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Reasons Your Cat Might Be Avoiding Her Litter Box

May 1, 2020

Did you know that plenty of cats experience a litter box aversion at some point in their lives? If your cat has seemingly given up on using her bathroom box, you’re not alone. The trick is to find out what’s causing this behavior so that you can put a stop to it. Learn more below as your vet guides you through the reasons your cat might be avoiding her litter box.

It’s not clean enough.

Cats aren’t fond of using a dirty bathroom. We really can’t blame them. If you don’t scoop out Fluffy’s bathroom often enough, she might decide to shun it completely. It’s recommended that you scoop out your cat’s waste on a daily basis, adding a bit of fresh litter to replace what you’ve removed, and changing the litter entirely about once a week or so. Keep this up and your cat shouldn’t have any complaints. 

It’s in the wrong spot.

No one likes to use the bathroom in a crowded, noisy area with a lot of other people around. This includes your cat! If your cat’s box isn’t in a private enough area, she probably won’t be too keen on using it. Make sure to put the litter box in a quiet, out-of-the-way spot where your cat can do her business in peace. In most homes, a laundry room, quiet bathroom, or basement corner works well. 

If a cat was startled frequently while using the litter box early on in life, she might be negatively conditioned against it. This could require the help of an animal behaviorist or a professional trainer to correct—ask your vet for help.

The litter isn’t right.

Cats can be rather picky about the litter that’s put in their box. Some cats like clumping litter, while some don’t. Some prefer non-scented litter, while others don’t mind a lemon-fresh scent, for example. You might have to try a few types to find something that your cat is okay with. Just be patient! 

She’s ill or injured. 

If your cat is sick or in physical pain, she might not be able to get to the litter box itself or she might struggle to get into it when she arrives. If you’ve noticed other signs of illness or pain—excess vocalizations, wincing, vomiting, lethargy, etc.—let your vet know right away. 

For more information on your cat’s bathroom needs, call your veterinarian. 

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