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Quiz: Do You Know the Litter Box Essentials?

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Cats instinctively know how to use the litter box.

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Cats instinctively know how to use the litter box.

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  • Correct Answer:

Explanation: Cats usually don't need much litter box training, but they need some. To train kitty, start with a small, uncovered box in a quiet location close to where he sleeps. Fill the box with litter -- your cat may prefer the unscented kind. When kitty sniffs at the box, pick him up and put him inside, praising and petting him. When kitty uses the box, give him a small treat. Keep the box clean and avoid any negative associations with it. For example, don't give kitty medicine or scold him when he's near the litter box.

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Cats don't care where their litter box is placed.

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Cats don't care where their litter box is placed.

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Explanation: Some cats have preferences, such as what type of litter they use and where the box is placed. If your cat stops using her box, that may be a sign it's in the wrong place. Take a look at where you put the box: Is it hard to get to? Does kitty have to pass a pooch to use it? Make the litter box as appealing as possible by keeping it clean, making sure there's at least one box per cat, and placing it in a quiet location that offers plenty of escape routes.

Urinating outside the litter box may be a sign of:

Urinating outside the litter box may be a sign of:

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Explanation:  There are a lot of reasons your cat might “go” outside his box:  He’s sick, his litter is dirty or not in a place that suits him, or you don’t have enough boxes. Or he may be stressed about something or hurting. If your cat is older, things like  kidney stones, urinary tract infections, or cystitis, or pain from arthritis or trauma  may cause him to go potty someplace he isn’t supposed to.

 

Always  talk to your vet about litter box issues. And never punish your cat for going outside the box. You don’t want him to link punishment to his litter box.

Cats may eat kitty litter if they have:

Cats may eat kitty litter if they have:

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Explanation: Kittens may occasionally nibble at litter if it's introduced to them during weaning. But in general if your cat is eating kitty litter it could indicate anemia or another dietary deficiency. Other signs of anemia in cats include weight loss, lack of appetite, weakness, and pale mucous membranes. Always talk to your vet if your cat starts eating kitty litter.

Cats are private creatures and prefer covered litter boxes.

Cats are private creatures and prefer covered litter boxes.

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Explanation: Covered or uncovered? Although it depends on the kitty, most cats seem to prefer uncovered boxes, which allow them to move freely and keep an eye on what's happening around them. A covered box may help reduce unpleasant odors; an uncovered box reminds us when the box needs cleaning.

A clumping kitty litter never needs changing, just scooping.

A clumping kitty litter never needs changing, just scooping.

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Explanation: You can't scoop forever. That's because eventually cat litter becomes saturated with bad odors as small bits of waste break off scooped clumps and remain in the box. To keep kitty happy -- and odors at bay -- empty the entire litter box every two or three weeks and refill it with fresh litter. Research shows that most cats prefer 2 inches of fine-grained clay litter.

Most cats prefer scented kitty litter.

Most cats prefer scented kitty litter.

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Explanation: According to research, most cats don't like scented litter -- or deodorizers or air fresheners near the litter box. To control odors, scoop at least once a day, more often if possible. You can also help absorb odors by sprinkling a bit of baking soda at the bottom of the litter box. Remember, if you find the box stinky, so does kitty!

How many litter boxes should your home have?

How many litter boxes should your home have?

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Explanation: The general recommendation is at least one box per cat. The reason is simple: If every cat has a box available there's never any waiting or arguments if two cats want to use the box at the same time. Allow as much space as possible between litter boxes. Put them in different rooms if you can. Also be sure to place each box so the cat using it can see the approach of people and other pets.

Can litter dust bother my cat's lungs?

Can litter dust bother my cat's lungs?

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Explanation: Some cats are sensitive to dust particles. Most cats are fine with today's silica-based clay cat litter, but a few may be allergic to either the fine dust found in some scoopable litters, or to the scents used in them. Allergy symptoms might include sneezing, runny eyes, and frequent scratching. Fortunately cat litter options include recycled newspapers, pressed sawdust, wheat, wood chips, and play box sand. Although research shows that cats tend to prefer fine-grained, unscented clay litter, experiment to see which your feline friend likes.

Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.

Great work! You already know plenty about the litter box. Age and disease can make using the litter box harder for your cat, so pay attention to his or her needs.

Good job -- you have some litter box smarts! To keep your feline friend happy, clean the box regularly and look out for unusual litter box behavior.

Nice try! Maybe you learned more about your cat's litter box from this quiz. Some cats have litter box preferences -- location, covered or uncovered box, or type of litter, for example. Experiment to find the best litter box setup for your cat.

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