In fact, the
first thing you should do if she’s improperly eliminating is take her to the
vet to rule out any medical problems. If it turns out that the issue isn’t health related, then look at other potential reasons. In fact, you might be the cause of her litterbox
Check out the gallery below to get the scoop on common
litterbox mistakes you may be making — and how to fix them.
You’re not cleaning her litterbox enough.
Many cats won’t use the litterbox if it’s not in pristine condition.
We know it’s probably not your favorite chore, but you should scoop it out at least twice daily and add more litter as needed. Clean the actual box with
baking soda or unscented soap once a week. To make your life a little easier,
make a litterbox kit with all the essentials (litter, bags and scoop), so you have everything handy.
It's in a less than ideal location.
Place your cat’s litterbox in an area that’s quiet and away
from her resting areas, as well as her food and water bowls. If there’s too much foot
traffic or if it’s too close to where she eats, she might opt to go to the
bathroom somewhere else. Also consider how much privacy the location offers and
how easy it for your cat to access it.
You don't have enough litterboxes.
For many cats, having just one litterbox to use is not going
to cut it. Instead follow this general rule: one litterbox per cat
plus one. So if you have one cat, you’ll need two litterboxes; two cats need
three litterboxes. More boxes might be necessary if your house is large or has
It's not big enough.
When it comes to litterboxes, size matters. A 2014 study
conducted by veterinarian and behaviorist Norma Guy found that cats tend to prefer
big litterboxes to small ones. Ideally, the litterbox should be at least one
and half times the length of the cat’s body (not including the tail).
Additionally, cats are not always fans of covered litterboxes, so you should try leaving it uncovered.
You're not addressing your cat's stressors.
If your cat is missing the litterbox, it could be a sign
that she has anxiety. Common stressors are when there is a move or a new baby or new pet in the household. If you have multiple cats, one of them
could be bullying your kitty and preventing her from using the litterbox. The
stressor could even be more subtle than that. For instance, she might be stressed
that you changed to a new type of litter, moved her litterbox to a new location or that the depth of litter has
changed. If you’re not sure what’s causing your kitty to miss the litterbox,
talk to your veterinarian, who may refer you to a veterinary behaviorist.
Vetstreet.com delivers advice from veterinarians, trainers and pet experts who are dedicated to giving you the most trusted, authoritative information for keeping pets healthy and happy. Our Find A Vet service connects you with leading veterinarians in your area. Launched in 2011, Vetstreet.com features veterinarian-reviewed medical advice and has quickly become one of the top animal health and lifestyle sites on the web. See more.