Eliminating cat boxes

by Elizabeth
(Scarsdale, NY)

I have three indoor/outdoor cats. We live in the northeast, and in the winter they do not like going out. Can I get rid of the litter boxes during the nice weather months? It makes me crazy if one is outside for hours, then runs in to use the box. How can I get them to go more outside?

My thoughts: I'm not a big fan of eliminating the litter box from the house, for a couple of reasons. I'll explain why below, but if I wanted to eliminate the box from the house during the warmer months, I'd do it gradually, using a phased approach.

Each day, I'd move the box a little closer to the door. I'd place it right next to its old spot, and inch-by-inch, eventually the box would make its way outside the house.

Aside from possibly causing your cat to start eliminating outside the box in the house, here's why I'm not big on removing the litter box entirely from the house:

First, cats hate change. In order to keep stress to a minimum, I try to minimize the amount of unnecessary changes, and give cats a choice when possible.

Having the box there for only part of the year seems like a change that doesn't benefit the cat, and eliminates choice. It also doesn't give your cat a place to go if the weather turns bad on any given day.

Second, the litter box can be an important tool in monitoring your cat's health. Without it, you lose that visibility into your cat's health situation.

If you try moving the box, please let us know how it works out and how your cats adapt.

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