Litter box problems can easily show up in a geriatric cat. It may be that due to chronic renal failure or diabetes your cat simply can’t make it to the box in time. Arthritis may make it too difficult for your cat to climb over a high-sided box or perch in a covered box. She also may just not have the bladder control she used to have.
With a decrease in activity and a less efficient digestive system, constipation can also be a problem in older cats. Your cat may develop a litter box avoidance problem because she associates the pain of constipation or a urinary condition with the box itself. She may also need to eliminate right where she is, even if it’s far from the box.
In a house with more than one cat, your geriatric cat may be ambushed in the box or lose part of her claimed area to a young companion cat.
As your cat shows signs of advanced age, you need to reevaluate her litter box situation and make these necessary modifications. Moreover, if the covered litter box is creating discomfort, remove the lid, and if your arthritic cat has difficulty getting over a high-sided box replace it with a low-sided one.
Use a litterscatter mat in front of the box if you’re concerned about how much litter your cat may send flying all over the floor. Your older cat’s aim may be a little off now and she may overshoot in the box. If she suffers from arthritis, she may also be standing up more to urinate instead of squatting. Use Catpaper – or any other similar product – under and around the box to absorb any overspray. The Catpaper will protect your floors and carpet.
Increase the number of litter boxes and place them in more convenient areas. This is a good example of correct placement. As your cat ages, the more remote the box, the more likely she’ll have trouble remembering where it is.
If your home has more than one level, have a litter box on each one in case your older kitty has difficulty going up and down stairs.
Of utmost importance in older cats is to constantly check their health. Therefore, when you scoop the litter box, use that as an opportunity to monitor your cat’s health and look for signs of constipation or diarrhea. In addition, check the size of the urine clumps. If the size seems to be increasing, your cat may be in renal failure or may suffer from diabetes. If the urine clumps are shrinking, she may have a urinary tract disorder or isn’t drinking enough water. Either situation should be brought to your veterinarian’s attention right away.
If your cat has become incontinent, or if she sleeps so soundly that she sometimes urinates in her sleep, cover her sleeping area with towels. If she does have decreased bladder control, examine her carefully because she may have dried urine on her fur or urine scalds on her skin.