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Top 3 Cat Products to Prevent Naughty Cat Behavior

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If you're a cat lover, you know that felines make wonderful pets...most of the time. Some cats have quirks like scratching the furniture, avoiding the litter box, and chewing on house plants. Fortunately, there are products to directly fight these three annoying cat behaviors.

1. Automatic Litter Boxes

SmartScoop litter box
Barb Nefer

When a cat stops using the litter box, it's often for a reason. Felines are fastidious creatures, and they prefer to go potty in appropriate places. Sometimes they urinate or defecate outside of their box when they have a medical problem. If a cat has a clean bill of health and still uses the floor, or another inappropriate place, for a potty, it could be that the litter box just isn't clean enough.

No one enjoys scooping a stinky litter box, but it's a necessary chore. If you don't clean out the box often enough, anyone who comes to visit will instantly know that you own a cat. Worse yet, your pet might decide to use a cleaner spot.

If you find yourself neglecting the litter box because of your busy schedule, or maybe just because you dread doing daily cleanings, an automatic litter box might be the perfect solution. Many companies make electric boxes that take care of the main scooping task. These boxes, which use clumping litter, rake the yucky clumps or spin them into a holding compartment. The litter itself stays pristine, and all you have to do is empty the compartment periodically.

I've had great results with two automatic litter boxes, the Litter Robot and the SmartScoop box. SmartScoop works with a traditional raking motion, while the Litter Robot is sphere shaped and cleans itself by rotating the sphere.

Both boxes are effective, and there are other types on the market, so choosing the right one is a matter of finding the best match for your pet. Two of my cats love the SmartScoop because they're larger felines, weighing in around 20 pounds, and the Litter Robot is somewhat claustrophobic for them. My normal-sized cat prefers the Litter Robot and fits in it very comfortably.

Obviously you still have to empty the waste compartments, and automatic boxes do need to be stripped down and scrubbed occasionally, but they're much more forgiving than their non-automatic counterparts. They're a big help in the constant battle against litter box odor.

2. Multiple Scratching Options

Scratching post
Barb Nefer

Cats need to scratch when they still have their claws. The scratching motion actually removes old nail sheathes and provides exercise for your pet. Sometimes felines decide that your new couch or a prominent patch of carpet on the living room floor is a perfect scratching spot. Fortunately, you can redirect this tendency without resorting to drastic measures like declawing. Just offer multiple scratching options.

Don't put out a single scratching post and assume that it's enough. A multi-cat household needs multiple scratching posts, and it's good to offer several options even in a house with a solo feline. You need to have an appropriate option near all the areas with bad temptations to lure those destructive claws away.

You also need to provide a few different materials. For example, some cats like to scratch carpeted posts, while others prefer sisal and still others go crazy for cardboard. Some want upright posts, while others prefer to scratch while stretching out on the floor.

It takes some experimentation, but eventually you'll find the scratcher types and locations that prevent your cat from destructive behavior. In addition to trying different materials, use catnip on your scratching posts in one of its many forms. For example, you can sprinkle on some dried flakes, or opt for catnip spray if you don't want a mess.

3. Pet Grass

Pet grass.
Barb Nefer

Indoor cats are safe from the dangers that lure outside, but they sometimes get bored. You need to take special care of indoor-only felines to make sure they get enough exercise and mental stimulation.

Sometimes indoor kitties decide that your houseplants are a great place to graze. Offset this naughty behavior by giving your cat its very own greens to chew on. Pet grass comes in two forms: fully grown cartons sold in many pet stores, usually near the checkout counter, or kits with seeds that you grow yourself.

Pet grass often eliminates chewing on plants because the greens are specially selected to appeal to felines. Most cats opt for the tasty green tendrils rather than seeking out your decorative but not as cat-friendly greenery.

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