Wednesday 29 October 2008

Why people abandon cats

I find this extremely sad - photo by Animals Abused & Abandoned

One big reason why people abandon cats is because their cat is not going to the toilet in the cat litter. Yet cats will almost automatically use a cat litter if it is in decent condition. This is because it will be the best thing in the home in which to go to the toilet and cats look for appropriate spots to urinate.

So, if our cat is not using the litter provided, either she is ill (e.g. cystitis which makes you want to go very urgently - this is a human disease as well - this is a Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease) or the litter is unattractive and unsuitable.

If the litter is clean (cleaned at least once a day), large enough (make it large) and well sited (quiet and perhaps covered) all should be well. It also depends on the home. If the home is not clean and our cat has already gone to the toilet outside the litter this encourages our cat to think that the litter is the home or the home is a suitable area.

I prefer wood chip litter. It is not clumping but has excellent odor absorption and it is easy to scoop out as it is relatively dry after use. Clumping litter can be wet after use and it stains the litter tray. Wood chip litter leaves the tray much cleaner so there is less cleaning of the tray to do. A clean tray will encourage use of the litter.

I have never had a problem with my cat using the litter tray except once as mentioned when she had cystitis. This was brought on by eating too much dry food and stress. She urinated in the shower and bath (she is so sweet) and sometimes in the corner of the room during this short phase of illness.

A change of diet and my lifestyle rectified the problem and she has been fine since. So the reason why people abandon cats is the behavior of the people not the cat - sorry for that. The people who are considering abandoning a cat should look at what they are doing very objectively and try to rectify. It may not be the people but cats are reactive so if a cat is exceptionally nervous causing urinating outside the litter we should, I think, adapt our lifestyle to accommodate that to make the home as calm as possible. Persians can be nervous and have litter problems for example.

Some more:
Why people abandon cats - photo of abandoned cat: published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License


  1. Also, cats doesn't like when the litter box is too close to the food.So, sometimes you just have to keep the litter box and the food far from each other to fix the problem.

    Leila in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  2. The cat may not like some kinds of litter, so try another one untill you find what the cat likes. Mine is afraid of wood chips, I do not know why. So, the best solution for us was silica-gel. Absorbs odour 99%.
    Also, the size of tray matters. It should be big enough for a cat.
    Never punish a cat for urinating in wrong place! It does not help, but causes much stress for a cat and it will urinate again. Just ignore it and clean the place. Find out the reason why the cat is doing so (illness, wrong litter, stress).
    I picked my cat from the street and it took me 3 weeks to make her use the litter tray :)
    Now she is fine, we got certified as "european shorthair" and have CAC title :)


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