5 Reasons Why Your Cat Isn’t Using the Litter Box
Litter box issues is among the top problems that cat owners face daily. It’s easy to think your cat is simply eliminating outside the box out of spite but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Reasons for avoiding the litter box can range from medical problems including a urinary tract infection and kidney stones to behavioral issues such as stress and anxiety. Sometimes the root of the problem lies inside the box itself, when cleanliness is not up to standard your cat will be more likely to relive themselves outside the box. Below are 5 main reasons we’ve put together on why your cat might not be using the litter box:
1. IT COULD BE A MEDICAL ISSUE
If your cat suddenly starts going outside the litter box, your first call should always be to your veterinarian. If your cat is experiencing discomfort when urinating or defecating, they may associate the litter box with the pain and avoid it altogether. It may also be that your cat can’t make it to the box in time due to discomfort.
Common reasons for eliminating outside the litter box include urinary tract infections, cystitis (an inflamed bladder), feline lower urinary tract diseases, kidney stones or a blockage. Diarrhea and constipation may also lead to accidents outside the litter box. Any variation in your cat’s behavior, including a change in litter box habits, should be reported to your veterinarian immediately because some issues can be life-threatening.
2. THE LITTER BOX IS IN AN UNDESIRABLE LOCATION
Location, location, location! Just like the well-known real estate slogan the location of your litter box is the most important part of trying to avoid your cat having a mess outside the box. Where you place their litter box is important in ensuring that your cat will be comfortable using it regularly. Here are few tips on when selecting a litter box location:
- Avoid high-traffic areas. Cats like privacy when they use their litter box.
- Avoid laundry rooms with noisy washers and dryers
- Think of places that your cat spends most of their time. This could be the perfect location for the litter box!
- Never place the litter box in a garage — an opening garage door and the arrival of a car could scare your cat and cause them to run out.
- If you have a senior cat, keep your litter box on the main level of your home. Avoid placing the box on upper or lower levels of the home, such as attics and basements. Older cats may suffer from arthritis and joint issues, which makes climbing stairs painful.
- Place the litter box in an area that is convenient for your cat to access and for you to clean on a regular basis.
- YOUR CAT IS STRESSED
Cats are sensitive to change, and even the smallest disruptions to their routines can have a major impact on their behavior. Moving to a new location, adding a new pet to the family may also lead to litter box avoidance, marking or spraying. Be sure to be aware of any life changes that could affect your feline friend and make sure their needs are met accordingly to avoid litterbox mishaps.
4. THE LITTER BOX IS DIRTY
Because cats are habitually clean, they expect their litter boxes to always be kept in pristine condition. A dirty litter box is a primary reason a cat won’t use it. Litter boxes must be scooped at least once a day to remove all clumped litter and fecal matter. At the same time, check litter levels and maintain 3 to 4 inches of litter at all times. If there isn’t enough litter in the box, it could deter your cat and they will be more likely to have a mess outside the box.
Disinfect the litter box twice a month and replace with fresh litter. To keep your litter from sticking and to keep it fresher longer you should use Stink Free’s Litter Spray Powder Deodorizerwhich keeps the litter from sticking to the sides and keeps it much fresher for a longer period of time!
5. ITS THE ACTUAL LITTER- OR THE BOX!
Cats are picky about where they use the restroom and the litter and litter box shape definitely plays a factor as well. Have you changed litter recently? Its important to remember when you change litter type to transition slowly over a period of seven to 10 days by adding small amounts of the new litter to the old until you have switched over completely. This will give your cat time to get “used to” the new litter before switching completely.
When it comes to your cat’s litter box, bigger is always better. A cat should be able to step inside, turn around, scratch and squat without touching the sides of the box. Some cats prefer the privacy of covered boxes, but others need open space to feel comfortable. Not only should the box be big but we recommend having more than one litter box in your home, especially if you have a multi-level home.
Whatever reason may be causing your cat to avoid their litter box, know that there are many ways to remedy the problem. Your answer may be as simple as getting a diagnosis from your veterinarian and receiving medicine, or you may need to figure out a solution via trial and error. Either way, Stink Free is here to help you and your cat with a variety or products and accessories that can help solve this problem. Visit our website stinkfree.com to find the purrfect product for your kitty today!
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