You’re not alone! If cats can’t or won’t use their litter box, it’s time to seek assistance. The most common reasons for a cat to stop using the litter box are medical conditions (such as urinary tract infection) and behavioral issues (such as aggression towards the owner). It is also important to remember that cats communicate in many ways, not just through meows, cries and purring.
However, some medical problems can be completely resolved simply by making a few small changes. By following the tips below you could solve your cat’s litter box problem without spending a fortune at the veterinarian.
How to Get Your Cat to Use the Litter Box
Most cats are naturally clean animals, but having a litter box that is too small, located in an inaccessible area and filled with urine-soaked sand can cause them to start avoiding the litter box or even urinating on your furniture, carpet or floor.
It is also a good idea to make sure your pet has an appropriate diet. For example, your cat should have access to fresh water every day. Don’t forget that location also matters! If you have a cat that likes to go on the furniture, consider putting the litter box in another room or making it easier for your pet by placing it off of the floor.
When choosing the type of litter for your cat, remember that cats are clean animals and will not like to use a dirty litter box. Also, if your cat has a medical condition it is important to decide whether the type of sand you’re using (clumping or non-clumping) is recommended by your veterinarian.
There are many types of litters on the market, but unscented clumping sand tends to be the most popular choice.
The Wrong Litter Type
Your cat is not picky – it’s just that he doesn’t like your choice of litter. Cats are extremely clean and they tend to be more attracted by sand that clumps, rather than non-clumping sand (which looks like dirt). For example, the great majority of cats seem to be more enthusiastic about Fresh Step Extreme Scented crystals than about anything else.
A closely related problem is what some call “picky” cats: a cat that uses one litter brand, but won’t use another. There are a few reasons for this. First, some cats may be sensitive to a particular litter’s chemicals. For example, some cats (particularly those with epilepsy) seem to be “uncomfortable” when exposed to certain additives in clay litters.
On the other hand, some cats may dislike the texture of certain litters: they find it too coarse, or too fine. For example, most cats seem to dislike the texture of scented (or “crystal”) litters. Thus, if you’re using an odor control litter and your cat stops using it, this is a good reason to choose a different kind of litter.
Finally, some cats may simply be confused by an unfamiliar litter’s unusual texture and odor.
Keep in mind that the worst advice you can follow is to simply use your cat’s favorite brand, because then you’ll actually be encouraging your pet to use the litter box less frequently.
How to Stop Your Cat from Peeing Outside the Litter Box
Of course, if your cat uses a different litter from yours, or if he simply doesn’t like it, there are a few ways you can help solve his litter box problem.
New Cat Litter
If your cat is reacting to the smell of the litter, you can try changing the type of litter. There are two main types of litters: clumping and non-clumping.
Non-Clumping Litter: This type of litter is made from granules that do not stick together in a clump. They are usually softer than the sandier, more traditional litters and may absorb less water.
This type of litter is made from granules that do not stick together in a clump. They are usually softer than the sandier, more traditional litters and may absorb less water. Clumping Litter: This type of litter has granules that clump when they get wet (so your cat’s urine doesn’t seep into the box). It is also made from natural ingredients like zeolites, bentonite and/or inert resins.
To correct a problem using either the sand or clay-based litters, you may wish to change to another type. However, if your cat is reacting to the smell of the litter, you should replace it. You can usually find different types of non-clumping litter in plainer packaging at pet supply stores or on the web. Some cats are sensitive to scents in human products.
You can also try switching from sand to clay-based litter (check with your veterinarian first).