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Why Won’t My Cat Use My Litterbox?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Why Won't My Cat use My Litterbox?

"Why won't my cat use the litterbox?" is such a common question from cat owners. It is estimated that 10% of cats will not use the litter box at some point in their life and as a result will most likely urinate outside of the litter box.

Some common reasons cats won't use the litterbox include:

  • Medical problems involving the urinary tract such as urinary tract infections, bladder stone or inflammatory bladder diseases

  • Medical problems such as diabetes or kidney disease

  • A litterbox that is too dirty

  • The litterbox location is in a noisy spot such as near a water heater, dryer, washer or TV

  • The owner changed the litter brand to something the cat doesn't like

  • Heavily fragranced litters

  • Aggression from other cats which prevent them from using a particular litterbox.

  • The location of the litterbox was changed

  • Litterbox was not accessible (e.g. door to the room was closed)

  • There aren't enough litterboxes in the home (too few boxes per number of cats)

  • There aren't enough litterboxes for the size of the home (there should be at least one per floor of a home

  • Harsh chemicals used to clean the litterbox or surrounding area

  • A noisy or unappealing mat under or near the litterbox

  • Unappealing deodorants or air fresheners in the area

  • Stress due to change such as new furniture, a new work schedule, guests, or another change in their routine

  • Territorial behaviors due to a new cat in the house or seen in the area

  • Hormones due to mating drive in unneutered males and unspayed females

  • Hooded litterboxes (many cats prefer to be able to see while they are eliminating and dislike this style)

    These are just a few of the reasons why an otherwise obedient cat might begin urinating outside the litterbox. I hope this article has helped you understand why cats urinate outside the litterbox and how to stop it.

    I hope this article gives you more information on Why Won't Your Cat use My Litterbox?

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