Cat Not Using The Litter Box? 7 Reasons and tips to fix this problem

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Has your cat stopped using the litter box? Or never fully adapted and is refusing to use it? This can cause different problems for the cat and the cat owner, so it's important to figure out the true issue so you can solve and correct it quickly.

Cats can stop using the litter box for a number of reasons. For example: undiagnosed medical condition, not liking the litter box itself (you may have to change it), dirty litter box issues, and other reasons.

If you cat or kitten is not using the litter box, they will begin laying wastes in different places in your home. Keep reading to see what you can do to solve this issue. 

Cat don't use litter box

Undiagnosed Medical Condition in Cats

Consider bringing your cat to the vet for a physical exam. Your cat may feel discomfort when peeing or pooping, and could associate this pain with the litter box and start avoiding it altogether. 

At a medical check your cat will be checked for any medical conditions, and if your vet sees that something is wrong, will prescribe the proper medicine. After you've dealt with the medical condition, everything should be back to normal and your feline should start using the box again. 

Declawed Cats and Litter

Declawed cats have sensitive paws, and may find the litter inside the box to be too hard and painful to step and scratch on. Consider changing the litter to a more softer one, with smaller and lighter granules.

Many well-known brands have started manufacturing softer letter that's made of: wood fiber, paper pellets, whole-kernel corn, wheat and other eco-materials. They are softer and more lightweight when compared to clay or crystal litter. Read our article and review on the best litter for declawed cats

Why Cats Won't Use The Litter Box?

There could be problems with the litter box itself. Read the tips below and see which problem describes the best the situation you have at home.

7 Reasons Why Your Cat Pees or Poops Outside of The Litter Box

1. Dirty Litter Box

Cats are clean animals like to do their business in a clean litter. If they see that there is uncleaned poop or urine inside they might want to look for another place in the house that suits them better. 

Make sure you scoop the litter box at least twice daily. If you are away from home often and are not able to scoop it regularly, then you might want to consider getting a "self-cleaning" litter box.

They have a motor rake which will scoop all the clumps inside the box, and drop them in an enclosed waste container. It does this every time your cat steps out of the box, usually 20 min. afterwards. The box stays clean and you don't have to scoop or touch it for 1-4 weeks depending on the brand and model.

2. Not Enough Litter Boxes

If you have one feline at home, you might want to try and get them a second litter box. Some cats actually prefer to urinate in one box and poop in a different one. 

If you have more than one cat, you've probably noticed by know if they like sharing one box or might want their own box. This depends on their preferences, and it's good to test out and add more litter boxes and see if this solves the problem.

3. Wrong Type of Litter

So if your cat doesn’t like to use its litter box, it may be because that he/she doesn't like the touch and feel of it. It’s very easy to fix this. Just come to the pet store and let your kitten have access to the most commonly used litter. Choose the type that he/she like the most.

kitten not using the litter box

If your feline has a sensitive nose, then you should buy an unscented litter without any perfumes added. Check out our recommendations of the top rated cat litter, so you can find the best one. 

Also, make sure you always have enough litter inside the box. Make sure you periodically fill in more litter, and have at least 3 inches inside. 

4. Location of Litter Box

Cats need to feel safe when using the litter box. Avoid placing it near noisy appliances (ex: washing machine or laundry), also make sure it's not placed in a tight area with little free space. 

Don't place it near their food and water station. Also, pick a place that gives them privacy and where they won't be interrupted by other members of your family. 

Try placing the litter tray in several different locations in your home, until you find the spot that works the best for your feline.

5. Litter Box Might Be Too Small

If you have a larger cat, make a note of the size of the litter box that it's using. As a general rule of thumb, the box should be one and a half times the size of your cat from tip of nose to the base of the tail. 

If the box is too small, your feline will feel uncomfortable. So make a note and try a bigger one. 

cat not using litter box

6. Wrong Type Of Litter Box

There are lots of different types of litter boxes sold, with all kinds of different features that we think are cool and handy for our pet. For example, the hooded litter box does give your cat privacy and prevents litter from scattering on the floor. However, your feline may feel confined inside and scared of using it, and as a result will pee outside litter box. 

7. Older And Senior Cat Not Using Litter Box

If you have an older cat you may want to check the height of the walls of the litter box. It they are too high, they'll probably have trouble getting inside and accessing it. 

Cat Stopped Using Litter Box: Could Be Caused By Stress

We shouldn't forget that cats are also live creatures, that are also effected emotionally from the environment surrounding them. If your cat is not using litter box all of a sudden, stress could be the problem. If you have a multi-cat household, there might be issues arising from territory battles between your cats. 

Other stressful situations in your cat's life could be a move, renovation, a baby, etc. Make a note of any abrupt changes that have happened at home, and try to spend more time with your cat and give them more attention and care. 

Punishing Your Cat

While we all want to punish our cats when they have done something wrong, in this case this can have the opposite effect and make matters worse. Avoid punishment and focus on figuring out the true cause of this problem so everything can get back to normal. 

Check out this short but useful video below on "Why your cat won't use the litter box?"

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