Inappropriate Elimination, What to Do When your Cat Refuses to Use the Litter Box
Owners of cats are frequently understandably upset when their cat begins to pee or defecate in areas other than the litter box on their property. Almost one cat in ten will experience an improper elimination problem at some point in her life.
Why isn’t my cat using the litter box?
It is possible for a cat to cease using the litter box for a variety of reasons, such as:
- It is possible for a cat to cease using the litter box for a variety of reasons, which include:
Remember that urinating or defecating outside of the litter box is unusual; your cat is communicating with you to let you know that something is not right!
What should I do if my cat starts urinating or defecating outside the litter box?
Make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. One of the most prevalent causes of litter box issues is that the cat is attempting to communicate with you that she is unwell or in discomfort. It’s possible that you have a simple urinary tract infection or that you have something more serious. After medical explanations have been ruled out, you may begin to investigate the other possibilities for the onset of the condition. Keep the cat out of trouble by not punishing her or confining her to a single room.
Cats are not taught to use a litter box; instead, they do so of their own volition.
What medical reasons can cause litter box problems?
Depending on the cause, your cat might have a urinary tract infection, crystals in the urine, bladder stones, or external diseases like urethritis or vaginitis. Perhaps it is pain caused by an unrelated disease such as an abscessed tooth or arthritis, which is difficult to distinguish. Why? If your cat has pain or discomfort when using the litter box, she is unlikely to recognize that the discomfort is being caused by her kidneys, a broken tooth, or any other underlying medical condition. She just knows that using the litterbox causes pain, therefore she’ll try to locate another spot to excrete in the hopes that this would alleviate the discomfort.
After the medical condition has been cured, you may find that you need to adjust the appearance, feel, or position of the litter box in order to encourage your cat to use the litter box again.
- Kidney failure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, and anxiety disorders are among conditions that can occur.
- Constipation, impacted anal glands, intestinal parasites, skin or flea allergies, and cancer are all possible outcomes.
In certain cases, proper treatment of the underlying medical illness might put an end to your cat’s excessive elimination. If this is not the case, it is necessary to investigate other probable explanations.
Stress-related elimination problems
Indeed, agitated cats may urinate or defecate outside of the litter box as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction with their situation. Household changes such as relocation, the birth of a kid, the addition of another pet, and so on, can cause stress to your family. It is possible that these tensions will not only produce litter box issues, but they may also worsen pre-existing medical concerns. Allow the cat to explore new people and things at her own speed whenever feasible by introducing changes gradually.
- Food, drink, litter boxes, a cozy kitty bed, and a few toys should all be available in the secure area.
- Introduction to the saferoom is not required; nonetheless, you should allow the cat to utilize the room whenever she feels the need to do so.
- A tall, robust cat tree provides your cat with a safe perch from which to see what is going on in the room, as well as a safe haven in which to hide.
- The elevated position provides your cat with a sense of security and control.
- Consider using Feliway, which is a synthetic substance that mimics feline face pheromones and helps a cat feel more comfortable in his or her surroundings.
Spray and electric diffuser versions of this product are both available. There are a range of educational handouts and behavioral therapy services that we provide to assist you in making your cat more satisfied and less anxious.
Aggression between cats
In a multi-cat home, hostility amongst cats may be a source of worry for everyone. If you provide plenty of litter boxes, as well as several food and water dishes, you may significantly lessen the hostility of your cat. It is critical that the cats do not have to compete over a limited number of bowls and litter boxes! Feeding stations and litter bins should be scattered throughout your home; do not concentrate them in one location! When cats are eliminating, they are at their most vulnerable, therefore it is critical to ensure that they feel comfortable in the litter box and will not be ambushed by other cats, the family dog, or an inquisitive child!
You can also call us if you want to talk about additional behavior modification choices, including medication.
They assist cats in establishing a hierarchy, which is critical to the functioning of their group.
Aggression between catsLitter box logistics
In a multi-cat home, one source of stress is violence amongst cats. With a large number of litter boxes and several food and water dishes, you may significantly lessen your cat’s aggressive behavior. It is critical that the cats should not have to compete over a limited number of bowls and litter boxes. Make sure to distribute feeding stations and litter bins throughout your property rather than concentrating them in one location. When cats are eliminating, they are at their most vulnerable, therefore it is critical to ensure that they are comfortable in the litter box and will not be attacked by other cats, the family dog, or an inquisitive kid.
Additionally, you can contact us to explore additional behavior modification choices, such as medications.
They aid in the establishment of a hierarchy among cats, which is critical to the dynamics of their group.
Cleaning and managing soiled areas
If your cat has urinated or defecated outside the litter box, you must thoroughly clean the area to ensure that all traces of the stain are totally removed. It is not sufficient to use soap and water. Although you may not be able to detect an odor, your cat’s sensitive nose will, and this will urge her to return to the same location. Sometimes the greatest approach is to provide the cat with what she appears to be requesting: a litter box in the location where she is eliminating! If you do not wish to permanently relocate the litter box, we will provide you with instructions on how to gradually relocate the litter box to a more suitable place after your cat has used the litter box in the same area on a continuous basis for many weeks.
Urine Off is the product that we recommend the most frequently to our customers. As an additional option, we recommend Veterinary Strength Outright Stain and Odor Remover. You may also make the dirty areas less appealing to your cat by doing the following:
- Place cat food or water around the spot (after it has been cleaned)
- Provide an alternate method of marking (such as a scratching post or a pad)
- Aluminium foil
- Scat mats
- And other materials Potpourri may be found on the premises. The use of motion sensors with an audible alert is recommended. Catnip is available on the premises. The use of double-sided tape
- Contact paper or a vinyl carpet runner with the nub side up
- Citrus-based sprays (many cats detest the smell of citrus)
- SsssCAT motion sensor deterrents
- And a variety of other options.
Please contact us with other deterrent suggestions!
If that doesn’t work.
An place that has been properly cleaned out by a cat may nevertheless be soiled by a cat on occasion. Why? The cat appears to have a strong desire to mark that location. If you remove the scent marking from the area, your cat may feel driven to mark the place again the next time. When this occurs, you might experiment with a new technique. Instead of using enzyme cleanser, simply clean the area with plain water before spraying it with Feliway to kill the bacteria. Although you will not be able to detect urine, your cat may be happy that the area has not been marked and will not need to mark it again.
After 4 weeks, spray Feliway on the affected region twice a day (every 12 hours) for another 4 weeks, then once a day for the remaining 4 weeks.
The bottom line
- Inappropriate elimination is frequently the result of a medical condition
- Nevertheless, there are certain things you can do to avoid behavioral litter box problems. It is significantly easier to avoid these difficulties than it is to deal with them after they have occurred. Be mindful of the fact that your cat’s connection with the litter box is complicated and emotionally charged. It’s more than simply a cat potty, either.
Setting your cat up for litter box success
Despite the large number of litter box items available on the market and the wide range of human perspectives on litter boxes, from the perspective of a cat, the litter box setup is really simple. Make use of the checklist provided below to ensure that your cat has a successful litter box experience.
A few ideas to keep in mind:
- However, despite the abundance of litter box goods available on the market and the wide range of human perspectives on litter boxes, from a cat’s perspective, the litter box setup is really straightforward. Set your cat up for litter box success by following the instructions provided below.
What are cats’ needs when it comes to eliminating?
- Despite the large number of litter box items available on the market and the wide range of human perspectives on litter boxes, from a cat’s perspective, the litter box setup is really simple. Make use of the checklist below to ensure that your cat has a successful litter box experience.
The litter box set up that best meets your cat’s needs:
- Despite the large number of litter box items available on the market and the wide range of human perspectives on litter boxes, from a cat’s perspective, the litter box set-up is really easy. Make use of the checklist provided to ensure that your cat has a successful litter box experience.
How to RE-TRAIN your Cat to Use the Litter Box!
1. Put kitten in a quiet area where there are no other animals. This might be a bedroom, a guest room, a bathroom, or a laundry room. 2. Place TWO tiny, flat litter pans in the room where your cat will be sleeping. 3. Separate two pans: one with your present litter, and the other with a Cat Attractant litter such as this one from Dr. Elsey’s:chewy.com/dr-elseys-precious-cat-attrac…/…/32365 Maintain your kitty’s presence in the room for a week, providing them with their cat bed and cat toys as well as food and water of course.
- After the 7-day re-training phase, begin allowing your cat out of the training room under observation at the following rates: 1 hour day one, 1 hour day two, 1 hour day three, 1 hour day four, 1 hour day five, 1 hour day six, and 1 hour day seven.
- Day three will take three hours.
- (If there are any mishaps during the prolonged outdoor times, go back a few days in the procedure and start over from the beginning).
- Move the two litter pans that were in the same room as your cat to a quiet area of your home where they will not be disturbed by foot traffic.
- @CatHealthCoach April
Potty Training – How to Train Your Cat to Use the Litter Box
In collaboration with Pamela Reid of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Dr. Stephanie Janeczko of Animal CareControl of New York City and Pamela Reid of the ASPCA Elizabeth Teal and Micky Niego, Companion Animal Services, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Bringing home a new cat or kitten is a wonderful experience—the playing, the purring, the litter box training, and so on.
But wait, there’s more. Okay, so litter box training isn’t really enjoyable, but it’s necessary and typically rather simple. Introducing a cat into your household should be approached with caution, and there is only one word to remember: slowly.
Before Bringing Home A New Cat
You will need to complete a few simple tasks before bringing your new cat home. These tasks are as follows:
- Purchase one or two full-size litter boxes to keep your pets safe. In terms of how many litter boxes you’ll need, the conventional rule of thumb is one litter box for each cat, plus one spare box. As a result, if you have one cat, you need purchase two litter boxes. Two cats, perhaps? Spend the money on three litter boxes, and so forth. Make a layer of litter in the bottom of the container: three to four inches deep for clumping litter, and two to three inches deep for non-clumping litter Cats enjoy digging and burying, and this depth provides them with the opportunity to do so. It’s important to think about the sort of trash you’re utilizing as well. The surface should be smooth and free of prickly particles, and the smell should not be too overpowering to be effective. Some kittens will try to consume clumping litter, which is not recommended. While this may appear to be an unappealing alternative to a snack, it can actually clump together in their stomach and create some major problems. Choose a non-clumping litter until your kitten is around 4-6 months old
- Locate the litter box in a secluded, peaceful, and easily accessible location for your cat. Maintaining a box on each floor of your home is ideal if at all possible. If you’re using clumping litter, make a point of scooping at least once a day, and make it easier on yourself by keeping a few bags for waste disposal on hand. For non-clumping solid waste, scoop solid trash at least once a day, and be sure to thoroughly empty the box at least once a week.
How to Litter Train a Kitten
Following the acquisition of your new cat, you will need to train them to use the litter box.
- Following the adoption of your new cat, you will need to train them to use the litter box.
Due to the inherent attraction that cats have to litter-like sites to release themselves, they often pick up on litter box training quite fast. Many cats, on the other hand, have relapses and have accidents at some time in their lives. If this occurs, maintain your composure and remember that the situation is normal and that it can be resolved. In the meantime, shower your new kitten with affection and take advantage of this opportunity to spend quality time with them.
Issues With Litter Box Training
It’s understandable that some owners would question, “Why isn’t my cat using the litter box?” It is estimated that at least 10% of domestic cats may dirty outside of the litter box at some point in their lives. It is the most typical feline behavior problem to see your cat urinating and defecating outside of the litter box. Many cats are surrendered to shelters because of house-soiling issues. The majority of the time, this is superfluous. The good news is that cats suffering from this condition have a great prognosis.
- Before attempting to clean up after your cat, take him or her to your veterinarian for an examination.
- The veterinarian will be able to rule out any medical issues that may be causing the problem.
- Some cats cease using the litter box completely, while others just use it for urine and feces.
- Some litter box issues arise as a result of a cat establishing a predilection for a certain substrate or surface for elimination over time.
- Perhaps you’ve placed a plush throw rug to your bathroom, which the cat finds much more comfortable.
- Set up a number of boxes and give a variety of options such as clay, clumping, coarse, fine, and so on.
- They also preferred fine-grained and soft litter as a litter type.
The early warning signs of litter aversion in cats include failing to “cover” their urine and feces, failing to scratch the litter prior to elimination, scratching outside of the box rather than inside, perching with their feet on the edge of the box, racing out of the box, and shaking their feet as if disgusted by the feel of the litter.
- Cats, like humans, have strong feelings regarding boxes, both positive and negative.
- They normally don’t like for a covered box; after all, who would want to be trapped in a little room filled with the stench of pee and excrement all of the time?
- You should scoop your cat’s litter box at least once per day if you have a finicky cat.
- Warm water is perfectly OK.
- Because a cat’s sense of smell is quite acute, you should avoid placing the litter box in close proximity to their food, drink, favorite napping locations, or room deodorizers, no matter how clean you keep it.
- The location of a cat’s litter box might have a significant influence on his or her motivation to utilize it.
- Generally, cats want to be able to see if someone is approaching them, and they prefer to have more than one path out of the box if they are trying to escape, thus closets and unoccupied shower stalls are not ideal options for hiding places.
If you believe your cat is soiling because they prefer a different location, consider putting a litter box in that location.
Cats might sometimes develop a phobia of the place where the litter box is positioned.
As an example, a cat suffering from diarrhea may receive feces on its feet or tail and identify the unpleasantness of the environment with the location.
It has also been reported that an individual’s cat quit using his or her litter box, which was conveniently located next to the toilet, because a teenage male in the family was “splashing” in the box.
When there is tension between cats in the house, it is possible that an elimination problem may arise.
In order to enhance the possibility that there is a clean litter box someplace, you should always have more litter boxes than cats available.
Similarly, if one cat is harassing and frightening another, the victim may be too terrified to approach the litter box.
Even when one cat, usually the younger one, is attempting to persuade the other cat to play, lying in wait can occur.
If you have numerous cats and you’re not sure which one is urinating, talk to your veterinarian about delivering fluorescein, a non-toxic dye, to one of the cats to determine which cat is urinating.
Another option is to confine cats one at a time to establish which one is the source of the problem.
It is not recommended to clean using an ammonia-based cleaner. If the cat has urinated in a particular location, washing it with ammonia may cause the cat to return to that spot to urinate again.
Other Things To Consider With Litter Box Training
The question that some owners may have is “Why isn’t my cat using the litter box?” Household cats are estimated to have urinated outside of the litter box at least once during their lives. It is the most typical feline behavior problem to see your cat urinating and defecating outside the litter box. Due to issues with house soiling, many cats are euthanized. In most cases, this is superfluous to say. The good news is that cats suffering from this condition have a great prognosis.. Simple solutions can resolve between 70% and 75% of litter box issues.
- Before treating an issue, it is necessary to investigate and rule out any potential medical causes of it.
- Request a referral to a cat behavior specialist if it is determined that the problem is a behavioural issue.
- Some cats will still use the litter box from time to time, but they will also go outside the box at other times, as well.
- Perhaps the cat prefers to go “au naturel” and prefers to eat the soil from your potted plant as a substitute.
- Having a substrate preference is best dealt with by making the desired substrate inaccessible (cover the soil in your plant pots with plastic, remove the throw rug, keep an inch or two of water in your tub, etc.) and providing the cat with a variety of litter kinds to choose from.
- fine, and so on.
- – The fine-grained and soft litter were also favorites of theirs.
Kittens who are at risk of developing a litter aversion often exhibit early warning signs, such as failing to “cover” their urine and feces, failing to scratch at the litter prior to elimination, scratching outside of the box rather than inside, perching with their feet on the edge of the box, racing out of the box, or shaking their feet as if disgusted by the feel of the litter.
- As with humans, cats have strong feelings towards boxes, both positive and negative ones in particular.
- They often dislike being enclosed in a box; after all, who would want to be trapped in a small room filled with the stench of pee and excrement all day?
- You should scoop your cat’s waste at least once a day if you have a finicky feline companion.
- Using warm water is very satisfactory.
- Because a cat’s sense of smell is so acute, it is best not to place the litter box in close proximity to their food, drink, favorite napping locations, or room deodorizers, no matter how clean you keep the litter box.
- The location of a cat’s litter box might have a significant influence on his or her motivation to utilize the box.
- In the case of an elderly cat, they may grow hesitant to trek up and down a flight of stairs to use a litter box, therefore have a box with low sides on each floor of your home.
Even if you can’t, if they are using it, leave it in the same location for a few weeks and then gradually transfer it to a more appropriate location nearby by moving it by inches at a time.
The cat may come to identify the discomfort of feces with the surroundings around the litter box if it has been constipated for a long period of time or has been ill.
If you scold your cat while it’s near the litter box, the cat may learn to avoid that location.
If you have a shy cat, remember that he or she will not want to excrete in a litter box that is in a busy room or corridor, next to the washer and dryer, or in a loud basement workshop.
Cats who are easily irritated may refuse to use a litter box that has already been occupied by another feline.
If you have two cats at home, you should have three boxes, which is one more than the number of cats at home plus one (i.e.
The victim may be too terrified to approach the litter box if a cat is pestering and scaring him or her.
Even when one cat, usually the younger one, is attempting to persuade the other cat to play, lying in wait can occur.
Consult with your veterinarian if you have numerous cats and aren’t sure which one is urinating on the carpet.
The dye does not stain carpets, but when exposed to UV light for 24 hours, the urine fluoresces blue.
Make careful to thoroughly clean soiled areas with an enzymatic cleanser intended to neutralize the stench, regardless of the reason your cat is not using the litter box.
A cleaner containing ammonia should not be used. Cleaning with ammonia may cause the cat to return to the same location to pee again since urine includes ammonia.
How to retrain a cat to use the litter box
“Why isn’t my cat using the litter box?” some owners may question. At least 10% of domestic cats will dirty outside of the litter box at some point in their lives. It is the most prevalent feline behavior problem to have your cat urinate and defecate outside of the litter box. Many cats are surrendered due of concerns with home soiling. Most of the time, this is superfluous. Fortunately, the prognosis for cats suffering from this condition is very good. Simple solutions can solve between 70% and 75% of litter box issues.
- It is necessary to first investigate and rule out the possibility of a medical reason for the issue at hand.
- Request a referral to a cat behavior specialist if it is determined that the problem is behavioral in nature.
- Some cats may still use the litter box from time to time, but they will also go outside the box.
- Perhaps the cat prefers to go “au naturel” and prefers to eat the dirt off your potted plant.
- Having a substrate preference is best dealt with by making the desired substrate inaccessible (cover the soil in your plant pots with plastic, remove the throw rug, keep an inch or two of water in your tub, etc.) and providing the cat with a variety of litter kinds to select from.
- Clumping litters were found to be the most popular choice in a standard choice test, so be sure to include at least one clumping litter option in your selection.
- A cat with a substrate aversion is one that dislikes the litter you’ve supplied in particular.
Providing your cat with a choice of different litters before an issue arises can allow your cat to communicate their preferences to you.
The vast majority of cats prefer a spacious box that is simple to access and has a low to moderate volume of litter in order to be comfortable.
Cats are really fond of a freshly cleaned litter box.
Avoid cleaning the box with detergents since the scent may turn the cat away.
Once a week, remove all of the litter and replace it completely.
In fact, placing food bowls, toys, and beds in the soiled locations is an excellent strategy to deter a cat from soiling such areas.
Cats like a box that is positioned in a peaceful area, but not in a “corner.” Cats want to be able to see if someone is approaching, and they prefer to have more than one path out of the box if they need to escape, thus closets and unused shower stalls are often not ideal options for hiding places.
- If you feel that your cat is soiling because they prefer a different location, consider putting a litter box in that location.
- Cats might sometimes develop a phobia of the location in which the litter box is positioned.
- In a similar vein, a cat suffering from diarrhea may receive excrement on its feet or tail and link that discomfort with the location.
- I’ve even heard of a cat that stopped using its litter box, which was strategically positioned next to the toilet, because a teenage male in the household was “splashing” in the litter box!
- Conflict between cats in the home can sometimes lead to the development of an elimination problem.
- You should always have more litter boxes than cats in order to improve the possibility that there will be a clean box available at all times.
- The victim may be too terrified to go near the litter box if one cat is bullying and frightening the other.
- Even when one cat, usually the younger one, is attempting to lure the other cat to play, lying in wait can occur.
- If you have numerous cats and you’re not sure which one is urinating, talk to your veterinarian about delivering fluorescein, a non-toxic dye, to one of the cats to determine which cat is responsible.
- Cats can also be confined one at a time to discover which one is the source of the odor.
It is not recommended to use an ammonia-based cleaner. Because urine includes ammonia, washing with ammonia may cause the cat to return to the same location to pee again.
- The best cat litter includes alternatives that are both hygienic and odor-controlled.
What could cause a cat to stop using their litter box suddenly?
Cats can occasionally stop using their litter box, leading you to believe that they’ve lost their ability to do so for whatever reason. Cats, on the other hand, can stop using their litter boxes for a variety of reasons, including old age, medical concerns, and unexpected changes in habit.
Some senior cats suffer from senility, so it’s possible that they’ve lost track of where they’re supposed to be using the litter box. Some people may be completely oblivious that they aren’t exactly pointing in the proper way. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)
First and foremost, if cats have a urinary tract infection, they may transfer urine around the home or even near their litter pan. In part, this is due to the cat’s need to pass urine regularly and urgently, but it might also be connected to the cat’s desire to retreat for more solitude while feeling a little under the weather as well. Cats suffering from arthritis may be unable to get into their litter box or may find it uncomfortable, prompting them to blame the litter tray and avoid using it in the future.
Cats can also spill pee or feces outside of their litter box as a result of being stressed. This might be due to the presence of other cats or a new infant in the house, as well as a move or anything else that causes your cat’s routine to be disrupted. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)
Why do some cats refuse to use a litter box?
If you adopt an adult cat, you might think that they are familiar with using a litter box. This is not necessarily the case. On the other hand, this is not always the case. A litter box may not have been necessary for cats that had previously been maintained in a house with outdoor access since they did not have the need or need to use one. Stray or wild cats, on the other hand, are accustomed to finding their own toileting areas wherever they want. As a result, for many cats, the litter box is a distant, if not non-existent, memory.
After all, cats may be really picky when it comes to these things!
How do you train an adult cat to use a litter box?
The basic concept of teaching an adult cat to use a litter box is similar to the concept of teaching a kitten to use a litter box. It does, however, need patience due to the large number of potential elements to take into consideration. The good news is that it is a cat’s natural behavior to dig about before going to the potty and to bury their excrement afterward, so there is no need to be concerned. As a result, if you establish an environment in which they may engage in this activity, they will naturally seek it out.
The main thing to remember is that you shouldn’t penalize or criticize them for any poor attempts because this might induce tension.
The best course of action is to completely disregard any minor mishaps. In order to ensure that you haven’t overlooked anything, it’s a good idea to go through the following procedures before you begin training:
1. Check the cat litter
Your cat may have a preference for a certain sort of cat litter. Experiment with numerous alternatives to see whether they like clumping, non-clumping, clay, gravel, or wood.
2. Consider litter box style
Cats may have a preference for a certain type of litter box, just as they may do with litter. Others, on the other hand, may prefer a covered litter tray with a door, while others may feel confined by a roof!
3. Deepen the layer of litter
When dealing with a finicky cat, it’s always worth considering whether a thicker coating of litter might be preferable. This might be a contributing factor to your cat’s aversion to using the litter box if you are being very frugal with the cat litter. (Image courtesy of Getty Images.) )
5. Keep the litter box clean
Cats are known to be extremely clean animals, as well as being really sensitive creatures. Many cats will not use a litter pan unless it is completely clean and free of debris.
6. Avoid smelly chemicals
Despite the fact that they desire a clean tray, some cats are deterred from using their litter boxes by the strong odor of disinfectants.
7. Consider litter box location
When it comes to going to the bathroom, we all prefer to be alone, and cats are no exception. It’s a good idea to put litter boxes in sections of the house where there will be less foot traffic to keep them clean. Don’t be scared to experiment with a few different locations to determine which your cat prefers.
8. Increase number of litter boxes
Cats are picky creatures that don’t want to be forced to share. As a result, always remember to have one litter box more than the number of cats you have in your household. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)
What to try next
If your cat was previously housebroken but has lately stopped using a litter box, simply going through the list above may not be enough to restore her to health. Your cat may need to be examined by a veterinarian to confirm that he or she does not have cystitis or a urinary tract infection, among other things. Additionally, your veterinarian can advise you on whether stress is likely to be the reason of your cat’s rapid change in behavior. A relaxing diffuser or spray, as well as anti-anxiety drugs, may be recommended if the doctor believes stress may be a contributing factor.
So, is it possible to retrain a cat to use a litter box?
It is very feasible to retrain your cat to use a litter box if you have the necessary patience and empathy. Cats are exceptionally clean creatures who want to be able to bury their waste. Once you’ve eliminated potential problems such as infections and stress, you should be able to determine the best litter box mix for your furry member of the family. Dr Hannah Godfrey is a small animal veterinarian who specializes in dental and soft tissue surgery for tiny animals. She resides in Wales with her spouse, son, and two cats, all of whom she adores.
Retraining the Cat to Use a Litter Box for Defecating Only
Photographs courtesy of IBananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images Suddenly discovering cat feces on the floor might be Tommy’s way of informing you that he isn’t in a very good mood.
It’s possible that your picky cat has a distaste for something about his litter box. Determine what this is and alter it for the better so that he only utilizes the box to do his company activities.
Make an appointment with your cat’s veterinarian to rule out any medical concerns that may be causing him to poop outside of his litter box. Constipation or inflammatory bowel illness may cause him to move his business to a more comfortable or convenient spot due to the discomfort he is experiencing. Bring a sample of your feces with you to your veterinarian’s appointment so that it may be inspected.
Increase the frequency with which you clean the litter box; otherwise, your cat may choose to defecate somewhere else because he refuses to use a dirty, stinky restroom. Scoop up filthy litter at least twice a day, and wash the litter box once a week to keep it looking its best. Remove the litter and saturate the box with a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water, then rinse thoroughly. Allow it to remain for 10 minutes before rinsing it well with water and mild detergent. After it has been dried, add the litter.
Change the litter box because your pet partner may not be fond of the current one. Make sure your cat’s litter box is at least one and a half times the length of the animal. If you’re currently utilizing an open box, you should consider switching to a covered box to provide your cat with more privacy. If you have an older cat, use a litter box with lower sides so that it is easier for him to get into the litter box.
Place the litter box in a separate part of the home because if it’s in the same room as loud music, other pets, or a lot of foot activity, your cat may refuse to use it since it’s uncomfortable. Seek for a peaceful spot that is convenient for your cat to reach, has an easy-to-clean floor, and is away from his food and water bowls.
Make sure you know what sort of litter your cat prefers since the aroma or texture of the litter you’re using may have a detrimental effect on your feline companion. Place three litter boxes next to each other and fill each one with a different type of litter to see which sort of litter your cat likes. The litter box in which your cat relieves himself should be the first one you use.
Provide your feline companion with a second litter box since some cats are finicky and don’t want to defecate and pee in the same box on the same day. Set up the second litter box in the same room as the first litter box, but at a reasonable distance from the first litter box. Alternatively, the second box might be placed in a different room. If your house has numerous stories, install a litter box on each level so that everyone can easily reach it.
Provide your feline companion with a second litter box since some cats are finicky and don’t want to defecate and pee in the same box at the same time. Set up the second litter box in the same room as the first litter box, but at a reasonable distance from it. Place the second box in another room as an alternative. If your house has numerous levels, install a litter box on each level so that it is simple to find..
What to Do When Your Cat Refuses to Use the Litter Box (Vet-Approved)
If your cat refuses to use the litter box, the first thing you should do is take the cat to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. Before concluding that this is a behavioral issue, be sure that there are no underlying medical issues. Photo:eviltomthai “Help! “My cat is refusing to use the litter box and is instead ‘going’ on my carpet!” Yet, despite the simplicity of the terms, the situation is really complicated. If your cat is refusing to use the litter box, this is something that should not be taken for granted.
It’s an irritating nuisance for you, to say the least.
So, when this occurs, you must move immediately — but in the proper manner.
It is critical to understand that disciplining your cat will simply make the situation worse. This essay is intended to assist you in understanding the whys and wherefores of the litter box blues, covering the following points:
- The best thing to do if your cat refuses to use the litter box
- There are medical reasons for avoiding the tray
- Reasons for not using the litter box based on one’s behavior Actions to take in the event of an emergency
- What not to do
- What not to do How to make a litter box that is both inviting and appealing
When Your Cat Refuses to Use the Litter Box, It’s a Cry for Help
Getting your cat to use the litter box when he or she is refusing; tray avoidance for to medical grounds reasons for not using the litter box based on one’s personality Take the necessary first-aid measures. The opposite of what you should do. Make a litter box that is inviting and visually pleasing. If the response is “no” after a trip to the veterinarian, then consider the following: Your veterinarian is the “go-to” person when it comes to investigating health concerns, and knowing cat behavior can provide light on why healthy cats behave the way they do in the situations in which they do it.
The key is to avoid making the assumption that the cat is simply being tough and instead investigate the possibility that they are suffering from a medical condition.
First, Identify the Cat
For health-related concerns, your veterinarian is the “go-to” expert, and studying cat behavior can help you understand why healthy cats behave the way they do in the situations in which they do it. In order to determine why your cat is refusing to use the litter box, consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Consider the possibility that the cat is experiencing a health condition rather than jumping to the conclusion that they are simply being tough to deal with.
- Put Cat 1 in a secure area with plenty of litter. Using the box when Cat 1 is urinating means Cat 2 is a problem urinator, and you should investigate more. In the enclosed environment, if Cat 1 urinates outside the box, you may be certain that Cat 1 is a problem soiler.
If the home soiling ceases after the cats have been separated and restricted to their respective areas, you have found an inter-cat issue and diagnosed a behavioral problem in one of the cats. For example, they can prefer separate quarters, additional litter boxes or greater space. It is possible that this situation will persist until you find a new home for one or more of your cats. Additionally, consider utilizing a nanny-kitty camera. Many individuals have discovered cat urine in the same location, but they are unsure of the identity of the pee-pee head.
4 Health Problems That Can Cause Litter Box Avoidance
Have you ever been “caught short” in a situation? It’s not nice to have an unexpected, overpowering desire to go to the bathroom. It occurs to cats as well, and it happens more frequently than you may imagine. In addition to a variety of health issues, a cat may find themselves needing to go squat immediately away, before reaching the litter pan. The most important step in getting these cats back on track is to alleviate their suffering.
1. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
Bladder difficulties are referred to as FLUTD, which is an umbrella term for a variety of bladder diseases. Bladder pain caused by FLUTD might drive the cat to believe that they need to go to the bathroom right away. FLUTD can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Bladder lining irritation caused by crystals in the urine. When bladder stones rattle against the bladder wall like a sneaker in the dryer, it is called a bladder stone attack. irritation of the bladder lining that is caused by stress
- Infections of the urinary tract
2. Upset Stomach
Litter box training might be overridden by a severe stomach spasm. Feces that are mushy, coated in jelly, or containing blood are indicative of a cat suffering from a gastrointestinal upset.
Many factors contribute to stomach distress in cats, including a rapid change in the cat’s nutrition. Although deworming the cat is an excellent place to start, the doctor will also evaluate the following factors:
- It is possible to get infections, especially if the cat is fed a raw diet. Intolerance or allergy to certain foods
- Inflammatory bowel illness
- Lymphoma that affects the digestive system
3. Increased Thirst
When a cat consumes more liquid than is typical, its bladder fills up more quickly as a result. If they awaken from a deep sleep with a stretched bladder, the need to function may take precedence over training once more.
4. Pain and Discomfort
Some cats, particularly older cats, are simply unable to go in and out of the litter box due to their discomfort. A cat suffering from arthritis may find it difficult to climb over the sides of a deep dish, and may finally stop up trying entirely. This can possibly be connected to an issue in which the cat associates discomfort with the litter box and consequently avoids using it altogether. As an illustration, consider the case of a cat who has a hurting bladder and has learnt to blame the litter pan for the discomfort rather than the act of urinating.
How Your Veterinarian Can Help
- A complete medical history of your cat’s eating habits, thirst, weight gain or loss, and activity levels will be taken by the veterinarian in order to determine the root of the problem. The veterinarian will then perform a physical examination on the cat in order to get further information. Additional tests and analyses, including as blood tests and urine analyses, and maybe an ultrasound of the bladder, may be required.
The most important step in putting the cat back on track is to address any underlying health issues. Also, if the cat has developed a negative association between the tray and undesirable things, you may need to work on restoring his or her faith in the litter box… which brings us neatly to the topic of behavioral issues.
3 Behavioral Problems That Can Cause Litter Box Avoidance
Treating the cat’s underlying health condition is essential in putting him back on track. You may also need to reestablish the cat’s confidence in the litter box if pain has developed a link between the tray and negative things. This brings us conveniently to the subject of behavioral issues.
1. Unneutered Male Cat
Sometimes the explanation is straightforward. When a male cat is not in heat, he will most likely bespraying—that is, marking their territory in your home—rather than emptying his bladder completely. A neuter operation can help to lessen those jangling hormone levels, which is a part of the solution. Territory marking, on the other hand, can occur in animals that have not been sexed. This is frequently because a stray cat has intruded on their territory, and the house cat feels the need to convey a stronger message to the stray cat.
Middening, also known as non-spray marking, is another example of natural cat behavior. This is when the cat leaves a “message” in the shape of poop to communicate with the owner. It is an effective method of informing intruder cats that this pitch is being considered… So don’t waste your time stopping here. Another aspect of preventing feline guests, like with spraying, is to make the legitimate tenant feel less frightened. Kittens may be reluctant to use the litter box for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it is too far away.
3. Litter Box Aversion
The second set of behavioral reasons falls under the category of “litter box aversion” — in other words, the cat has a specific behavioral reason for which they do not want to use the litter box — Managing this particular set of concerns might be tough since the incident that prompted the cat to leave its box has already occurred and is now in the past. As a result, determining the root reason might be challenging.
To alleviate this problem, an alternative box, substrate, or place should be provided so that the cat does not experience the same mental obstacles when it comes to going to the potty. Here are a few instances of how litter box aversion develops in different situations:
- The second set of behavioral reasons falls under the category of “litter box aversion” — in other words, the cat has a specific behavioral reason for why they do not want to use the litter box. Managing this particular set of concerns can be tough since the incident that prompted the cat to leave its box has already occurred and is now in the rearview mirror. Therefore, determining the root reason might be challenging. To alleviate this problem, an alternate box, substrate, or place should be provided so that the cat does not experience the same mental obstacles when it comes to going to the bathroom. Examples of how litter box aversion might manifest themselves include:
Don’t Discount Separation Anxiety
Cats often acquire their initial litter box aversion when their owners are away on vacation or at work. It’s possible that you’re suffering from separation anxiety. Cats despise it when you abandon them. You’ll have to play detective in order to figure out why your cat isn’t content. Consider the following scenario: if you’re lucky, you’ve seen that the soiling began shortly after you switched to a new cat litter — in which case, return to the previous kitty litter. The majority of the time, what a cat want is for things to return to their previous state.
In addition, if there is a clear concern, such as the cat’s litter box being next to the washer, consider providing the cat with a second litter box in a separate (quieter and more secure) place.
Then, once they’ve finished with the second tray, you may remove the first.
How to Create the Perfect Litter Box
If you are unable to identify and fix the underlying reason of the bad litter box behavior, you should strive to make a litter tray that is as attractive as possible. With these tips, it isn’t nearly as difficult as it appears.
Instead of attempting to understand and solve the root reason of bad litter box behavior, strive to construct a litter tray that is exactly enticing. Because of these tips, it isn’t nearly as difficult as it appears.
Location Is Everything
Remember what I mentioned about the need of privacy? If you have many cats in your home, don’t arrange the trays in a tidy row. Instead, scatter them about the house in different spots. Not only does this give seclusion, but it also stops one cat from taking over the entire litter box. Consider finding a location that is calm and where the cat will not be disturbed. Place the boxes in the areas where your cat (not you) prefers them. One suggestion is to try placing a tray in the corner of a room to see if it helps.
Having greater confidence in that specific tray allows them to feel more comfortable.
You want the box to be out of sight and out of mind, but they may not share that sentiment.
No Food or Water Nearby
For humans, having all of the cat’s necessities together in one location may be handy; however, to a cat, it’s like being expected to eat your Sunday meal while using the restroom. Don’t even think about going there.
Cats like turning and scratching about in their litter pan. Choose a tray that is at least 1.5 times as long as the cat if you want to provide the ultimate restroom experience. These can be difficult to come by, so you can make do with an oil drip tray (it makes a great litter box). Concrete mixing trays and under-the-bed storage containers are two further options for huge boxes to think about. Keep those arthritic senior cats in mind while we’re talking about size.
It may be difficult for them to get onto a tray with a high lip. Either seek for a suitable container with lower sides or build a series of shallow stairs to make it simpler for your cat to get in and out of the container as needed.
When it comes to the sort of litter that feels nice under their paws, many cats are very particular about what they want. Try to stick with a litter that your cat is familiar with and enjoys.
- Keep in mind that while highly perfumed litters may be appealing to humans, they are offensive to a cat’s very acute sense of smell. Also, make sure you have sufficient of your cat’s favorite litter on hand. It is preferable to have a depth of at least 2 inches. If your dog does not care for litter, try placing some soil in the box as an alternative. For the most part, cats are junkies for dirt, which they see as the feline equivalent of super-soft quilted toilet paper. There’s always the option of starting with dirt and gradually transitioning to standard kitty litter as the cat learns excellent behaviors
- Finally, but certainly not least, please keep the litter box clean by scooping it daily (or twice daily) if possible.
So there you have it, a simple guide on what you should do if your cat refuses to use the litter box. If you have any questions, please let us know. Anything that interferes with your cat’s quiet time might cause him to develop unhealthy behaviors. And if you take away only one item from this article, keep in mind that it’s critical to take your cat to the veterinarian to rule out any medical issues before classifying him as misbehaving.
- We now have a brief guide to what you should do if your cat refuses to use the litter box. If you have any questions, please let us know. Anything that interferes with your cat’s private time has the potential to cause negative behavior. In addition, if you take away only one item from this article, keep in mind that it is critical to have your cat examined by a veterinarian to rule out medical issues before classifying him as misbehaving.
Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, a veterinarian, wrote this pet health article, which also included input from Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD, a veterinarian. This page was initially published in 2012, however it is still being updated on a regular basis. It was last checked for correctness on August 26, 2020, and it was updated on August 26, 2020. If you have any questions or concerns, you should consult with your veterinarian, who is the most qualified to guarantee the health and well-being of your animal companion.
Additional information may be found here.