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Litter Box Problems?

According to the ASPCA, at least ten percent of all cats develop elimination problems. Some stop using the box altogether. Some only use their boxes for urination or defecation but not for both. Still others eliminate both in and out of their boxes.


Elimination problems can develop as a result of conflict between multiple cats in a home, as a result of a dislike for the litter-box type or the litter itself, as a result of a past medical condition, or as a result of the cat deciding she doesn’t like the location or placement of the litter box. Unfortunately, once a cat avoids her litter box for whatever reason, her avoidance can become a chronic problem because the cat can develop a surface or location preference for elimination, and this preference might be to your living room rug or your favorite easy chair.


The best approach to dealing with these problems is to prevent them before they happen by making your cat’s litter boxes as cat-friendly as possible. It is also important that you pay close attention to your cat’s elimination habits so that you can identify problems in the making. If your cat does eliminate outside her box, you must act quickly to resolve the problem before she develops a strong preference for eliminating on an unacceptable surface or in an unacceptable area.
The first step in resolving elimination outside the litter box is to rule out urine marking and medical problems. Bring your cat in to see one of our experienced veterinarians so that your cat can be checked thoroughly to rule out any potential medical problems. Once the veterinarian determines that your cat doesn’t have a medical condition or issue, try following these guidelines recommended by the ASPCA:
  • Provide enough litter boxes. Make sure you have one for each cat in your household, plus one extra. For example, if you have three cats, you’ll need a minimum of four litter boxes.
  • Place litter boxes in accessible locations, away from high-traffic areas and away from areas where the cat might feel trapped. If you live in a multistory residence, you may need to provide a litter box on each level. Keep boxes away from busy, loud or intimidating places, like next to your washer and dryer or next to your dog’s food and water bowls, or in areas where there’s a lot of foot traffic.
  • Put your cat’s food bowls somewhere other than right next to her litter box.
  • Remove covers and liners from all litter boxes.
  • Give your cat a choice of litter types. Cats generally prefer clumping litter with a medium to fine texture. Use unscented litter. Offer different types of litter in boxes placed side-by-side to allow your cat to show you her preference.
  • Scoop at least once a day. Once a week, clean all litter boxes with warm water and unscented soap, baking soda or no soap, and completely replace the litter. The problem with scented cleaners is that your cat could develop an aversion to the scent.
  • Clean accidents thoroughly with an enzymatic cleanser designed to neutralize pet odors. You can find this kind of cleaner at most pet stores.
  • If your cat soils in just a few spots, place litter boxes there. If it’s not possible to put a box in a spot where your cat has eliminated, place her food bowl, water bowl, bed or toys in that area to discourage further elimination.
  • Make inappropriate elimination areas less appealing. Try putting regular or motion-activated lights in dark areas. You can also make surfaces less pleasant to stand on by placing upside-down carpet runners, tin foil or double-sided sticky tape in the area where your cat has eliminated in the past.

Neuter and Spay Q&A

Why are some spays/neuters more costly while others are so "cheap?"
Here at HVH we highly recommend blood work, particularly clotting analysis testing, to be done before all surgical procedures, especially those that require any kind of anesthesia. We also offer pain management, including laser therapy, as numerous studies have shown that pets, just like humans, heal faster when they’re relieved from pain.

Why is blood work so important?
Before placing your pet under anesthesia, it is important to identify any health issues that may make anesthesia more risky. The comprehensive physical exam we perform before surgery can identify many concerns but blood testing can identify infections, organ dysfunction and other conditions that are not apparent through physical exam. Blood work provides a way to assess kidney and liver function, which is particularly important as the liver and kidneys are the primary routes that the anesthetics are broken down and removed from the body.

Remember to always do your research when comparing prices for spays and neuters. After all, pets are family!
Veterinary holding cat

Wellness Checkups

Remember that pets need year-round care and not just when physical symptoms exist. Often times physical symptoms surface only when an injury/ailment has advanced. It is also a great way to ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Schedule an appoint for a wellness checkup today for your furry loved one by calling us at (859) 635-3783

Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract Litter.

Dr. Bruce Elsey has been a feline only veterinarian for over 35 years and his practice cares for over 8000 cats. Non-use of the litter box is the number one behavioral reason cats are abused, abandoned and placed in shelters. Dr. Elsey’s goal is to provide products that help cats live happier, healthier lives and provide litter box solutions for the life of your cat.

Cat Attract ™ is the only litter designed for cats that do not consistently use their litter box. Cat Attract ™ has a free Dr. Elsey solution booklet that gives you answers to solve your cats litter box aversion.

The Precious Cat product line includes problem cat and kitten training litters Cat Attract™ and Kitten Attract™, Ultra Litter Attractant, Precious Cat Classic, Precious Cat Ultra, Precious Cat Senior and Long Hair litters, Respiratory Relief litter and Touch of Outdoors™.

Read the testimony below written by a Heineke Veterinary Hospital client who experienced success with the use of Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter.
"My cat, Oliver, never had a problem using the litter box until recent months. From the day I rescued him as a 6 month old kitten, he always knew exactly where he was supposed to go to do is "business." About 3 months ago, however, I noticed that he started defecating outside his litter box. It was never in random corners or on furniture; he would always leave me a little surprise right outside his litter box, just next to it. Urination was never a problem at all - he still continued urinating in his litter box. So I started monitoring his behavior when he was go to his litter box. I noticed that he would get in his litter box, dig as if he was about to go, then he would jump out of the litter box and squat right next to it. This really confused me. So I started trying different things in hopes of resolving this issue. I first added an additional litter box - he had a total of 3 (and he was the only cat in the household). This didn't work. I then bought all new litter boxes of a larger size - still no improvements. I put them in different, more discrete locations - still finding little surprises every day. Lastly, I read about Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter on Amazon and read it's raving reviews from other users. I bought a bag that same day, and he immediately started using the litter box. He hasn't had a single incident outside the litter box since! I'm so glad I tried Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter and would recommend it to anyone having litter box aversion problems!"

Click here for a list of stores where you can purchase Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter. Visit the website to find coupons and a rebate for your first bag.
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