Litter box issues are unique for long-haired cats, and if they have health issues, they are even more challenging.
Finding the right litter, litter box placement, and location are one thing, and the cats at the Paws’ household have agreed their human’s decision is OK for now. Cats can be fickle, and the decisions of today, may not be the right ones for tomorrow. Additionally, the manufacturers of cat litter are always trying to improve their products. That doesn’t necessarily always sit well with the felines or their human(s). We all know all too well, cats don’t like change.
Aging can affect litter box use
As cats age, they may develop health issues, and the litter box may become offensive if one cat is putting out too much urine or poop. That change can leave the others to find another box, making it so very important to strategically place one box plus one for the number of cats in the house.
Litter box issues are unique for long-haired cats
While covered boxes keep the poop out of sight, they are intimidating for the cats. Paws has 2 covered boxes, and 3 uncovered. However, 2 of the uncovered ones sit underneath specially made cat furniture, and the cats really like this. They have plenty of head room and the sides do not hem them in. These specially designed store-bought pieces keep the litter out of sight and give the cats ample room to do their business in privacy, but not with the fear of getting ambushed. At Paws, we strongly recommend investing in the furniture.
Litter box covers that look like furniture work well
With over 15 years of living in this house with a multiple cat family, we have learned a lot about litter boxes, and how to make them palatable the cats, while keeping the house from smelling like a litter box. We also want to be sure the cats want to use the litter box, and we have been successful at that. Our biggest challenge is the bigger cats go on the side of the box, and we have placed litter mats to catch the spatter that goes over the edge.
Make sure cats want to use the litter box
While we have a pretty god handle on those issues, there’s one that remains The Biggest Challenge. Little Yellow, an 8-year-old long-haired orange Tabby has asthma, and trying to find a litter that doesn’t have too much dust has been something the Paws’ family has been struggling with for the past 4 years. While we look for the best litter, we may change it out a bit too much, leaving Little Yellow and his 4 feline siblings a bit confused.
With his long hair, his poop will periodically get stuck on his hind legs and tail. This presents a nightmare because the poop is gets on everything his kitty body sits on. We all know cats like to be clean, and when this poop gets stuck in his fur, he freaks. He knows he’s dirty, and he wants it out. But it’s stuck. As he knows this is not ‘politically correct’ and the poop should be in the box. He becomes belligerent and scared when his human comes with a pair of scissors and a wet paper towel. He wants no part of this. The removal is not easy and can take hours of coaxing. Sometimes, he will relax enough to sit in his human’s lap, and then let he take the paper towel and start removing the poop. To say the least it’s unpleasant for him and for his Mommy.
A butt-trim might be the best option
With his health challenges, he cannot be periodically shaved because putting him under anesthesia could be dangerous. Our veterinarian has confirmed this. Every 2 to 3 months, we schedule a butt-trim. As his human is a single person, there’s no help and we aren’t going to chance cutting his paper-thin skin to do it by ourselves. We go to the vet, and there they take out the razor and trim off inches of hair from his hind legs and the lower part of his tail. It’s like magic. For months, there’s no more issues. Then it grows out, and we have to repeat the procedure. It’s well worth a few sheckles to prevent the fiasco of removing the poop. He still may get some caught, but it usually falls off right after he leaves the box. We have litter mats in front of the boxes and that usually gets most of it. Once in a while, we find a solid piece of poop on the floor. We have hardwood floors due to the cats, so it’s an easy clean-up.
Paws recommends cat owners tune into your kitties’ needs and wants. When it comes to the litter box, you need to find a happy medium between their needs and desires, and your wants. The last thing you want is a house that smells like a litter box. The last thing they want is to feel threatened, distressed, scared, and uncomfortable.
Do you have some litter box tips to share? Please weigh on the discussion and share them with Paws’ readers. It’s an important subject that’s never going to go away. Later this week, we are going to discuss a new type of litter that Paws’ is checking out.