Did you know that a cat's nutrition and their urinary health are related? When fed a quality diet, cats are less likely to have urinary issues later on. When I worked as a Vet Tech, one of the first questions we asked cat owners whose cat was urinating outside of the box was - "what do you feed your cat?".
Unfortunately, many families do not wish to work on their cat's poor litter box manners and habits when problems arise. Instead, urinating outside of the litter box is a top reason why cats are dropped of at shelters and left homeless.
And, in some scenarios their owners would even have them euthanized rather than trying to fix the problem. Trust me, I've seen it before. A man once brought his cat to the clinic for euthanasia because kitty was going pee outside of the box. I told him we didn't do that to healthy pets and offered him a check-up appointment for his cat. Unfortunately, he was not happy with what I had to offer.
It is sad, but with proper knowledge and education we can help to keep cats out of shelters because of poor litter box habits.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Is Urinating Outside of Their Litter Box?
If your cat has poor litter box habits, here's what you can do:
- Take them to see the Veterinarian. First of all, you need to rule out any medical conditions that could be the cause of the problem. Your vet can determine whether or not your cat is sick and help you with getting them to urinate in their litter box.
- Make sure your litter box is set up properly with litter that they like. Identify the reason why your cat is behaving the way they are and do your best to fix the problem for them.
- Clean the litter box on a regular basis.
- Feed your cat a quality diet.
First of all, I inspected her litter box. It looked as though it had not been scooped properly. I had given my oldest daughter the chore of "poop-scooping" and reminded her on a daily basis, but I don't think she did a very good job. Lesson learned for me - don't trust my kid to take care of it and just do it myself.
After I was able to figure out the problem, I fixed it and Callie stopped urinating outside of her box. It can really be as simple as that sometimes.
How Can Proper Nutrition Help?
Some families who take their cats to the shelters due to poor litter box habits feel like they have already tried everything they can and have given up. What these people may not realize is that proper nutrition plays an important role in the overall health of their pet, including litter box use.
Hill’s® Science Diet® has recently introduced a new Urinary & Hairball Control formula to their extensive lineup of products because a healthy bladder starts with the right balance of vital nutrients. Science Diet Urinary & Hairball Control is formulated to support the health of the whole urinary system, from kidneys to bladder, through an optimal level of magnesium and natural fiber to help avoid hairball formation in healthy adult cats. It is a maintenance product for healthy cats, and does not treat crystals. As always, Hill’s recommends that a pet parent consult their veterinarian and ask them to recommend the best food for their cat.
The new Urinary & Hairball Control formula is available in both dry and wet for cats. You can find it at your vet's office or your favorite pet specialty retailer.
Keeping Cats Out of the Shelter
Hill's is not only helping to keep cats out of the shelter by offering quality diets to cat owners, but also with the Hill's Food, Shelter & Love® Program. The goal of this program is simple: to provide cats and dogs staying at the shelter with superior nutrition to keep them healthier, happier, and more adoptable while they wait for their forever homes.
Since 2002, the Hill's Food, Shelter & Love Program has donated over $280 million worth of Science Diet brand foods to nearly 1,000 animal shelters. They've helped over 8 million pets find homes. Healthy pets are more adoptable pets, and all pets deserve proper, balanced nutrition.
You can use the Find a Shelter tool HERE to find a Hill's Food, Shelter & Love partner in your area.
Has your cat ever had poor litter box manners? What tips do you have to share with other cat parents? Share them in the comments!