Skip Navigation

Adopt a Cat Month: How to Troubleshoot and Correct Litter Box Issues

mount carmel animal hospital litter box

Here are some steps to identify the causes and fix litter box problems that happen among cats.

Litter box issues are the most common behavior problems that we see in cats. The question is, why is your cat not using the litter box? Cats will urinate or defecate in inappropriate places for a multitude of reasons. Here are some steps to identify the causes and fix litter box problems that happen among cats.

Have Your Cat Evaluated

The first thing you should do is rule out any medical reasons for your cat not using the litter box. Cats with urinary tract infections or bladder stones will often pee where you don’t want them to. Call us to make an appointment to have one of our vets evaluate your kitty.

Early intervention with urinary issues is key to saving your carpet, keeping your pet healthy, and avoiding further medical complications such as a urinary blockage.

Eliminate the Odor If Your Cat is Not Using the Litter Box

Once medical causes are ruled out, we can look into the behavioral reasons. Cats are attracted to locations where they smell feces or urine. If you have had issues with your current cat or a previous cat going outside the litter box, your curious cat may not be using the litter box if the odor is only partially eliminated. By completely eliminating the stain, you reduce the chances of your cat being tempted to pee or poop there again.

In addition, ensure not to use common household chemicals, particularly those with ammonia. Instead, use enzymatic cleaners. Enzymatic cleaners break down the proteins in the urine that draw your cat back to that same spot. You will want to soak the spot with lukewarm water and blot it first if the stain is already dry.

Create the Perfect Kitty Toilet

If your adventurous cat is not using the litter box, the problem might be the litter box itself or its surroundings. Or your cat might not like the litter box’s location.

The Number of Litter Boxes

The first thing is to make sure you have enough litter boxes available. You should include one litter box for each kitty in the household plus an extra. This gives your feline friend(s) the options they desire. It also helps ensure that the litter boxes stay clean. Cats like being clean and will avoid using a litter box with too much urine or stool present.

The Litter Box’s Location

Determine the litter box is easy to find and readily accessible, especially for elderly cats. Also, provide a box on each level if your house has several levels. Avoid placing boxes close to noisy appliances or in high-traffic areas that might frighten your cat. Avoid moving the box since many cats dislike change. If moving the box is necessary, do so gradually in small daily increments until you’ve reached the desired location.

Avoid Scented Litter Boxes

Moreover, avoid spraying the litter box with an air freshener or cleaning it with bleach or heavily scented products. This can be a deterrent to your cat. Instead, scoop your cat’s box daily and wash it with mild dish detergent every week.

The Litter

Kitties can be very picky about the litter they use. Again, cats like to be clean and don’t enjoy heavily scented products on them. Consider soft, clumping, unscented litter. You can provide more than one box, including a different brand of litter, to allow your cat to select which type he or she likes. Once your find a litter your cat prefers, stick with it!

Consider the Box

Lastly, different cats like different boxes. Several cats like large uncovered boxes. In contrast, other cats prefer smaller boxes or covered boxes. Provide your cat with different boxes to decide which they like best.

We understand that urinary issues with your feline friend can be frustrating. We are here to help! If none of the abovementioned steps resolve your problem, our veterinarians can discuss further options such as anxiety medications.

If you are experiencing litter box difficulties with your kitty, please reach out and we will be happy to work with you so you and your cat can enjoy a long and happy life together!

Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!

Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022 at 3:58 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.