If you’re thinking, “Duh, what a lousy cat tip! Thanks for stating the obvious!” then congratulations! You probably know more about cat care than many owners. You’d be surprised to find out just how many owners feel that it’s perfectly ok to put the food and water dishes right next to the litterbox.
For many people, it makes sense to have a “cat corner” in their small home where they place everything related to the cat. After all, their hamster lives in a small cage where he’s got his “toilet corner” right next to the food dishes, so why would the cat be any different?
What’s more, many people will tell you that it’s ok. After all, this is how their litterbox has been set up for years without any problems.
Only it’s not ok at all.
Why you should place food dishes as far away from the litterbox as possible
First, a word about that poor hamster. Every pet deserves to have enough room to keep elimination away from the food. This includes hamsters and other small critters. If you want to keep a pet, invest in a cage that’s large enough for your hammie to have a “poo corner” away from where he eats. And don’t forget to clean the cage often.
Back to the felines now…
Cats don’t like urinating or defecating next to where they eat more than you do.
If you’re at a restaurant, you probably prefer to be seated away from the door that leads to the toilets, right? Imagine being forced to take your dinner inside the bathroom, right next to the stalls? Would you eat your food?
Probably not. You’d go someplace else to eat, right?
Cats don’t have that privilege. Their food dish is the only source of available food. If it’s right next to the toilets, they can do one of two things –
- Suffer in silence and eat in disgust.
- Declare that the toilets are no longer the toilets and look for another place for their toilet needs. It’s called litterbox avoidance and it’s the cat owner’s worse nightmare.
Some cats stick to eating “next the toilets” for years. And then something snaps. Additional stress accumulates and one day Kitty decides that “enough is enough” and starts eliminating on the rug.
Don’t wait for a behavior problem to happen
Prevention is better than cure. Once your cat begins using the floor tiles or the rug for her bathroom needs, a habit may be quick to form. It’s going to be much harder to break that habit. So much easier to get the litterbox setup right from the get go and prevent Kitty from ever having to face the dilemma: My food or my toilets?
There many other things cat owners need to know about the litterbox. Here’s a great post by TheCatSite.com that connects you to everything you need to know about your cat’s litterbox.
Think you know everything already? Why not test yourself with this quiz?
How did you do? Let me know in the comments!
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