Why Does My Cat... Not Use the Litterbox?

Litterbox issues are a big concern for many cat owners. Indoor cats, after all, must go somewhere. And when a cat starts peeing or pooping outside his litterbox, it's something that must be addressed. 

Here are some of the causes:

  1. There's a medical problem. Your cat may be dealing with a urinary or gastrointestinal condition or some other illness, including kidney disease, thyroid disease or diabetes. It's best to schedule an appointment with a vet to rule out any medical issues.
  2. There's been a major, stressful change in her routine, such as a new baby in the house (human or animal!), a move, a vacation, etc.
  3. There's been a seemingly minor change that's stressed her out, including moving her litterbox or using a new type of litter. Even changing the average depth of the litter in the box can upset a cat and cause her to pee or poo somewhere else.
  4. There's a hygiene problem. Cats can be fastidious. If the litterbox isn't cleaned often enough, some cats will choose to go elsewhere.
  5. There's a crowding problem. Some cats simply don’t like to share, and if there are too many cats using the litterbox, they'll find someplace else. 
  6. There's a safety problem. Many litterboxes are covered or in a small space, and cats can become afraid of an ambush by aggressor cats in the household when they find themselves trapped in tight spots.
  7. He's simply found a place he likes better.

These are just a few of the typical issues, but there are many more possible reasons. And since health-related issues can play such a large role, ruling out medical causes is strongly recommended as a first line of defense.

For more help and information, check out other Vetstreet articles on litterbox issues.

This article was written by a Veterinarian.

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