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Claustrophobia?
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Claustrophobia?

One of my 3 cats was the runt of the litter. His brother has groomed him more than he has himself from day 1. They've been with us for over 7 years. Ricky's always had problems with the litter box, has intermittent diarrhea, and we're assuming he's the one that relieves himself right outside the litter box. Is his problem a fear of discomfort from illnesses or is it possible he's claustrophobic? We've tried going with an uncovered litter box, but it is SO messy. We now have a dog, and want to make one room of the house a cat-only zone & maybe move the litter box in there (it's currently in the laundry room). To keep the dog out so that their toys won't be destroyed & they can play or relax in peace, we were thinking of getting a pet gate with a cat-sized door in it, but we're concerned Ricky won't go through it. Any suggestions on how to help our kitty with his problems?
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234713_tn?1283530259
Cats are finicky.  Some cats hate covered litter boxes, and some are afraid of using them.

In a multi-cat household the dominant or alpha cat may "own" the litter box, and will attack other cats when they try to use it.  You may never observe this behavior, but it can occur.

A rule of thumb for litter boxes is that you should have one more litter box  than the amount of cats, therefore if you have 3 cats you should have 4 litter boxes.  

Additionally, some cat's have rotten aim, and their bottom's hang out over the litter box.  In this case you just need a larger pad below the litter box.
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646410_tn?1247255453
Wow. I hadn't thought of the bad aim & litter box "owner" thing. One of the cats does insist on being the 1st in after it's cleaned... Well, once we set up the "cat room", we'll increase the # of boxes & put as big a mat as we can find under them & leave the tops off of a couple. Thanks a lot for your help!
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234713_tn?1283530259
Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
Randolph, NJ
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