Senior CatI’ve just finished setting up a litterbox in my living room. Whoo-hoo!

OK, yeah, not actually doing the happy dance. There are reasons litterboxes tend to live in out-of-the-way places, starting with how they look and ending with how they can smell.* But Miss Molly Brown, my 16-year-old tabby girl, has arthritis.

“My cat started peeing on the rug,” people tell us. “She’s never peed outside the litterbox before! Why would she do that?”

Sometimes the kitty has a bladder infection. Or a stone, or some other ouchy-bladder reason. But if we don’t find a medical issue, then sometimes it’s just that the litterboxes have gotten harder to get to. When the box is upstairs, and you’re elderly and your joints hurt, and you have to pee more often because your kidneys aren’t quite what they used to be, well…upstairs can be a long way to go. While the rug, on the other hand…

Thinking about how your cat navigates your house is never the first thing on anyone’s mind. Especially if your kitty’s been a litterbox rock star his entire life. Ain’t broke, don’t fix, right? But if your cat is older, it’s worth taking a little time to think about where his vital resources are (food, water, litter, resting places) and how easy—or not—it is for him to get to those places. It’s all about making our older cats’ lives more comfortable…which in the long run, makes our lives easier. After all, it’s a lot simpler to prevent peeing on the rug than trying to get the smell out afterward. (Learned that one the hard way.)

So: in addition to the two litterboxes upstairs, a new one on the ground floor. And it’s already been baptized. Guess I’ll take that as a vote of approval.

* More on the odor issue in a future post—because really it doesn’t have to be that way.