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Why Won't My Cat Use the Litter Box?

Is your cat not using the litter box anymore? Cats cease using their litter boxes for a variety of reasons, such as problems with the litter or box itself, discontent with the arrangement or quantity of boxes, adjustments to the interior or exterior of the home (such as the addition of a new pet), and untreated medical illnesses. Many issues may be easily resolved to convince your cat to resume using the litter box.

However, it may be necessary to explore other alternatives before determining the underlying message your cat is attempting to convey.

It is important to keep in mind that cats do not purposefully urinate or defecate outside of their litter box to annoy you. Punishment will not alter or halt the behaviour.

Given that the primary cause of litter box avoidance is often tied to stress, it is counterproductive to penalize your cat, as it will exacerbate the problem for both of you and hinder the process of identifying the underlying cause.

Why Won't My Cat Use the Litter Box?
Why Won't My Cat Use the Litter Box?

Indications of Cat Litter Box Problems


Problems with the litter box 


Cats are quite particular about their litter boxes. They have certain rules regarding cleanliness, kind of litter, and location. If the cat box is occupied, unclean, or in a noisy or crowded area, your cat can choose another place to relieve themselves.

Additionally, a cat stopped using the litter box because it could not use other sorts of litter and instead chose a particular kind.




Due to their high level of sensitivity, cats are vulnerable to a variety of environmental stresses, including routine disturbances, moving to a new home, changes in family dynamics, and inter-cat fighting, which can lead to house soiling.

Stress and improper elimination can also result from boredom brought on by a lack of social engagement and environmental stimulation.



Older cats or those going through cognitive decline may find it difficult to recall their litter box routines or to go to their litter box due to mobility problems.


Medical problems


A comprehensive veterinarian examination is usually the first step in treating your cat's house-soiling problem since a variety of medical problems might cause discomfort or an increased need to urinate or defecate.

Common medical disorders such as feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), urinary tract infections (UTIs), urinary crystals or stones, renal illness, diabetes, and osteoarthritis might cause your cat to avoid using the litter box.


Territorial marking


Since the majority of home cats are neutered or spayed, territorial marking behaviour is less likely to be the reason for an unwarranted removal.

On the other hand, your kitten not using a litter box could be advertising their presence, establishing territory, or indicating to a potential mate if they spray pee on a vertical surface while standing (such as a wall or piece of furniture).

Territorial marking typically happens when your cat is uncomfortable or agitated in a new setting, when you bring a new cat into your house, or when stray cats are around.

Solutions for Litter Box Problems

After ruling out health problems and mating habits, it's time to investigate the causes of your cat's outside-the-litter box urination.


These are some fixes that will improve both your and your cat's quality of life. We've explained each one so you can understand what your cat could be considering.


Try the following remedies with patience until you discover one that works for your cat.


Establish a serene atmosphere.


Have a rigid schedule for playing and eating. Consider utilizing pheromone sprays. These are available online or at a lot of pet retailers.


Your cat may be trying to tell you that she is generally stressed out by acting differently in the litter box. Perhaps you have a new cat, a new baby, or you have relocated. Cats can become stressed out by changes in their habits or surroundings, and occasionally this stress can even result in a medical problem like a UTI.


Maintain a tidy litter box.


Make sure to thoroughly clean, disinfect, and replace all of the litter in the boxes once a week, in addition to scooping the box at least twice a day.


Cats no longer use litter boxes and prefer not to walk on unclean litter. A dirty atmosphere might affect certain people more than others.


Make Use of Shallow Bins for Litter


Give your cat small litter boxes so they can get in more easily. Your cat could move to another location if she finds it too difficult to use the litter box. Small kittens, elderly cats, and animals with particular requirements should be especially aware of this.


Get Rid of Accident Smells


Enzymatic cleaners, available at most pet stores, are specifically made to remove pet scents, so use these to wipe up any spills outside of the box. Your cat will continue to believe that the place she's meant to be going is a bathroom if she can still smell her waste there.


Reduce the area's allure.


Place the litter box in the location where your cat is pooping. If your cat is not going in the litter box, cover the space with crinkly foil, sticky tape, or upside-down carpet runners to detract from the area's attraction as a bathroom.


Your cat has decided that she wants to go to a specific area and isn't interested in stopping. Cats are, after all, big fans of routine.


Make the experience enjoyable.


Assist your cat in associating the litter box with a good thing. Purchase a new box and relocate the old one.

Whether it was a frightening noise your cat heard while she was in the litter box or a previous medical condition that made it difficult for her to go potty, your cat can connect using the litter box with unpleasant experiences.

Why Won't My Cat Use the Litter Box?
Why Won't My Cat Use the Litter Box?

How to Diagnose Issues with Your Cat's Litter Box


Take your cat to the veterinarian to determine the cause and best action if she keeps going potty outside her litter box. A full physical examination, a complete blood count, a blood chemistry test, and a urinalysis should all be performed on your cat by your veterinarian.

To help her go back to her routine after her medical issues are treated, litter box training could be required. Make sure to commend her each time she makes good use of her litter box.


Appropriate Diet


Speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns regarding your cat's urinary system. Your Vet can assist you in determining whether to start your cat on a particular urinary health cat food to aid with any urinary problems. Your Vet can also assist you in gaining a better understanding of any additional environmental elements that your cat's urinary problems may be caused by.

Litter Box Problems
Litter Box Problems

Additional Advice to Help Prevent Litter Box Problems


Every cat requires a distinctive item to mark it as their own, such as a large bed, a pod, or high shelves. They feel more confident in their territory since they have more to "own" around the house thanks to these things. They may react incorrectly if they have nothing to call their own.


Cover any windows that they could be looking out of at other cats or anything else that could be stressing them out. Cats who play with wand toys become less protective and learn to share space. It wears down the bullies as well. Litter box problems can result from a cat feeling uneasy about their territory or being mistreated.



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