@MrRileycat_Esq didn’t like the highly scented “major label” cat litter I used, apparently. He had Issues. We had a Serious Problem. Solved it with Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat line of cat litters.
Precious Cat Litters – Quality Cat Litter
Dr Elsey offers several different options: there’s the Cat Attract stuff, which is pricier, and there’s the regular Precious Cat Classic and Ultra litters, plus specialty ones for kittens and long-haired cats. He also sells these “litter attractant” herbs but so far I haven’t felt the need to get them.
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Our Precious Cat scoopable litters, Classic, Ultra and Ultra Scented are now 99.9% dust free. These litters also feature the ideal texture, particle size and â€œpaw feelâ€ to create the ideal litter box environment for your cats. This along with proper litter box care will keep your cat content and happy.
I suspect that not using the litterbox consistently was one of the reasons Riley was found wandering the streets back when he was a juvenile “delinquat.” In the years since we brought him home, I was just not very diligent about dealing with the box and David tended to have more and more to do with it. This may have been because I had had to be ultra diligent when our previous cat, Stuey, was in his later years and suffered from diabetes and really, really inaccurate aim.
Here’s a list of some of the things that cause cats to avoid their boxes…
- Too highly scented; harsh perfume-y smell is almost worse than natural funk
- Rough, jagged edges on the litter particles, especially true of declawed cats
- Not cleaned out frequently enough – daily is best, every other day at a minimum
- Complete clean-out of box, with rinsing and deodorizing, should be weekly
- Hooded or enclosed boxes concentrate the odor, also some cats claustrophobic
- Older boxes can retain urine odor when they’re all scratched up, even after washing
- “Paw feel” is not right; cats need to dig and bury
- Multiple-cat households should have one more box than the number of cats
Before Stuey’s diabetes was diagnosed, I’d been using various brands of “litter pearls” that purported to absorb urine odor, but it was expensive and tended to be flung EVERYWHERE. Also, it either worked itself deep into carpets, or rolled on hard floors. As he got worse, I went with the “odor reducing,” highly scented Tidy Cat Multiple-Cat brand.
SQUICK ALERT – scroll fast if you do not want to know too much about Cats Who Pee A LOT
In fact, with Stuey I’d had to put the catbox in a big plastic washing machine tray – the kind designed to catch overflow from leaky appliances, and twice a day I had to pretty much mop it out and sanitize/deodorize it. So with low-maintenance cat Riley, I had been “coasting” a little too much – depending on the perfumed brand to mask the odor rather than to clean out the box as frequently as I should have.
It seems that Riley is one of those cats that prefers a clean and odorless place to potty, with nice smooth dustless litter, and if he didn’t find this need fulfilled by his box… he’d go find a place someplace else in the house. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
However since running across references to how to retrain a cat, I’ve changed litter brands, gotten into the habit of scooping more frequently,and bought a brand new box (let’s see – this must be about the 10th litterbox purchased since the day I brought Stuey home 2 decades ago).
And hey presto, it worked. Just about all the suggestions I ran across were right on the money.
I’d found a link to this Dr Elsey’s brand of cat litter, along with some reviews. This stuff WORKS. I used a bag of the “problem cat training litter” Cat Attract first, in a brand new “lift and sift” box. Turns out I could have saved money and just bought a plain old Rubbermaid sink tub, because Riley LOVED THIS STUFF, and it’s very hard clumping, with extremely low or no dust at all. It’s very dense, and kind of expensive. I’ve never even had to use the sifting feature.
I did an experiment, too. Riley is declawed (front paws) and it turns out that many vets believe that this procedure can actually lead to litterbox problems, because cats associate the pain felt when trying to scratch in the box with rough litter with the box itself. They’ll often “vote with their paws” and go someplace nice and soft… like your new couch or a pile of laundry.
So I completely switched out the old litterbox, washed it and deodorized it, and filled it with the old brand of litter (Tidy Cat Multi), which is highly scented. The new box with the Dr Elsey’s Cat Attract was in the hall bath, and the old box was in its usual place. After a few days of diligent scooping when I returned home from work, it was clear that Riley not only preferred the Cat Attract, he completely stopped visiting the old box entirely. After several days of not finding anything in the Tidy Cat-filled box, I removed it and moved the new box into the old area (still using the tray to keep the scattered stuff corralled).
Also, and I don’t know how significant this is, his behavior has been very consistent with this Dr Elsey stuff. All the “Number One” is always clumped in one spot at the front of the box, and all the “Number Two” nuggets are toward the back. Never noticed this before getting more consistent about scooping…
Now that Riley seems to be completely converted to using the new box exclusively, I bought a bag of the less expensive “Precious Cat” litter, which is less expensive, doesn’t contain the special “attractant” dried herbs, and comes in bigger bags. Just now I topped up the box with it, and he was in there IMMEDIATELY, making industrious CHUFF CHUFF CHUFF noises. He’s another satisfied customer, apparently!