What do you know about your cat’s litter box?

Written By: Caitlin Perna

What can your litter box tell you about your cat?

Many people consider getting a cat because they assume they will be low maintenance to care for. In many ways this could be true- cats will often self entertain by play hunting and tend to nap for most of the day. But there is one thing that must be taken care of properly or you could be dealing with lots of messes and an unhappy cat: Litter Boxes.

First things first, how many litter boxes should you have? 

There is a common rule that says however many cats you have, have that many litter boxes + 1. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Maybe you live in a small space or have a lot of cats and 6 litter boxes is too much. That’s ok! As long as you are scoping 1-2 times a day, putting in fresh litter weekly, and have the boxes in good locations you will be fine with less. 

cat sitting funny
So what does it mean if a cat starts going OUT of the box? 

For some, it might be as simple as the location or style of litter box you have. If your cat is old, having a box they have to jump into probably isn’t a good idea. Maybe the litter box is in a high traffic area where the cat doesn’t feel safe going.

Pro Tip:  It’s better to have each box in a different locations so the cats have a choice and don’t feel stressed all going in the same place.


If you have more questions about this our Litter Box Poop Fairies can help!


Other reasons a cat might be going outside of their box could be related to household stress- a new pet, new household member, or even new furniture can cause stress for a cat! Try to minimize this stress as much as possible and consider some calming treats if needed. 

Medical issues are another cause of out of the box messes and something that should be monitored each time you scoop. UTI, bladder stones or other medical conditions can be painful so be sure to reach out to your veterinarian if you think there is something more serious going on. 

Pay attention to an excessive amount of urine, diarrhea, or the absence of either urine or feces.

Lastly, it could be territorial spraying. This is another case to reach out to your vet! It could be natural behavior- cats do it as a form of communication, but there could be more serious medical reasons behind it too.
What’s the difference between spraying and urinating? Try to see what your cat does before and after they go- if they give a small sniff and walk away afterwards, that’s spraying. If they do a bit more sniffing and turning to find the right spot and paw the area afterwards, that’s urinating.

Male and female cats both spray so don’t assume one way or the other!

2 cats lounging


The pet sitters at Perna’s Pet Care offer professional services for feeding, medicating, cleaning litter boxes and other home care tasks while you’re out of town. We will play with and cuddle your cats (if they want that) to give them the same loving care you would. Get daily updates with photos and a checklist of everything completed during the visit via our industry leading software Time to Pet. Want to learn more? Book your free consultation here!