Solving Litterbox Aversion in Cats

Jade Augustine

It's a common complaint. Your cat suddenly, without any given reason, detests its litter box and chooses to do its business elsewhere. It may be a one-time thing that you can quickly forgive your cat for, but it can also become a problem resulting in having to get rid of rugs, clothes, or even replacing the carpet. So, what can you do to stop this frustrating behavior?

First, it is crucial to figure out if this is solely a behavioral issue or something else that may be causing stress to your cat.
Photo by Arina Krasnikova from Pexels

Has Something Changed in Your Cat's Life?

If you have a new roommate or a new significant other around, that can make your cat feel unsafe and it may start marking its territory.

Or if you've recently moved and your cat doesn't feel comfortable where you're at now just yet, it may start acting out in unpleasant ways.

Is there a new pet in the house? Some cats prefer being the only pet, and having a new pet around might make your cat want to claim their turf as their own.

Cats are creatures of routine, and while they can quickly adapt to new homes and environments, it can be difficult for them to understand what is happening, hence the unpleasant surprises you might find around the house.

Is The Litterbox Clean?

Cats are clean creatures by nature. While they may not care if the dishes get done, or the laundry is folded and put away, they care particularly about their litterbox and grooming. At the very least, any cat owner should scoop out the litterbox once a day, preferably twice a day if at all possible. If the litterbox is full and gross, your cat may choose somewhere else as their litterbox.

Make sure to scoop it regularly and clean out all of the litter frequently. Replace the box at least once a year.

Usually, one litterbox is fine if you have one cat, but some cats prefer to have separate litterboxes for urination and defecation. If you have more than one cat, then you may need more than one litterbox. The general rule of thumb is that you should have as many litterboxes as cats, plus one more. So if you have one cat, two litterboxes are advised. If you have two cats, you should have three litterboxes, and so on.

Have You Switched To A Different Litter?

As previously stated, cats are creatures of routine, so if the litter is different, it may feel strange to your kitty's delicate paws, and it might not like to go in there. If your cat is experiencing litterbox issues, it may be best to switch back to the litter you used before the switch. Cats generally prefer unscented clumping litter.

How Can I Stop This Behavior?

Having a cat who doesn't use the litterbox is a frustrating behavior, and even the most loving cat owners won't tolerate this behavior for long. Inappropriate elimination is a common reason that cats are surrendered to shelters.

A cat eliminating outside the litterbox is not an uncommon issue. Over 1 in 10 cats will experience this problem in their lifetime. So if your cat is not using their litterbox, you're not alone. Luckily, there are many things to try before rehoming your cat or banishing her to the backyard.

Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract Litter

Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract Litter is a unique blend of litter with special herbs designed to attract even the most stubborn cats to the litterbox. The reviews are glowing, and many of the users have reported that their cat now has no problems with using the litterbox since switching over to Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract Litter.

You can find it online or in most major pet stores.

Make Sure All Previous Accidents Are Properly Cleaned Up

Even if you can't detect the tell-tale smell of cat urine, your cat might still be able to and be attracted to use that area as their litterbox again. You need to clean the area with an enzyme cleaner thoroughly. Otherwise, you're just masking the scent.

Most major pet stain removers contain enzymes, so make sure that enzymes are on the label of whatever product you choose, and you should be good to go.

If your cat has chosen a particular area time and time again, clean it thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner, and then try to make it as unappealing as possible. Maybe move a piece of furniture over the area or place a rug you don't care about in that location. If possible, you might even wish to put another litterbox there.

Consider The Location of The Litterbox

If the litterbox is in a high-traffic area of your home or near loud appliances such as a washer and dryer, your cat may feel unsafe while using their litterbox.

The litterbox should be in a quiet area with some privacy, such as a bathroom or a hall closet.

Cats tend to feel as if they're in a vulnerable position when they're using the litterbox. So if the location is somewhere where they expect ambush or expect an audience, they may not feel comfortable using the litterbox there.

Yet, you shouldn't just change the location of the litterbox unexpectedly. It's best to add a second litterbox in the new area and slowly move the first litterbox to the place where you would like it.

Take Your Cat To The Vet

Keep in mind that while many litterbox issues are behavioral issues, sometimes a cat might choose to eliminate outside the litterbox if it is sick or is having pain while using the litterbox, so make sure your furry friend gets checked out by a vet.

Having a cat who doesn't use the litterbox is a frustrating situation, but you have to remember that it's in a cat's nature to bury their waste. They don't want to be eliminating on the floor either. Work with your cat, and your cat will work with you.

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Jade Augustine is a writer from Fort Collins, Colorado. She is passionate about cats, dogs, entertainment, vegan food, and traveling.

Fort Collins, CO

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