Cat litter box strategies for special need kitties
You don't often hear about or see information for special needs kitties. These may be blind, very old (with limited mobility), or disabled in some way. Disabled cats may be amputees, or even paralyzed. There are special mobile devices you can purchase for your paralyzed cat.
But this article will talk a little bit about the cat litter box concerns for special needs kitties. Due to their limited mobility or lack of site, litter box type and location are absolutely critical.
If you have a blind cat, your best bet is maintain location consistency as much as possible. When your blind kitty has become accustomed to finding his cat litter box in one location, the most successful strategy is to leave the box there. However, if you have to move the box, you'll need to help retrain your blind cat to find his way to it again. A lot of patience will be necessary. You could even confine the blind cat to that particular location for awhile, so he'll re-learn how to find the litter box easily.
You'll also want to think about the type of cat litter box. If it's too high to climb up in, he's going to get discouraged, and he'll find another, easily accessible location to void his urine. You may even need to buy a large storage container, cut out a "U"-shaped entrance (the bottom of the "U" should be up about 3 - 4" to hold the cat litter in the box), and train kitty to find it.
Obviously, this depends upon the type of dwelling you live in, how many other cats and litter boxes are in your home, and if you own a multi-story house. Consult with your vet for other strategies.
Very old cats often develop mobility issues. If this true for your kitty, you may need to strategically place cat litter boxes in places you didn't previously consider, just to make it easy for your senior cat to make it to the box in time. Again, if you live in a multi-story house, you'll probably have to place cat litter boxes on different levels.
However, if your senior cat voluntarily confines herself to one area, then you may only need to consider litter box placement in that part of your home. And just like blind kitties, consider the type of cat litter box that's best for your senior cat. If she has stiff joints, be sure she can easily climb in and out of the box. If she's unable to squat to urinate, you'll need a high-sided box. The solution given above may be just the ticket to avoid cat urine odor problems for your senior kitty.
Talk to your vet to see if there are any medications that may ease your cat's joint pain. This removes most of the challenge of getting to the cat litter box in time.
Paralyzed cats face daunting challenges. They can't feel anything back in that region, so very often their voiding functions simply happen. I have had cat owners tell me that the best solution is to diaper the cat. The downside is you have to constantly check the diaper, but if it stops a cat urine odor problem in your home, and you can keep your wonderful, special kitty, that's a small price to pay.
You will probably want to make certain that your home has as much tile floor exposed as possible. Carpet cleaning can be costly, and eventually the material will not clean up as well as it used to, making replacement necessary and costly.
Some cat owners confine their paralyzed kitty to one area of their home that's easy to clean up. Consult with your vet on the best strategy for your paralyzed kitty.
If your special needs kitty is an amputee, you may either have a few cat litter box problems, or absolutely none. I have met cat owners who tell their three-legged cat has no trouble balancing in the litter box. Others report that the only thing they need to do to accommodate their amputee cat is to make sure they buy cat litter boxes that are low enough for kitty to hop in and out of.
Cats that lose a limb later in life may have some initial balancing issues. I recommend confining kitty to one area with a floor that's easy to clean up, while the amputee practices new cat litter box skills. Consult with your vet for more ideas.
With a little bit of thought and preparation, special needs kitties can as trouble-free as any cat when using the cat litter box.