Litter boxes are perfect for cats because they instinctively cover their waste. With that in mind, cats are sensitive creatures and there are many factors that can cause them to relieve themselves outside the litter box.

Reason #1: the litter box is too small

The general rule is to choose a litter box that is approximately one and a half times the length of your cat's body. If your cat has had a growth spurt or gained weight, the current litter box may become uncomfortable for him or her. It's also possible that the box that you currently own is not deep enough or not full enough to satisfy his or her urge to dig and cover the waste.

Reason #2: it is difficult to access

Many elderly or disabled cats defecate outside the litter box because of their inability to reach the box. Joint pain and arthritis often occur in older cats. This makes it difficult for them to climb into a box that is too deep or covered. It's even more important to make sure that the litter box is in an area where the cat spends most of its time so that it doesn't have to travel too far.

Reason #3: change

Cats are finicky creatures, so it's likely that a change in their litter box will not please them. Did you put a new rug under the litter box? Or did you move his or litter box recently?

Reason #4: your cat doesn't like the location of the litter box

If your cat is avoiding the litter box, it may not be in a suitable location. Some areas may be noisy, hard to reach, or just plain scary for your pet. Also, it's not a good idea to place a litter box near a door or in a high-traffic area. Most cats also refuse to use a litter box near their food and water bowls.

Reason #5: the cleanliness of the litter box

It seems obvious, but for some cats, a litter box is considered dirty after only a few drops of urine. To avoid this, buy a small litter scooper to clean up tiny urine spots in your cat's litter box.

Reason #6: another animal has taken over the litter box

This is sometimes the case in households with multiple pets. Cats may feel intimidated or vulnerable when relieving themselves. While some cats may try to take over the food bowls, others may keep a close eye on the litter box. Make sure a cat or dog does not block your pet's access to the litter box.

Reason #7: there aren't enough litter boxes in the house

Another important rule to follow: at least one litter box per cat. It is necessary to install several litter boxes so that each cat feels comfortable. Make sure they are placed in different locations and are easily accessible.

Reason #8: your cat doesn't like the smell or texture of the litter

Cats tend to prefer finely ground pellets, and some may not like scented litters or very dusty litters. There are many different types of litter available. Try a few out to find what your cat prefers.

Reason #9: a bad experience

Your pet may have had a frightening or even painful experience. Perhaps an incident has made him or her wary, which is why he or she now avoids the litter box. Try to determine the cause of the trauma so you can find a solution.

Reason #10: your pet has a health problem

Besides the pain of aging, there are other health issues that may affect cats and cause them to relieve themselves outside the litter box. In fact, they may feel too weak to go inside their litter box. If you think this is the case, it's important to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Tips for solving litter problems

  • Clean the litter box daily, or twice a day if necessary.
  • Test different types of litter to determine your cat's preference.
  • Try using a covered litter box.
  • Check the location of the litter box. Is it suitable?
  • Clean areas outside the litter box where your cat has relieved itself with an enzymatic cleaner. This will discourage your cat from soiling the area again.
  • If your cat continues to avoid the litter box, don't hesitate to consult a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist who can help you.

Originally written by Irène (Yummypets) and translated by Jennifer Eubank (Yummypets). 

Source: Iheartcats

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    Lily E My cat hasn't used his litter box in over a year, and nothing I try works. I've narrowed it down to a territory issue, but I'm unsure how to move forward