Dr. Elsey’s Litter Box Solutions
Dear Cat Lover,
No matter how much you love your cat, if it is not using its litter box, you and your cat have a problem. In fact, non-use of the litter box is the number one behavioral reason cats are abused, abandoned, and put in shelters. In my 20 years as a felineonly veterinarian, I know the happiest cat families are those in which the feline residents use their litter boxes — and nothing else.
This booklet and my litter products are dedicated to maintaining a happy, healthy life for the cats in your household. If you have a new kitten or a problem cat, please read this brochure, follow the steps carefully, and use Cat Attract™. Cat Attract’s granular size, scent, and texture are specifically designed with your cat in mind. If the problem persists, take your cat to a veterinarian. Your cat may have a medical problem. Bruce Elsey, DVM
Why Cat Attract? Cat Attract™ was developed through years of treating cats and testing litters in cat shelters and in my clinic. I found that many problem cats and young kittens prefer Cat Attract’s texture and particle size and are drawn to its unique natural herb blend.You will appreciate its superior clumping ability and natural chlorophyll odor control.
In testing, premium scoopable litters have proven to be far more effective with problem cats and kittens than conventional litters. Proper use will maintain a healthier environment for your cat.
The Golden Rule Follow my Five Steps to a Happy Cat House and use the Cat Attract™ program to coax your problem cat back to its box or to teach your kitten good litter box habits.
Don’t punish your cat! Although you may regard your cat or kitten’s inappropriate house soiling as spiteful, a cat with litter box problems is either following its natural instincts or has a medical problem. Harsh treatment only contributes to a cat’s stress, and may worsen the problem. Re-train your cat and guide your kitten with patience using my proven techniques.
Don’t punish your cat! Although you may regard your cat or kitten’s inappropriate house soiling as spiteful, a cat with litter box problems is either following its natural instincts or has a medical problem. Harsh treatment only contributes to a cat’s stress, and may worsen the problem. Reward your cat with treats immediately when it does use the litter box. Re-train your cat and guide your kitten with patience using my proven techniques.
Five Steps to a Happy Cat Household
1. Replace Current Litter With Cat Attract™ Unfortunately, cats don’t purchase their own litter. If they could, they would buy a litter that has an outdoor, natural scent, like your freshly turned garden.
Cat Attract™ is the answer. It has a unique herbal scent that attracts their curiosity and the right texture for their paws. Although you may not be aware of Cat Attract’s scent, your cat will be.
2. Freshen Up You don’t like a dirty bathroom, and neither does your cat.Your cat’s sense of smell is 1000 times better than yours, so clean the litter box thoroughly and refill it with Cat Attract™.
Remove feces and urine clumps daily; if your cat does not respond to a clean litter box, you may need to replace it. Some old boxes become scratched and permeated with a scent your cat may find offensive. Replace it and set up a second litter box in different area. Having one more litter box than you have cats is a good idea, just be sure the boxes are not next to each other.
3. Destroy the Evidence! Once a cat has marked an area with urine or feces, a problem cat naturally regards it as an appropriate area for relieving itself. Do all that you can to eliminate any trace of odor from the “trouble spot.” Clean it thoroughly with Dr. Elsey’s Urine Removal Program.
Avoid ammonia-based cleaners, which actually contribute to the problem because of their urine like scent. Try to keep your cat away from the trouble spot by covering the area with a plastic carpet runner placed spike side up, self-sticking shelf paper placed sticky side up, or aluminum foil. A lemon-scented air freshener will also help in both repelling the cat and neutralizing the odor. If your cat still can’t resist the area, try placing its food there;cats are unlikely to urinate or defecate where they eat.
Use your cat’s own fragrance to your advantage: rub a cloth between your cat’s eye and ear to pick up its scent, then rub the cloth over the problem area.You can also use Feliway. This feline behavior modification spray mimics a cat’s natural facial pheromone…its friendly pheromone. Sprayed in the cat’s environment, it creates a comforting, reassuring feeling that reduces the impulse to urine mark or scratch. Recognizing this friendly scent on walls, curtains, or furniture, a cat is usually reluctant to mark the area again. Do this two to three times a day to be most effective. Cat Attract and Feliway make a great combination.
4. Consider a Litter Box Makeover Hooded litter boxes are designed for owners, not cats. Try removing the hoods and rethink the location of the boxes. They should be in quiet, out-of-the-way places with convenient access for your cats, but no access for the family dog. (Some dogs will stand around a litter box and make the cat nervous.) Keep the boxes away from bright lights, loud noises, and vibrations from washing machines or furnaces.Have a box in an area that will not be bothered by toddlers oraggressive cats.
If possible, try placing one box in the center of the room where your cat will not feel trapped or cornered. Set up one more box than the number of cats in your household to cut down on traffic and mess. If your house has several floors, have a box on each level. Finally, do not put a litter box near the cat’s food dishes — this is no more appealing for a kitty than it would be for you!
5. Treat Your Cat to Some R&R Stress is a leading cause of litter box problems. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to ease your cat’s worried mind.Territorial by nature, cats need to feel secure in their environment in order to relax. In multiple cat households, make sure each cat has a separate “zone” with its own food, water, litter box, scratching post, toys and elevated perch for relaxing on. Heated beds and carpeted cat condos make excellent retreats for stressed cats; place them with an outside view. Play with your cat for at least 15 minutes every day, make sure there are plenty of toys to stalk and chase and that toys are rotated to keep them interesting. Hide treats and pieces of food for your cat to hunt and eat. Leave the radio or TV on while you are away to reduce boredom.
Cats and kittens are not small dogs, so the idea of “litter training” cats the same way you housebreak a dog doesn’t work. Kittens will naturally seek a place to dig but you can help them be consistent. The first thing to do with kittens is to provide accessible litter boxes. Kittens don’t have the “control” of mature cats and need to have litter boxes near by to avoid traveling too far. After feeding time, it is a good idea to place your kitten into a litter box. Kittens have a natural elimination reflex after eating. By putting them in a litter box, they associate the box with the reflex. You should also create easy access for kittens by placing a step up until they are large enough to be able get in the box easily by themselves.
The rightlitter is also essential for kittens. Cat Attract™ is ideal because it has the right texture for their paws and a natural chlorophyll scent cats like. Avoid using perfumed orcedar-based litters with your new kitten, as many kittens find them aversive.
Getting Kittens Started A problem cat is one who chooses not to use its litter box. There are three likely causes: medical ailments, territorial marking, or behavioral issues. Knowing which category your cat fits in is only a first step toward solving the problem. Cats are creatures of habit, and will repeatedly soil the same spot.
In other words, a litter box problem that began with a urinary tract infection may continue due to habit long after the infection has been cured. Whatever the cause, it is important to treat problem cats with both behavior modification and stress reduction techniques.
Medical Concerns Only one sixth of cats with urinary problems go outside the litter box. However, blood in the urine, increased frequency of urination, small, hard stools, and loose movements are signs of medical trouble that could lead to litter box problems. See your veterinarian to help evaluate your cat’s health, and recommend treatment if there is a medical problem.
Understanding The Problem Cat
Territorial Marking Spraying, or marking territory with urine, is a natural behavior for both male and female cats. It is a form of communication, and should not be confused with ordinary urination outside of the litter box. Spraying usually involves just a small amount of urine and occurs on walls, furniture, the floor, or, occasionally, the owner’s clothes or bedding. A cat that is marking on the floor will leave just a small amount of urine. It will not turn around to sniff and paw at the area, as is the case in urination. It will just walk away after marking.
A trail of urine on the floor means the cat was standing to spray and not squatting to urinate. You can help diminish your cat’s need to spray by creating “friendly zones” by using your cat’s own pheromones or Feliway, a synthetic feline pheromone available in many stores.To use your cat’s pheromones, rub a soft cloth between your cat’s eye and ear.Wipe the cloth on the soiled area repeatedly over several weeks. This tells your cat this is a “friendly zone” and diminishes its need to mark the area. Follow the product’s directions, spraying it on the soiled areas several times for a month. Also, use it on high-risk areas like the edge of a sofa or on walls. Place scratching posts in areas that are marked so the cat will mark with the scent off its pads and not with urine. Try to keep stray cats away from your house. Cats may also mark their territory with feces. Signs of this type of territorial marking include defecation in a very conspicuous and unusual spot, such as on top of a table.Your veterinarian can also help you by prescribing various drugs to reduce marking. You may want your cat to have a complete physical examination to rule out any other problems.
Behavioral Problems This category includes everything from box rejection (a cat who does not care for your choice of litter) and location preference (the cat who uses an out of the way closet instead of its box) to stress-induced soiling (often related to changes or upheaval in the household). Since all litter box problems are in some sense behavioral, these techniques make a good starting point for solving any problem. Be attentive, flexible, and above all, patient.With your help, your cat can, and will, learn to“think inside the box.”
The Real Tough Case For the cat that consistently soils in the same spot, try placing a litter box with Cat Attract™ in the “trouble spot” for a period of 10 to 14 days. After this initial phase, move the box an inch or two each day toward the place where you would like it to be. This method takes a lot of time and patience, but it may be an answer.Alternatively, confine your cat for at least one month to a room that has not been soiled in the past. Provide a litter box filled with Cat Attract™ along with food, water,scratching post, toys and elevated hideaway. After a month, the cat should be consistently using its litter box and you can expand its territory to include two rooms, then three, and so on. Over time, most cats respond to this treatment, and can eventually be trusted to roam the house. Some, however, require a more rigorous treatment:
Confine the cat to a large cage or pet carrier that is elevated off the floor on a table or bench. Cover the entire floor of the carrier with litter. Create a small bed and a spot for water and food at one end. This will force your cat to use the litter. Over time, reduce the amount of litter in the carrier, so that the litter only covers a portion of the floor. Once the cat is consistently using only the litter-covered area in the carrier, bring it out into the room and proceed with the one-room confinement treatment outlined above.
Whichever treatment you choose, you are most likely to succeed using Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract™. Cat Attract’s unique combination of scoopable litter and natural herbs will help your cat overcome resistance to other litters that may discourage use.
Senior Cats Senior cats may need special help getting in and out of the box. Create a ramp to make it easier for them. For these cats, set up extra boxes on every level of your house.
Bringing an Outdoor Cat Indoors A cat that is used to prowling outdoors may need help adjusting to life inside. Try mixing a few spoonful of dirt from its “favorite place” in with Cat Attract™.Your cat will be attracted to the box by the familiar scent. Here again, the use of Feliway will help create a sense of familiarity for your cat and reduce stress. Bring an outdoor cat indoors. Make outside doors less appealing by spraying them with citrus scent. Spray your cat with a water bottle or rattle a can of pennies if he goes near outside doors.
Welcoming a New Cat The addition of a new cat may cause feline stress and litter box problems. Make introductions slowly, confining the new cat to its own room for a couple of weeks. Use Feliway in both rooms to create a calming effect for both cats. Sniffing and swatting under the door will acquaint the cats. When they finally meet face to face, you should expect tension or conflict for a couple of weeks before they settle down.
To speed the process, try wiping each cat’s fur with a separate towel daily. Then place each cat’s food dish on top of the other cat’s towel. They will associate each other’s scent with the positive experience of being fed, and grow tolerant of each other quickly. Make sure each cat has easy access to its own safe, elevated hideaway, and give each of them equal love and attention. Of course, remember if you have multiple cats, have one more litter box than you have cats in your household.
Moving to a New Home Cats can be traumatized during a move to a new environment. To prevent spraying and other stress-related litter box problems,help your cat feel secure in its new home. Confine it to one room for a couple of weeks, so that it can acclimate to the new area without becoming overwhelmed.
Equip the room with all of the comforts of home…a large litter box, a bed, food, water, toys, scratching post and an elevated hiding spot. Be sure to spend extra time every day playing with your cat during this difficult time.You might also “prep” the new home with Feliway adding friendly pheromones to the new environment. Feliway is excellent for calming cats in stressful situations such as moving in or transporting to a veterinarian.
Stress a factor There are a number of disease conditions where stress is a contributing factor in susceptible cats. Feline interstitial cystitis is a painful lower urinary tract disease in cats. The symptoms can come and go. For example, your cat may have blood in its urine on days one, three and five, but not on days two, four and six. This may lead to litter box aversion. Interstitial cystitis is the diagnosis in 65% of cats with blood in their urine, making it the most common lower urinary tract disease in cats. The treatment for interstitial cystitis is reduction of stress and feeding canned food. The canned food is placed in a dish next to the cats normal food letting the cat decide what food it prefers.
Other stress related diseases are urinary stones, obesity, tooth decay, type two diabetes, thickened heart muscle, inflammatory bowel disease, excessive self grooming and others. If you don’t think your cat is stressed consider this. Cats need twice the space that is provided in a normal size home. They live under the same roof with their natural predators, dogs, humans and other cats. In nature they communicate by marking their territory with urine, feces, facial and foot odors but we expect them to use litter boxes and scratching posts. They hunt and eat 10 to 20 meals a day, an activity that takes up much of their time and energy; we provide them with free choice dry food.
Carpet-How to Clean Up Cat Urine 1. Get some paper towels and blot up as much as you can as soon as you are first aware the cat used the area. 2. Cover the area with a towel or a pile of paper towels and stand on them. You may have to do this several times. 3. When you have soaked up as much as you possibly can, get the carpet cleaner or use a few drops of dish detergent mixed with water. Saturate the area with this, and just let it sit on the area for an hour or two. No scrubbing. 4. Rinse the area by gently blotting.Wet a sponge with tap water and rinse the area again. 5. Soak the area with club soda for ten minutes. 6. Blot up the club soda and place fresh paper towels or a fresh towel over the area. 7.Weigh down the towels with something heavy, e.g. books furniture, etc., and leave overnight. 8. In the morning, spray the area with Dr. Elsey’s Urine Removal Program, simply follow the directions. 9. Never use ammonia or ammonia-based products on the carpet. The smell may attract the cat to that area and can encourage cats to urinate in the area. 10. Keep the cat away from the area. 11. If the smell is bad and the cat continues to use this area despite all the cleaning, replace the pad underneath and clean the area under the carpet.
Linoleum: 1.Wipe up the puddle with paper towels or a mop soaked in soapy water. 2. Clean area thoroughly and rinse with warm water.Wipe the area with a sponge damped with white vinegar. 3.Let the area air-dry.
Hardwood and Cement: 1. Blot up as much liquid as you can, then use Dr. Elsey’s Urine Removal Program. 2.If the smell is strong and the floor is concrete you can apply bleach two weeks after the last application of Dr. Elsey’s Urine Removal Program. If the floor has a hardwood surface,sand it down and refinish your hardwood floor.
Laundry: 1. Machine-wash your laundry using a cup of white vinegar and no detergent. 2. When the laundry cycle finishes, add detergent and wash regularly.
Because You Love Your Cat… 1. Neuter your cat. Neutering minimizes a variety of behavioral problems for both male and female cats, and eliminates the risk of unwanted kittens. It is the right thing to do. 2. Take your cat to your veterinarian for regular shots and check-ups. Even a healthy adult cat should make a visit once a year. Kittens and older cats require more frequent check-ups. 3. Your veterinarian may recommend that you feed your housesoiling kitty canned food. Your cat will consume twice the amount of total water in a day eating canned food than when eating dry cat food and it may be beneficial for better urinary tract health. Make the switch slowly, starting with just a tablespoon morning and evening and then gradually increase the amount over a two-week period. This will give your kitty’s digestive system time to adjust. 4. Protect your cat from household hazards. • Avoid allowing cats to play with string or yarn. Cats have tiny barbs on their tongues that make it difficult for them to spit out a piece of string. If swallowed, the string may cause intestinal problems. • Use caution with reclining chairs and garage doors; either of these can easily crush and kill a cat. • Discourage play with electrical cords. 18 • Many houseplants, such as Easter lilies, are toxic to cats. To keep your cat away, spray the plant with water, and sprinkle its leaves with powdered ginger. • Some household products, like Tylenol, Advil, and antifreeze, are harmful to cats. A lethal dose of antifreeze can come from a cat walking through a spill and licking its paws.
Happy cat, happy owners....
My cats have been indoors their whole life so while they didn't see to mind the scent, it doesn't seem to draw them to the little box more than without it.
Maybe it works better for cats who are used to the smells from outdoors?
If folks are serious about modifying a kitty behavioral problem this has got to be tried. I know it helps keep our kitties adopted!