Litter Box Basics
All right folks, I’ve beenhassled about this forever. We’re going to talkabout litter boxes. As cats are all littleindividual snowflakes,they all come from the sameplace, from that big cat cloud,right?And like any other cloud,a little bit of peemust fall, or dingleberries,or– let’s get catified. All right, folks, we’regoing to break this downin a very fast fashionbecause there’sa lot of information to coverin a very short amount of time. Now here’s the first thing. If your cat is peeing or poopingoutside the box, number one,go to the vet. Rule things out. Get a urinalysis done. Get a full blood panel done. Make sure that yourcat’s not acting outfrom a very simplephysical place. You got to know. I’ve had cases in the pastwhere a cat has actuallybeen acting out– this wasin the shelter environment. The cat was within aday of being euthanizedbecause of thisbehavior problem. And a friend of minewho’s a fantastic vethad the presence of mindto check the cat’s mouth. And sure enough, that cathad an abscessed tooth. And that’s why thecat was acting out,not using a litter box. And that abscessed toothalmost cost that cat her life. So let’s think about this. Again, rule numberone, go to the vet. Now here’s the nextreally important chunk. You have to know thetools of the trade here. You’ve got to knowwhat you’re goingto need in order tosolve the problem. You know I’ve talked toyou about this before. It’s the power of journaling. This helps you in anumber of different ways. You step away from the pee. You step away from the poop. It’s not all about you andit’s not all about the factthat you’re angrybecause your cat peed. You’re looking for thewhats, the wheres, the hows,the whens, the whys. Now if this wasn’thappening a week agoand now it’s startingto happen regularly,what changed in my home?All about observation,not interpretation. Also use blue tape. Now I’ve talkedabout this as well. You have paper tapethat painter’s useand every timeyour cat pees, youput an x down on the ground. The anti treasure map iswhat I call this guy, right?You’re going to look at thatafter a week of cleaning upand put that x down, you’llknow exactly what’s going on. The thing that you calledrandom, not so random anymore. You know that there’s a pattern. Also a black light,really important. If you want to discoverwhat’s going on in your house,I’m telling you,take a deep breath. It’s not somethingyou’re going to likebut it will give you the tools. Clean it up. Put your anti treasure mapX marks the spot down thereand you are going to havea glimpse into what’smaking your cat insecure. I believe that almost alllitter box problems come downto two things. It’s either aphysical problem or itrevolves around territorialinsecurity slash anxiety. Really important. You got to know the differencebetween peeing and marking,spraying. Is your cat backing upto a wall and sprayingthat wall, spraying thevertical world there, the walls?And then it comes downand drips onto the ground. If they’re squattingon the floor,it’s probably somethinga little differentalthough it still can bea very insecure statementon their part. But take a look at whereyour cat is marking. Now a lot of timesmarking is goingto happen by the frontdoor, by the back door,under the windows. I call that perimeter marking. Now you’ve got to take a look atwhat is causing your cat to go,there are barbariansat the gate. We have got to keepthe Alamo safe here. It’s the Alamo effect, right?What’s going onoutside that window?Chances are, you’ve gotcats in your neighborhood. What can you do aboutcats outside your house?We’ll get into thatin later episodes. Right now, this isall about diagnosing,not just quick fixes. We’ve got another onethat I see a lot of. If your cat’s going rightoutside the litter box,in my experience anyway,here’s what’s going on. Your cat wants to goin that litter box. They are– theyknow that this isthe place I’m supposed to go. But they can’t do it. Why is that?Because something– Ibelieve, almost always,when it’s rightoutside that box,they’re telling us something. Now, could it beterritorial insecurity?Are they markingright outside that boxto send a message tosomebody else in the home?Possibly. But here’s the great thing, ifyou’re doing your journaling,if you’re doing your catdetective work, you’ll know,is this a one off thing, thatthey’re going in this one spotright outside the litter box?Or are they creatinga semicirclearound that box toprotect that box?From what?From a dog, from a kid. A lot of this is rationalthinking after the fact. And if you notice,there’s no roomin here for emotional reactions. That’s what causes catsto lose their homes. You think I’mkidding here but I’vebeen working in thisbusiness for 20 years. I have accepted morecats into my shelterbecause they peed on the floor,they peed on the pool table,they were pooping in a bed. And we had no ideawhy they were doing itand emotionally wecould not handle that. And that’s what cost these catstheir homes and a lot of timestheir lives. Please step back. Start looking at things like adetective, like a journalist. You’re going to getwhere you need to go. All right, folks,until next time,don’t forget you can findme on Twitter and Instagramand Facebook and Google Plus andYouTube, all these fun places. Watch the Animalist Network. There’s all kinds of funstuff happening on Animalist. And catch me soon, we’ll bedoing another live GoogleHangout. Lots more fun stuff, giveawaysaplenty are all coming. Until next time, all light,all love, all mojo to you. Love you. You’re a bad cat. I’m not a bad cat. You’re a bad cat. I’m not a bad cat. You’re a bad cat. I’m just misunderstood. Meow.