Litter Box Action Plan

Rhea Dodd, D.V.M. MA, CVA
Morrison, Colorado (303) 919-1504

If allowed to choose, most cats will naturally pick clean, sandy litter, lots of space, privacy and quiet, no odors (stinky or fragrant), little competition from other cats, and a low stress environment. If your cat is healthy, the next step is to change the environment.

The doctor has diagnosed your cat with a:

  1. Surface Preference For Carpet/(Other)
  2. Litter Type Aversion
  3. Location Preference
  4. Litter Box Aversion
  5. Other

To help create a more naturally attractive and enticing litterbox, please do
the following:

  1. Increase the number of boxes to one more than the number of cats.
  2. If you use a covered box, get an uncovered one; if you use an uncovered box, get a covered one.
  3. Get an extra large box or use an under-bed storage box.
  4. Do not use plastic liners.
  5. Use only UNSCENTED, fine clumping (scoopable) type litter, 2-3 inches deep.
  6. Create a gradient from shallow to deep.
  7. Scoop once or twice daily.
  8. Add litter as needed to keep depth at 2-3 inches.
  9. Dump contents when "crumbs" of broken up urine clumps are visible, there is a noticeable odor, or about once a month.
  10. Clean only with a mild soap, such as Ivory liquid; rinse and dry well.


Place the new boxes where the cat is inappropriately eliminating. Once litter box habits are well established, move box 1-2" a day to a more appropriate location.

Clean soiled areas very thoroughly with "Anti-Icky Poo" (silly name, great product!) or "Nature's Miracle" according to package directions. Very soiled areas may require professional cleaning, carpet replacement, or sealing.

Cover soiled areas with heavy plastic, carpet runners or foil.

Place food and water or toys in the same area.

Place lemon scented glycerin soap bars or lemon scented air deodorizer in the same area, but not so close to the new litter box that it will discourage use.

Place a small square of carpet, bath mat, old T-shirt, fine wedding veil netting, synthetic fleece or hand towel in the empty litter box.

Gradually replace it with smaller squares of fabric, while simultaneously adding increasing amounts of litter.

Use an empty litter box, sprinkled with a small amount of litter.

If feasible, simply restrict cat's access to soiled area or preferred surface (e.g. keep bedroom door closed, keep laundry picked up, put 1/2 inch of water in bathtub).

DO NOT punish or scold a cat. It is not effective in correcting soiling problems and may lead to increased stress and further problems.

Correction of litterbox problems is not simple. It takes time, a financial investment, patience, and perseverance. We empathize, and are here to support you. We know if your cat could, he would thank you for having a big heart.

Note: Dr. Dodd is available for phone consults on behavioral problems, please contact her at the above phone number.