Dr. Elsey’s 5-Step Recovery Program | Dr. Elsey's
cat in litter box

Dr. Elsey’s 5-Step Recovery Program

Inappropriate elimination is the number one behavioral reason cats are abandoned, surrendered to shelters and euthanized. It can be a frustrating situation to deal with. Follow Precious Cat’s Five Step Recovery Program to help solve the problem of cats not using the litter box.

1. Replace your current litter with Cat Attract® or Kitten Attract®. Cat Attract® and Kitten Attract® were designed to be texture friendly to cat’s paws. Cats are very texture driven, and when a litter texture doesn’t appeal to them the result can be a cat that will not use the litter box. Our Cat Attract® & Kitten Attract® litters also have a natural herbal attractant to draw cats to the litter box by smell.

2. Freshen up your litter box.  Replace your litter boxes often. They can become scratched over time, making it difficult to eliminate the urine odor, even after washing. We recommend using the giant open litter pans or storage containers.  Remove feces and urine clumps a couple of times a day, and totally dump the litter every three to four weeks. Wash the litter box thoroughly with a mild soap and water. Don’t use any harsh chemicals to clean out your box – cats do not like the smell and this may discourage them from using the box.

3. Destroy the evidence. Cleaning all the old odors out is a major step in getting your cat to use the box again. After the cleaning process is complete, it is important to cover the area to keep the cat from the trigger point until it has dried and the odor is gone. Using a plastic carpet runner, spike side up, or placing a food bowl in the area can be helpful. A cat typically will not urinate or defecate where they eat.

4. Litter box makeover. We recommend not using boxes with hoods. They trap odors and many cats feel trapped in a hooded box and refuse to use it. The large open litter boxes or storage containers as discussed earlier are the best. Your cat should be able to step in and out of the box with ease and be able to turn around in the box. Remember that senior cats can have litter box issues simply because it is difficult for them to step in and out of the box if the sides are too high. Location of the litter box is important as well – don’t place your cat’s litter box in a loud laundry room or cold basement. Placing the box in a warm dry quiet place is important. We recommend one box per cat plus one and if you have a multi-level home place one box on each level or your house.

5. Treat your Cat to some R & R.  Stress can be a major factor in a cat not using the litter box. Try to find out what might be causing the stress and minimize it. A good way to reduce stress is through enrichment. Play with your cat at least 15 minutes a day – a tired cat is a good cat. Provide perches and cat poles so your cat can see outside. The cat poles also provide a get-away spot from other cats in the household. If you have multiple cats, make sure you zone their litter boxes and food bowls providing separate areas for each of your cats. This will help with territory problems if they should arise.