting and rugs can be returned to good condition with the right cleaning agent and technique.

Once the urine is completely removed from a spot your cat has repeatedly soiled, try applying a few drops of a pure essential oil (I’ve used lemon, tangerine and lavender) on the area as a deterrent.

Unfortunately, urine occasionally soaks all the way through carpet and padding into the subfloor. If you can’t get rid the smell despite all your best cleaning efforts, you’ll need to remove that area of carpet and padding, neutralize the odor with an oil-based, stain-blocking primer on the subfloor and then replace the padding and carpet.

 

Cats that Eliminate outside their Litter Box

By Dr. Becker and Diane Weinmanncat litter box covered

At some point in their lives, many kitties do something their humans find quite repulsive – they pee outside the litterbox. (Some cats also poop outside the box, but this is a much less common problem.) Even worse, for reasons known only to them, some kitties turn their owner’s bed into a second bathroom.

And let’s face it – there are few things as unnerving as waking up in a puddle of piddle left by your loving kitty.

But all joking aside, feline house soiling is such a widespread problem that it is the number one reason cats are banished to the outdoors, dropped off at animal shelters, or even euthanized. Additionally, this is the number one reason why clients call Diane, an animal communicator, to determine the root of the problem as many times it is emotionally based. That’s why it’s important to address a litterbox issue as soon as it occurs.

If Kitty is Relieving Herself Outside the Litterbox, There’s a Reasoncat lines up to go

Cats adapt quickly to using a litterbox because their natural instinct is to eliminate in a substrate (earthy material) that allows them to bury their urine and feces.

Domesticated cats descended from African wildcats for which the desert served as a giant cat box. Modern-day felines are probably attracted to litter because it’s the closest substrate to sand they can find inside a house.

It’s also the nature of cats to bury their feces in their urine, and wet desert sand is the perfect substrate. This is likely why most domesticated kitties prefer clumping litter to other varieties. Although, I have had cats tell me, as an animal communicator, that they do not like the pebbles in their toes especially as they get older and are less able to groom themselves correctly.

Since it’s entirely natural for your cat to seek out her litterbox to eliminate in, you should immediately assume something is haywire if she chooses another location to relieve herself.

It’s is not entirely misguided to suspect your feline companion has suddenly developed anger issues or an attitude problem—because I have found through my animal communication business that sometimes this is indeed what is going on. But—I always recommend that vet care be sought out to determine if any physical reasons exist for your cat’s behavior before assuming they are mad that you moved the furniture or got another pet.

First Stop: Your Veterinarian’s Office

Any behavior change in a cat is the first sign (and often the only sign) of a medical condition, so if your kitty has started relieving himself in inappropriate places, you’ll want to rule out a health problem first.

Urinating outside the litterbox is one of the primary symptoms of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is a very common condition in cats. Other signs your pet might have this problem include:

  • Frequent or prolonged attempts to urinate
  • Straining to urinate
  • Crying out while urinating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Excessive licking of the genital area

Any kitty can develop a lower urinary tract disorder, but it’s most commonly seen in cats who are middle-aged, use an indoor litterbox exclusively, eat a kibble only diet, don’t get enough exercise and are overweight, and who are stressed by their environment.

If you suspect your cat might have a lower urinary tract infection, it’s important to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

If your cat isn’t passing urine, a situation more commonly seen in males than females but can happen to either sex, this is a life-threatening medical emergency and you should seek immediate care.

Once a kitty’s urethra is blocked, the kidneys can no longer do their job. This can lead to uremia, a ruptured bladder, as well as organ failure and death within just a day or two.

Besides lower urinary tract disorders, other medical conditions that can contribute to inappropriate elimination include diabetes, cognitive dysfunction, and hyperthyroidism.

Is the Problem Actually Urine Marking?cat sitting in litter box

Another common reason cats pee outside the litterbox is to urine mark. Kitties who urine mark generally use the litterbox normally, but also perform marking behaviors. Some cats do both house soiling and urine marking.

It’s easy to tell the difference between the two once you know what to look for. Urine marking, when it takes the form of spraying, happens on vertical surfaces.

Urine marking can be hormonally driven, but more often it’s the result of a natural system of feline communication, or stress. Examples of common kitty stressors include:

  • The addition or loss of a pet or human family member
  • Changes in the daily routine brought on by a change in work hours, illness, etc.
  • A neighbor’s cat or a stray in your yard or around the outside of your home
  • Illness of another cat in the home, or a change in the relationship between cats
  • Aggression between cats

 

Both male and female cats spray, as do both neutered and intact cats. However, neutered cats spray less, and neutering can reduce or eliminate spraying in some cases.

But some cats urine mark on horizontal surfaces, which can make it more difficult to determine whether you have a marking problem or a house soiling problem.

Where your cat marks can provide clues, for example:

  • If he marks under windows or on baseboards, he may perceive a threat from animals outside – usually other cats
  • If he marks on or near furniture or doors inside your home, he might be having problems with other cats in the household
  • If your cat marks personal belongings – clothes, bed linens, a favorite chair or a computer keyboard – he may have some anxiety about the human who owns those things

Tackling Urine Marking

Resolving urine marking involves identifying and addressing the source of your cat’s stress. When did the marking begin, and what was happening in her environment at that time? Just as cats favor certain scratching surfaces, they also return to the same spot to urine mark. Diane’s cat was traumatized when he ran into the basement that was all ripped up due to a water problem (basement was excavated). He took one look at what he considered his safe haven and started spraying on my custom made drapes in my living room. He was a fixed male and this issue did not resolve until we moved!

You’ll need to use an enzyme-based product for clean ups to remove stains and odor.

You might also want to spray a synthetic pheromone called Feliway on kitty’s favorite marking spots. Cats also “mark” by rubbing their cheeks against objects (they do it to you when they rub against you), and Feliway may encourage your cat to mark with his cheeks instead of his urine. Cases of urine marking can be quite difficult to manage, as often the root cause, if determined, can’t be resolved completely. And sometimes despite addressing all possibilities, cats still mark. As I mentioned above, when we moved the situation solved itself.

Litterbox Aversion

A third very common reason for inappropriate elimination in cats is distaste for the litterbox. Kitties who are comfortable with their bathroom arrangement typically approach and jump or climb into the box without hesitation; take a little time to poke around and choose a good spot; dig a hole; turn around and do their business; inspect the result and then cover it up with litter.

Cats who are unhappy with their litterbox may approach it tentatively. They may balance on the side of the box or put only two feet in. They may actually use the litter, but immediately leap from the box when finished. Worst case they may walk to the box, sniff it, turn, walk away … and jump up on your bed to urinate. I have seen this quite a lot in my animal communication business.

Pooping outside the box, but very close to the box, is almost always a litterbox aversion problem. Kitties develop litterbox loathing for a number of reasons. Perhaps your cat’s box isn’t being cleaned frequently, or frequently enough to meet her standards.

Maybe she’s sensitive to a chemical used to clean the box, or perhaps she’s not fond of a box with a hood. The box may be in a noisy or high traffic location, or where another pet in the household can trap kitty in there. Aroma is a deciding factor for many cats. Whether they can smell of the litter itself or another cat in the household has used a specific cat’s perceived box –either way, they chose to not use one particular box anymore.

How to Cure Litterbox Aversioncat using litter box

If you have multiple cats, you may need to add more boxes. The general guideline is one box per cat, and one extra. If your house has more than one floor, you should have at least one box per floor. This has worked in most situations and I find when you put each box on a different floor or location it helps the individual cat know which one they can use.

It could be kitty doesn’t like the type of litter in the box, or it’s not deep enough (four inches is recommended). You can discover your pet’s litter preference by buying the smallest amount available of several kinds of litter (unscented, different particle sizes, and made from different materials), and several inexpensive litterboxes. In my business, I’ve had cats tell me that they didn’t like the pebbles in their toes!

 

Place the boxes with different litters side by side and see which box gets used most often.  This works very well and allowing the cat to pick their choices. Once you’ve discovered your cat’s litter preference, you can donate the remaining litter and extra boxes to your local shelter or cat rescue organization.

Find locations for litterboxes that are somewhat out of the way, and away from noisy household machinery and appliances. Choose warm locations in the house rather than the basement or garage. And make sure boxes aren’t close to kitty’s food or water bowls.

Boxes should be kept scrupulously clean. They should be scooped at least once a day and more often if you’re dealing with a potential litterbox aversion situation. Dump all the used litter every two to four weeks (I recommend every two weeks, minimum), sanitize the box with soap and warm water, dry thoroughly and add fresh litter. Watch the cleaning products you use—vinegar and water is probably best to eliminate the likelihood of your kitty to be repulsed by the lingering smell of the cleaner. Just remember –cat’s noses are very sensitive! Plastic litterboxes should be replaced every year or two.

I hope all these ideas serve to keep you and your kitties happy and eliminating in the appropriate place but if not, please call me or another animal communicator to get down to the fundamentals of what is bothering your beloved cat!