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Why Your Cat Isn’t Using His Litter Box

Whether you’ve got a new feline addition to your family or your long-time friend has suddenly started doing their business elsewhere, it can be a problem when cats refuse to use their litter box.

There can be multiple reasons why a cat won’t use their litter box, so you may have to try a trial-and-error approach to either fixing the behavior or make changes to how you’ve set up your house. The important thing is to address the problem as early as possible to prevent habits from forming. We’ve compiled a list of the most common reasons why a cat isn’t using their litter box to help you solve the problem so you can get back to happier cuddles with your kitty.

  • Are you keeping the litter box clean? Many cats are fastidious about litter box cleanliness. Scoop any waste out once a day to encourage your cat to use their litter box.

  • Have you recently switched litter brands? Most cats aren’t fans of change! If you’ve been using clay-based litter and switch to another material, like sand, it can take your cat some time to get adjusted. Ease them into the transition by mixing the two types of litters, adding a little more of the new material each time you scoop. A slow transition also allows your cat to recognize their own scent in the new litter.

  • Where is your litter box located? Are they meant to share it with other cats? Household dynamics can make sharing a litter box challenging. Cats will sometimes bully each other and prevent access to the litter box. The rule of thumb is one litter box per cat PLUS one more. Having the litter box in a high traffic area can be off-putting for your cat, everyone likes their privacy! If you have more than one floor, a litter box on each level could work.

  • Is your cat healthy? Any change in bathroom behaviour can be a sign of an underlying health issue. Cats with sore joints may have trouble climbing into the litter box. Cats with urinary issues may not be able to make it to the box in time. If you notice a change in behaviour, talk to your veterinary team.

Litter box issues are one of the most common concerns with cat owners. You can set your kitty up for success by thoughtfully planning out where their litter box should go, sticking to a cleaning schedule, choosing a safe and healthy litter, and keeping an eye out for any changes in your cat’s behaviour. Providing your cat with a clean and private area to eliminate will help keep the peace in your household!

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