Q. We have a female cat that has started to pee in the floor. She has been fixed for years but refuses to use her box.
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. Sudden changes in litter box habits can be caused by a number of things. As with any sudden change in behavior, making sure your cat is healthy with a checkup from your vet is the first step. Common problems such as arthritis or even urinary tract infections may make a cat unable to use their box, or cause accidents to happen. Once the health issue has been addressed, you can also address the behavioral one. Cleaning with an enzymatic cleaner on accident spots will remove urine enzymes and deter cats from using the area again to go potty. For older cats with arthritis, using a box with lower sides or a ramp into it can help make getting in and out easier. If the litter has been changed recently to a different type, it may need to be switched back to the older litter and then gradually changed to the new as cats can be VERY picky about the litter type used. And lastly, making sure the box is clean and that food, water and bedding areas are not too close to the box can help encourage your cat to go appropriately.