Last Updated on April 13, 2020
For some cats, going to the litter box isn’t an option. This can be due to injuries, incontinence from an illness, or just general aging that has caused your kitty to be temporarily immobile. Many cat parents aren’t prepared for this kind of thing and often feel overwhelmed by their cat’s accidents. While some are still in control of their bladders and bowel movements, they still can’t move on their own to get up and go to the box. There are a few things you can do to ease your stress as well as your cat’s stress.
Puppy pads are a great way to allow an immobile cat to have a clean place to go that can just be disposed of after. Since these are leak-proof, you can place this on the sofa, bed, or over a blanket without any worry. Most are relatively cheap and they come in different sizes. They will have to be checked and changed frequently so I recommend getting them in larger quantities. If your cat is able to walk again and you have leftovers, you can either donate them to an animal shelter or keep them for other uses around the house.
For cats who can’t be monitored around the clock, diapers are a surprisingly good option. You will still want to check them frequently throughout the day to prevent a rash. They come in both disposable and washable. The best ones to invest in are washable ones. You will need to wash them after every use but they do a great job at containing odor and once your cat is used to them, they tend not to mind them.
When given the option, opt for “female” diapers. Most of these are made for dogs and female ones are on the smaller more snug side to fit cats better.
Towels and Bags
For those who are in a pinch or have to make do with what they have for now, using towels and garbage bags is an option. This works the same way as the puppy pads. You simply lay down a garbage bag, place a towel over that, and then your cat on top. For added protection, you can fold up a paper towel and keep this slightly tucked under the hind legs. If you don’t want to use your own towels, cheap ones can often be found at dollar stores. If you are able to lay your cat on a pillow, you can roll the towel up and place that next to the pillow on a garbage bag. This will ensure your cat isn’t sitting in urine. These will need to be swapped and washed after your cat has peed on it.
Cats don’t like going to the bathroom where they lay. This is especially true for cats who have been scolded in the past from spraying or peeing outside of the litter box. It is important that you make them feel at ease and comfortable with going where they are. If they still have control, they might try to hold it in out of fear. Once they feel relaxed, they will be able to go when they need to. Be sure to use baby or pet wipes with no chemicals to clean the backs of their legs after they have emptied their bladder. Cleanliness is very important to cats.
What About Poop?
Cats will slow their metabolism and go less frequently and have firmer stools when they are not as active, or active at all. Keeping gloves on hand is the easiest way to deal with this. Just put on a glove, pick the poo up, and toss it in the toilet to flush. If you don’t want to flush it, just keep small bags nearby to dispose of it. Be sure to ask your vet about assisting with bowel movements. You may have to do belly massages to keep things moving for them.
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4 thoughts on “Litter Box Alternatives for Injured Cats”
My groomer nicked my cats nail bad. Now I have to use shredded paper in his litter box not litter to pre ent infection it’s been almost 20 hours he will not pee and is meowing a lot, what. An I do
Thanks for your comment Theresa. Put the shredded paper in a container with his normal cat litter. Give it a few shakes and let it sit for 20 or so minutes. Then put the paper in the box without the litter. The scent of the litter should transfer enough to the paper to encourage him to use it. Alternatively, if he allows you to do it, you can put a small baggy over his paw with a sock over that and tie it off then set him in a shallow pan of litter and monitor him as he goes to the bathroom. Remove the cover when he is done and put the litter pan out of the way. You will have to do this ever 3 or so hours until he is able to use the box again without the risk of an infection. It is very important he does not hold in his urine too long as it can lead to a bladder infection or crystals.
The washable cat diapers seem like the best option. Is there a specific brand you would recommend?
Thanks for your comment Sarah. The Grand Line ones in the image above get the best reviews. Having not personally used them myself, I can only recommend them based on others using them for their cats.