Cats and the Litterbox

May 17, 2016 by  
Filed under All Posts

Cat Care, How to take care of a cat

Reasons Why Your Cat May Refuse To Use The Litterbox!

Inviting an animal into your household includes many responsibilities, including ensuring that their eliminations habits and patterns are healthy and appropriate. Whether you have one cat or enjoy a multi-cat family, discovering kitty poop outside of a litterbox can be quite alarming. You will need to determine the cause and treat the root cause.

If you only have one furry friend, the culprit is obvious. However, if you have more, you will need to determine which of the animals is distressed. If you have a nanny cam, you can use it temporarily to monitor the area where the urine or feces were discovered to help.

Contact your vet if you are still uncertain which kitty needs help and ask for fluorescein. This is a dye that you will feed to one cat at a time. When that animal urinates, the liquid will glow when exposed to a UV light source. You should also have at minimum, one litterbox per cat.

Now that you know which animal needs help, you have to figure out the cause. Also, an animal may begin urinating in an inappropriate location for one reason and continue to do so for another. This may complicate treatment, but you can be successful in rectifying the situation if you remain diligent and show ample love and patience.

Many of the potential problems involve the litterbox in some way. Sometimes, the problem is as simple as the cat outgrowing a litterbox that provided ample kitten space but is insufficient for your fully grown adult cat to use comfortably. Cats need to move around and choose where to eliminate. Afterwards, they require enough room to cover it without touching the sides of the litterbox.

However, before you jump online and order a new litterbox to solve everything, you need to quickly make an appointment with the family veterinarian. In some instances, an underlying medical condition is the reason an animal changes elimination behavior. Tests will determine if you can cross that reason from your list.

Once kitty has received a clean bill of health, you can return to investigating the litterbox

Once kitty has received a clean bill of health, you can return to…

Investigating the litterbox!

  1. Litterbox placement:
    Is it possible that the location has recently been changed and the animal is dissatisfied? Cats do not want to feel trapped, so placing the box between a large appliance and the wall or a similarly limiting scenario may have disrupted your pet’s sense of security with the box. Covered boxes present the same problem.
  2. Age of your cat:
    Like people, feline mobility declines with age. Your cat may have difficulty climbing in and out of litterboxes with high sides or small openings. Cats are fastidious groomers who take precautions against getting dirty.
  3. Litterbox care:
    Of course, if it is dirty, your cat may prefer to pee in your laundry pile or the corner of your closet instead. The box should be scooped out every day and washed every few weeks. If you use a non-clumping litter, you will need to completely empty the box and replace the litter once each week.
  4. New litter brand:
    If you have recently changed litter, it is possible that the new one is unpleasant to your cat. It might be the scent or texture or some other nuance that only kitty understands. The animal may prefer, or despise, clay based litter. Experiment with different types to discover what your pet finds comfortable to use.
  5. Litterbox liners:
    Although litterbox liners simplify cleaning matters for you, they can be problematic for cats. Claws can easily get snagged in the bag, creating frustration if it continues. A lesser-known problem is that these bags have a tiny bit of static charge. Your cat may actually experience a shock going in and out of the box, with the potential worsening for larger or long-hair cats.

The two main emotional causes of this problem are territorial issues and anxiety over change. The territory disputes may involve other pets in the home or animals and people your cat views from the windows. The roots of anxiety are something you will need to think about carefully. These feelings may arise from a recent move, relocation, change in household composition or some other security-threatening event.

Once you discover that your cat is eliminating outside of the litterbox, you will need to find the cause and fix the problem for your sweet, furry family member. Your kitty will feel better, and so will you!

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Contributing Author Marilyn Reid is a successful business owner and natural health enthusiast. She owns a site,, which is dedicated to providing tips, ideas, and recipes for use with essential oils and aromatherapy.


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