Features to consider

When buying a litter box for a disabled or handicapped cat, you should mind a few important aspects.

  1. It must have a low entry point for a cat to get to the litter area without hindrances. If a litter box has high walls, you can use a ramp or stairs. If you don’t provide your cat with barrier-free access to its box, it may start peeing and pooping around.
  2. Self-cleaning is a lifesaver for pet owners who are always away. While you’re at work, your handicapped cat will need to visit the toilet several times. The presence of poop, wet and dirty litter might discourage it from doing the business. Retention is harmful to both the intestine and urinary system. With an automatic litter box, you make sure the litter box is always clean & fresh.
  3. Materials. Plastic can be different: some kinds of it are unsuitable for litter boxes due to their porous texture, while others are more hygienic and even feature an antimicrobial cover. Check what the litter box is made of. Mind that the surface should be non-sticky.
  4. Wall height. If your cat is an active litter kicker, opt for a dome: it is closed and will prevent scattering of dust and dirt. High-wall litter boxes (15 ft and higher) are also a great solution. 

Litter box alternatives for handicapped cats

The choice of alternative should depend on the cat’s health issues. For example, cats with arthritis may find it hard to enter the litter box. This is where dog litter pans. A very low entrance makes it easy for a senior cat to access the zone. However, it won’t retain litter well, so you should place a pad nearby to collect the residues of waste.

Another pretty low construction is a plant growing tray: it is enough for a senior cat to enter it. However, you should buy a model without drain holes to prevent leaking. There’s an abundance of trays in brick-and-mortar gardening stores, so finding an option won’t be a problem. Besides, there’s a rich choice of sizes, so they are suitable for one or several pets.

If you need a similar object with a lid, consider a bed storage box and use a knife to cut out a low entrance (make sure to polish the edges and make them safe and non-scratch for your cats). You can use the lid to prevent diffusion of odor, yet it is not the most convenient option for a feline friend.

If none of these options are suitable for your pet and you prefer a classic litter box, take care of organizing free access to it. Buy a ramp for cat litter box – it might be adjusted to fit any wall height. The incline has three positions (levels). 

Please, note that for all these options, you’ll need a rug that will absorb spills and retain waste. 

FAQ

How do handicapped cats go to the bathroom?

If a cat is not paralyzed, it can visit a bathroom without help. Most likely, such a cat will be moving by using a wheelchair. The owner should keep the bathroom door open and provide access to the litter box. 

When it comes to paralyzed cats, bladder control is the biggest problem. Usually, owners massage and slightly squeeze the bladder for a cat to urinate. It is done several times a day.

In most cases, handicapped cats are often washed because of inconsistency problems or problems with accurate peeing and pooping. Pee pads are also great for this purpose.

How can I help my handicapped cat poop?

When you’re not around, diapers can do the thing and save your home from a mess. If your cat needs help, do the squeezing method. Rub the cat’s stomach and perform circular motions around the anus. Before that, you need to ensure the cat is ready to poop: it is done by inserting a finger in the rectum (use gloves and lubricant). Massage will also relieve discomfort and promote healthier defecation.

What if a cat cannot pee?

If your feline friend has problems with urination, first aid  should be provided. If the cat stopped going to the toilet, and there is no opportunity to visit the veterinary clinic, you should examine the animal yourself to find out the degree of fullness of the bladder. Put the cat on its paws and clasp it with two hands. After that, you should carefully probe the bladder on a line that is perpendicular to the testes. With severe inflammation, the cat will not allow this to be done – you need to take her to the clinic urgently.

If you succeeded in examining the bladder, evaluate its size and pay attention to how dense it is. In normal conditions, this organ is the size of a nut and soft to the touch. An enlarged and hard bladder indicates serious problems, so you should show your pet to a vet as soon as possible. To alleviate the condition of your furry friend, you can put a heating pad on the stomach and crotch.

Conclusion

Caring about a handicapped cat means transforming the environment to make it more convenient. Ensuring free access to the litter box is crucial, and now you know which models are suited best for this task. Choose according to your pet’s health issues and preferences. For kittens, senior cats, and felines with arthritis, you should prefer models with a low entrance. If your cat is active and tends to scatter waste around, choose a dome with steps – it is the most hygienic option.

Is a self-cleaning option necessary? It depends on how much time you spend near your pet. If you’re regularly away, spend your day at work, or even go on business trips, make sure the cat litter box can maintain itself. Most cats need to poop once-twice and pee four times a day so that they will be grateful to you for freshness and cleanliness.

I am Claudine, a College of Veterinary Medicine alumni and cat health & lifestyle specialist. In this blog, I share my personal experience and recommendations on improving cat’s diet, behavior, and both physical and psychological state.