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What to Do If Your Cat Has Stopped Using Her Litterbox

October 1, 2018
Has your cat stopped using her litterbox, eliminating instead on your carpets or floors? Many cats develop some sort of litterbox aversion at one point or another, and there are several possible reasons! Learn more here from a Pickerington, OH veterinarian.

See the Vet

First things first—set up an appointment at your veterinarian’s office to have your cat examined by the professionals. A variety of medical issues could be the root cause of your cat’s behavior, including urinary tract infections, injury, disease, and more. A negative conditioning scenario could also be occurring, in which your cat was frightened while using the box and now associates her bathroom with negative things. This might require the help of an animal behaviorist or trainer to correct!

Clean the Box

One of the most common reasons for a cat to shun her bathroom is because of cleanliness. Much like you, your cat doesn’t like to do her business in a dirty bathroom! If the box isn’t scooped out often enough, a cat may decide to avoid it entirely. We recommend scooping out your cat’s litterbox every day or every other day, and changing the litter entirely about once a week. This will ensure that things stay fresh and clean, enticing your cat to use the box whenever she has to go.

Change Litters

Did you know that cats can be picky when it comes to the type of litter they use? Different cats like different types! There are many kinds of litter out there—clumping and non-clumping, scented and non-scented, different granule sizes, a variety of base materials—and you might have to experiment a little to determine what your cat prefers. Ask your vet for a recommendation on a good all-around type of litter if you think your cat is getting picky.

Consider Box Placement

Where your cat’s box is located is very important. Cats have been known to shun their litterboxes if they’re not located in a quiet, out-of-the-way locale where they won’t be disturbed while using them. Additionally, don’t place the box too close to your cat’s food and water dishes. Like you, your cat doesn’t like to use the bathroom right next to her dining area! Finally, make sure your cat’s path to her bathroom isn’t blocked by a sliding door, screened-in door, or some other physical obstacle. For more advice and insight, call your Pickerington, OH vet clinic.