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Solving A Litter Box Mystery

by Sam Mazzotta

Dear Paw’s Corner: I’m responding to your recent column about the kitten who won’t litter train. I’ve had kitties for over 50 years. The only time one of my kittens had trouble using the litter box, I made sure to watch him the next time he started sniffing around. It turned out that the sides of the litter box were too high! I replaced it with a litter box that had lower sides and it solved the problem. Love your column!
—Linda P., Williamson, New York

Dear Linda: Thank you for the advice! Cats are experts at hiding their problems, and it can be difficult to see if a training issue is something to do with behavior, health problems, or something else.
Your advice to observe the kitten closely, without interfering as it goes about its business, is perfect. If you’ve got time to follow a kitten around the house from a distance, that’s great. Of course, many of us are busy or have to leave the house for most of the day for work. One way to get around that is to use an indoor security camera—one of the small cameras available for purchase online like a Blink or a SimpliSafe—and point it at the litter box. You can observe activity around the box while you’re away (or in another room).
In this instance, the sides of the box were simply too high! A quick fix got the kitten back on track.
Now, what if you observe something else, like the kitten showing distress just before it pees or poops? Interference from another kitten or cat? Contact your veterinarian for advice, a checkup if needed, and an action plan to solve the litter box mystery.

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