By Bethney Foster
Health Effects of Cat Litter Box
Changing a cat’s litter box is a job most people dislike, but did you know it can be bad for your cat’s health, too? Cats can develop an assortment of health problems associated with their litter box.
By Bethney Foster
OverviewThe litter box is very important in your cat’s list of priorities—falling somewhere between dinnertime and curling up in your lap. For a cat, the litter box is a source of security and ownership. Not only is the litter box important to your cat’s happiness, it’s also important to its health. If the litter box doesn’t meet your cat’s needs and expectations, it can lead to medical issues and behavioral issues.AnxietyWhen the litter box isn’t meeting the cat’s expectations and needs, the cat will begin to experience anxiety, which brings with it a plethora of possible medical conditions and symptoms. Cats may lose their hair because of anxiety. Symptoms may also include vomiting, meowing, pacing, trembling, apathy, excessive grooming, clawing furniture, weight loss, shyness and loss of affection.ConstipationIf your cat doesn’t like its “restroom” for whatever reason—the location, the type of litter, sharing it with other cats—your car is less likely to use the box. Some cats will just find another (and inappropriate) place to go. However, others will “hold” their need to defecate. This can lead to constipation or obstipation (a total blockage of the colon, making the cat completely unable to have a bowel movement on its own). If the cat has chronic constipation, it can lead to a condition known as megacolon.Urinary Tract InfectionIf a cat doesn’t feel comfortable with its litter box and holds its urine, the cat may develop a urinary tract infection.Behavioral IssuesThe number one reason cats are given up by their guardians is for urinating and defecating outside the litter box. The saddest part of this situation is that people can take some easy steps to solve the problem. In most instances, rethinking the location of the litter box, the type of litter used and how the box is cleaned, can bring the accommodations up to the cat’s liking. This will prevent health issues and behavioral problems that arise when the cat doesn’t find the facilities acceptable.LocationIf your cat is having litter box issues, consider where the box is located. The litter box should be located in an area that is easily accessible to a cat. The cat shouldn’t have to go past noisy children or the family dog to get to its box. The box should be located in a quiet area that allows your pet some privacy.LitterIf you’re using scented litter and your cat is having medical issues or behavioral problems that may be linked to its litter box habits, switch to an unscented litter. Most cats also prefer a soft, fine-grained litter. However, other cats may prefer pebble-sized litter, pellets or crystals. You may have to experiment to find what best meets your cat’s needs.CleanlinessScoop your cat’s litter box at least once a day. You should also completely empty the box and clean it every few weeks. Cats are less likely to use a dirty box.ResourcesreferencePet SidereferenceLisa A. Pierson DVM
Image Reference – Health Effects of Cat Litter Box
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