Sometimes I find myself worrying about kitties--the ones that end up in the pound, put to sleep, or thrown out of homes because of behavioral problems.  Yesterday (and today) was one of those times.

For... well... as long as I can remember, I've been involved one way or another with rescue cats.  And dogs.  Be it the kitty someone dumped on the block and I brought home, or spending time in the Humane Society or animal control, or being a foster or organizer for a breed or general animal rescue, I've done it.  A lot.  At times I have been overwhelmed--at one point several years ago I had 15-20 foster kitties living in my basement at any time, in addition to my own pets who lived with me upstairs, because the local humane society in the little town I was living in didn't have a permanent facility.  There are so many animals needing help--and the majority, in my experience, are there for behavioral issues.  For cats, this usually relates to going to the bathroom outside of the litter box.  When they do that, yeah--it's a pain.  But what a lot of people don't understand is that it is usually pretty easily correctable--especially with the tools we have today!  Some people do try--really hard--and fail.  This is usually because they do not understand cat behavior, not because the cat is bad, or thru any other fault of the owner.

The first step in correcting bad litter-box behavior is determining why kitty is doing it.  I say that--but I guess the first step is actually two parts--trying to figure out why kitty is going outside of the box, AND--just as importantly--starting proper cleanup, because every day the behavior goes on, and the smells become set, is another chunk of time it is going to take to correct the problem.  If kitty goes outside the box because of a medical issue, for example, the seed is planted in both kitty's mind and, literally, in your carpet-- because cats are very scent driven.  So even if you are on the ball and get the medical issue cleared up in days, if those spots aren't cleaned up PROPERLY and quickly, you are likely going to have an issue.  Even worse if you have multiple cats!

I am going to write separate posts for clean up techniques and identifying problems shortly, and will make links to them on a new information page I am going to add to my website for people looking for information, and especially for my new owners.

I guess what I most want people to know is that often times litter box behavior is one of the easier things to change about your cat, and that cleaning up cat messes is infinitely doable. Even big ones that have been around a while.  I know, because I have done both hundreds of times.  With the products available today it is really not very hard or time consuming to clean things up, and no one will ever know it happened but you.  The products are that good!  And behavior modification is not that hard, either, just takes a little patience and knowing how to go about it--the last part being the main problem most people face.  Dog training techniques will NOT work on cats.  (It usually makes things a lot worse.)  Cat techniques are actually usually much easier, results come sooner, and they require less effort by the owner.