When cats use a litter box, they naturally use their paws to dig a spot to leave their droppings. Once they’ve done their business, cats then typically work to bury their treasure. In the wild, this instinctual behavior prevents potential predators from tracking the cat’s scent so they don’t become prey. In a domesticated setting, cats still instinctively cover their droppings, and they prefer a relatively clean surface with no previous soiling to contend with. Cats don’t like to get their paws soiled in a filthy litter box. As you know, cats will spend hours grooming themselves throughout the day. Climbing into a disgusting litter box and digging around is not something cats will be much fond of doing.
Some cats who encounter a dirty litter box will either go right outside the box or elsewhere in the house. Some will even hold their urine for longer periods of time to avoid using a dirty litter box, which can lead to health issues for your kitty. Scoop your cat’s litter box daily and give it a thorough cleaning with soap and warm water once a week.
Here’s why it’s so important to keep your cat’s litter box clean:
In some rare cases, your cat might even develop a dangerous reaction to the litter in his box. Some kitties may be allergic to dust or fragrances in the litter. Allergy symptoms might include watery or irritated eyes, a rash, incessant scratching, coughing and sneezing, swelling around the eyes, or litter-box aversion. Have your cat assessed at the vet to determine the allergen, and switch to a dust-free, fragrance-free litter.
Just as important as the type of litter box your cat prefers is the contents you provide for him to bury his treasure. Scoop, scoop, scoop. It’s a dirty job, but it comes with being a responsible cat parent. Not only will regular scooping keep your home smelling fresh, but it also reduces health risks and helps you detect any signs your cat might be having medical issues.
Animal experts don't know for sure why cats perform this unusual behavior, but they have formed some compelling theories.
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