Elimination problems can develop for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a result of conflict between multiple cats in a home, or a result of a dislike for the litter box type or the litter itself. Make sure to rule out any medical conditions such as an UTI or development of crystals. Remember, cats are instinctively clean creatures and if the litter box is not up to their standard they may choose to go elsewhere. It’s best to avoid this problem by keeping towels or clothes off the floor as cats may confuse this as an acceptable area to do their business.
Litter Box is Not Clean Enough
There are several reasons why a cat may suddenly not use the litter box anymore. One of the most common reasons is they are tired of dealing with a dirty litter box. You may think the litter box is clean enough, but they ultimately have the final say! Some cats are finicky and require a very clean place to do their business.
Unhappy With the Litter Box
Another possible reason your cat is suddenly not using the litter box is that they are unhappy with the litter box itself. This could be due to its cleanliness or if it’s shared with another cat, or even the style of litter. Cleaning the box more often, getting a new box, or changing the type of litter may help the cat feel more comfortable using it.
If you’ve recently switched litter this could also send them into a tail spin! The best way to change litter is to make it a slow transition, mixing some of the old and new litter together. Each time you clean the litter slowly add more of the new litter until your cat becomes used to the new texture and smell. Our favorite litter to use is an easy to clean clumping litter.
Health Issue Could Be to Blame
However, if your cat is suddenly not using the litter box and starts eliminating in other areas of your home, then a health issue could be to blame. A cat that suddenly stops using the litter box may have a health problem, such as urinary tract infection, cystitis, kidney stones, or hyperthyroidism. These conditions can affect the cat’s ability to control their eliminations and can increase their thirst and urination. A veterinarian can check for these health issues and provide treatment.
Cleanliness is Crucial
The litter box is the command zone of the home and having a dirty litter box can have a number of harmful effects on cats, from both a medical and behavioral standpoint. Many cats suddenly stop using the litter box and go out of their way to avoid using a dirty litter box. At best, this could mean that your cat begins eliminating outside of the litter box, developing a house-soiling habit that could be difficult to break. In order to prevent these problems, you want to ensure that your cat always has access to a clean and welcoming litter box.
Scoop Buddy Reduces Unwanted Behaviors
Scooping the litter box daily is a must. We know cats can suddenly stop using the litter box if it’s not clean enough. Litter box clean-up is crucial to having a happy and healthy relationship with your cat. But let’s face it, it’s one of the least favorite tasks as a cat parent. The smells, the spills, the frequency; alas it has to be done.
We’ve invented a solution for every cat parent’s problem with Scoop Buddy. These innovative litter box anchors attach the waste bag directly to the litter box eliminating dirty litter spills! Keep litter in the bag and off the floor with every scoop. Scoop Buddy cuts down time spent cleaning up messy litter spills and more time doing….really anything else! Say goodbye to messy and smelly litter boxes and hello to an easier and more efficient solution. Less mess equals less stress!
Cats Are Creatures of Habit
Cats are creatures of habit so anything new can really affect their behavior. We’ve moved across the country (twice) with our kitties and have welcomed 3 new babies all in their tenure of 9 years in our family. One thing we found that helps create some calm amid the chaos of the house is setting a play time routine and sticking to it.
As much as you want to cut that part out, stick with it. Your kitty needs an outlet too and they’re feeling the stress and anxiety of any change just as you are. Sometimes it may feel like ‘just one more thing on your plate,’ but you’re better off in the long run. And remember, you’re in this together as a family!
Valuing Your Cat Reduces Behaviors
Valuing your cat and understanding their needs reduces behaviors and lessens their anxiety. One piece of advice is to learn to love the litter box. That is the command zone of your cat’s world and if you are having trouble with your cat, start there.
Using the litter box is such a vulnerable time for your cat and it can create anxiety for them if it’s not properly placed. Locate the litter box in an open area with many escape routes. If you have a multi-cat household, always have one more litter box than you do cats the home. If possible, place a litter box on each level of the home. Litter boxes located all in the same area (i.e. 3 litter boxes in the basement) are viewed as one litter box in your cat’s mind. This is extremely important if you care dealing with a dominant cat in the home!
Elimination Problems Can Develop for a Variety of Reasons
It’s not very common for cats to suddenly stop using the litter box. In fact, only 10% of all cats develop elimination problems or stop using the box altogether. Some cats only use their litter boxes for urination or defecation but not for both. Still others may eliminate both in and out of their litter boxes.
We want cats to keep using their litter box and keep them in their loving homes. If you are having trouble litter box training your cat, your veterinarian is a great source of information. They may have some helpful suggestions to help you and your feline purrsevere.
Have more questions about litter box training? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like more tips, check out our 10 Cat Care Tips!