Cat Not Using the Litterbox

Cat Not Using the Litterbox

Written by Dr. Silke Bogart

Your cat may avoid using the litter pan for many reasons; He or she may be sick, stressed by other cats in the household, or merely turned off by the litter pan itself!  Here are some pointers to make your cat’s litterbox a spa experience he or she will always use.

Keep The Litterbox Clean

Cats are very clean animals. Can you imagine if you had to walk through pee or poop to use the bathroom? Cats don’t want to do that either.  In the wild, a cat uses a new, clean bathroom spot each time. If the litter pan is dirty, your cat will not want to step a “paw” in it.  Instead, he or she will find a ‘cleaner” place, such as your carpet, bed, or a pile of freshly laundered clothes. To prevent house-soiling, scoop out the litter box daily and wash it weekly with a mild dish detergent.

What Kind of Litterbox is Best?

Your cat not only wants a clean litter pan, he or she may also be particular about the type of pan in use. Have you ever watched a cat eliminate outside? Well, most of us haven’t but, if you did, you’d see that the cat circles a very large area to be sure the location is safe from predators before deciding to void. That same instinct to feel safe from predators still applies inside your house. Cats like large, uncovered litter boxes giving them lots of room to move around and check for threats. Ideally, the box should be large enough for your cat to stand up and turn fully around. Choose a box with high sides if your cat likes to vigorously cover their stool and choose a low side (or cut down the front) to help older arthritic cats get in and out of the box more easily. If you choose a covered box to keep litter in the pan or to keep a dog out of the pan, remember that the cover will concentrate odors more so your cat may not use a covered pan if it is not kept very clean. Also, the litter itself is important to your cat. Many cats are put off by the odor of scented or deodorant litters. Fill the box with enough litter so that your cat can bury the waste (usually at least 2 inches deep). Once you find a litter your cat likes, don’t change it or your cat may disapprove of the new ‘bathroom flooring’.

Location, Location, Location

Litter box location is important. Cats want quiet and privacy when using their litter box. Place the box away from appliances or furnaces that may startle the cat and in a location where humans and other animals can’t sneak up on the cat. In multi-cat households, place the pan where the cat isn’t cornered when leaving or could be ambushed by another cat. The rule “one litter box per cat plus one” will increase the likelihood that your cat can find a clean box when they need it without interference from other cats.


Posted on

March 19, 2017

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