A Guide to Using the Litter Box for Handicapped Cats

You don’t often see information about special considerations cat owners need to make when it comes to litter box use and maintenance for special needs kitties.

Due to their limited mobility or lack of sight, choosing the right litter box type and location is absolutely critical for disabled cats.

litter box for handicapped cats

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 her 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 her way to it again. A lot of patience will be necessary.

You’ll also want to think about the type of cat litter box. Hooded litter boxes can be confusing even for cats who do not have mobility or vision concerns, so they are not recommended for cats with disabilities. A regular tray is likely the best option. Just make sure it’s not too high to climb up in, otherwise she’s going to get discouraged, and she’ll find another, easily accessible location to void her urine.

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. 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 himself to one area, then you may only need to consider litter box placement in that part of your home. And just like you should for blind kitties, consider the type of cat litter box that’s best for your senior cat. If he has stiff joints, be sure he can easily climb in and out of the box. If he’s unable to squat to urinate, you’ll need a high-sided box.

high sided litter box for handicapped cats

Dosckocil (Petmate) CDS22007 Plastic Hi-Back Cat Litter Pan, Large, Assorted from Amazon

That said, a good first step is to 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 often face daunting challenges when it comes to using the cat tray. They can’t feel anything back in that region, so very often their voiding functions simply happen without notice. 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 odour problem in your home, that’s a small price to pay.

If you choose not to diaper your cat, you will 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.

litter box for handicapped cats

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. As always, consult with your vet for more ideas.

With a little bit of thought and preparation, special needs kitties can live a happy and healthy life. Handicapped cats can be as trouble-free as any other when using their litter box.


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