If kitty suddenly starts missing the litter box, there are several things you can check about the facilities you’re offering.


Is the box big enough? It should be 2-3 times the length of kitty.


Is the litter acceptable? Generally, cats prefer unscented clumping litter.


Is it clean? Scrupulously clean? Best to scoop daily and change out the litter weekly.


How many boxes is enough? In general, the number of cats plus one, because some cats will use one location for urination and another for bowel movements.


Social factors include the atmosphere around the box. For instance, if the facilities are near something that might make a sudden noise such as a furnace, kitty may be reluctant to use them. Also watch for interactions with other pets. I have an ambush expert so I use semi-transparent storage containers so he can be spotted by the ambushee.


Once you ensure a clean, dry, peaceful place, then there are other factors to consider.


And note: If at any time your cat (especially a neutered male) suddenly begins ‘camping out’ near the litter box, climbing in and out often, or crying out while in the box, get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Urinary blockages are life-threatening emergencies. More on that next time.


If your cat suddenly starts urinating outside the litter box, the first thing to ask is: What changed?


Let’s start with the litter — is everything the same? Location, type of litter, frequency of scooping?


Did something in the household change? New visitor or resident? Did a pet or a family member leave or move in recently? I’ve even seen a cat develop inappropriate urination because of the truck noises from landscaping next door.


What about the household routine? Any changes in work schedules, or recent travel?


If something changed recently, then change it back and see if that helps. If not, then we’ll talk more next time.


As before, if your cat (especially a neutered male) suddenly starts moving in and out of the litter box, crying or straining, then get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.