Location, location, location. It applies to real estate and it most definitely applies to litter boxes. Where you put the litter box is more important than many owners realize. You can have the perfect box, filled with the best litter in the world, but if it’s in an area that the cat finds unacceptable, it may be rejected.
There is one rule that cat owners should never break under any circumstances: Don’t put the litter box near the cat’s food and water. Many owners mistakenly believe that having the box right next to the cat’s food will serve as a reminder to him. Unfortunately, this plan can only backfire and you lay the groundwork for litter box rejection. Remember, cats eliminate away from the nest. If you put his food and box together it sends him a very confusing message. He’ll be forced to make a decision about whether to designate the area as a feeding station or an elimination spot. Since the food is only available in that one area, he’ll search for another location for this litter box needs. If you have no choice but to keep his food bowl and litter box in the same room, at least put them as far apart as possible.
The most common place owners put the box is in the bathroom. This is a good spot provided you have the room. It makes cleanup easy and it’s convenient in terms of your being able to regularly scoop it. Keep in mind, though, that if lots of steamy hot showers are taken in the bathroom it will be humid in there and that may cause the litter to take longer to dry.
Another popular location is the laundry room. Like the bathroom, the laundry room is usually not carpeted, making for easy cleanup. The downside is that if the washer goes into the spin cycle while the cat is in the box, the sudden noise could cause him to become frightened of using it again.
Pick a spot in your home away from heavy traffic to provide your cat with a feeling of privacy and safety. However, don’t choose an area too remote or you’ll forget to check it daily. I met one owner who put the box in the “junk” room on the second floor of the house. No one routinely went in there, so the box was forgotten and became so full and dirty that the cat couldn’t stand to use it any longer and began urinating on the carpet in the den. Wherever you locate the box, be sure you’ll remember to check it twice a day.
A two-story home should have a box on each floor. If your indoor/outdoor cat doesn’t use a litter box and prefers to eliminate outside, keep a litter box indoors anyway in case he chooses to not go out in bad weather or becomes ill.
For more advice on ways raising a well-adjusted and -behaved cat, read Think Like a Cat from www.tuftscatnip.com.