Cats have enchanted humans for centuries with the low rumble of a satisfied purr, the rhythmic knead of a contented paw, the velvet rub of thick fur.
Then there's the litter box.
This bane of cat-loving humans, when gone wrong, threatens to upend our age-old kinship. An estimated 50 percent of all feline behavioral problems referred to veterinarians are rooted in litter box avoidance. And the more a cat refuses to use the litter box, the greater the problem grows.
Cats who relieve themselves outside the litter box once a week are four times more likely to be given up by their humans. If the problem occurs daily, these same cats face 28:1 odds of finding themselves searching for new homes [source: Dodman].
There's much you can do to prevent litter box problems or correct them once they begin. From investigating medical culprits to selecting the right litter box location, paying attention to the details can help preserve your relationship with Kitty for years to come. And isn't that the (wonderful) point? Here are five common causes of litter box issues.