HomeBehavior & trainingHow Come My Cat Won’t Use The Litter Box?

How Come My Cat Won’t Use The Litter Box?

by Adopt a Pet, | January 8, 2024


Reasons your cat won’t use the litter box include a possible medical condition, not wanting to share the box with another cat, stress, or because the box is dirty. If your cat has always been good about using the box and then suddenly stops, a trip to the veterinarian is in order. After ruling out medical issues, try adding additional boxes. Also, always make sure the boxes are kept clean. 

What to Do When Your Cat Stops Using the Litter Box

Cats don’t need to be walked and the litter box makes them pretty independent as far as using the bathroom, which is a real plus for pet owners who are away much of the day. Unfortunately, many cats will experience litter box issues at some point in their life. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior is key in order to stop it.

Medical Issues 

Some medical conditions that contribute to litter box avoidance include urinary tract infections, cystitis, and kidney stones. Make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible so if there is a medical concern, it can be identified and treated.

Dirty/Crowded Litter Box 

You can’t really blame a cat for not wanting to share a litter box with other felines. That’s why it’s a good idea to provide one box per cat plus one additional box. It’s best to have them in separate parts of the house. You should also scoop all litter boxes daily.


Possible stressors for your cat include not getting enough food, being bothered by other household pets, and lots of loud noise/fighting. As much as possible, reduce the things that may be causing stress to your cat. You can also try using stress-reducing collars and diffusers.

Additional Tips 

Cats are finicky, and sometimes it’s the smallest thing that puts them off of their litter box. Here are a few others things to try and some to avoid:

  • In a new second litter box, try a different litter, as some cats may not like a certain scent or texture.

  • If the box has a lid, remove it.

  • Don’t stand by the box with a treat as cats don’t like to be bothered when going to the bathroom.

  • Don’t yell at your cat and toss him in the litter box as this will create a negative association.

  • Clean up messes thoroughly using a product with enzymes to neutralize pet odors. 

Litter box issues often have a resolution, but it may take some trial and error to figure out what works for your pet. If none of your tricks fix the issue, seek an animal behaviorist for personalized advice or check out this article about fixing litter box problems. 

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