5 Reasons Cats Stop Using A Litter Box

5 Reasons Cats Stop Using A Litter Box

Owning an adorable four-legged fur-ball is a joy in itself. Felines are thought to be low maintenance pets that can be left alone at home for hours. Cats – as pets- are the best choice for people who have a busy lifestyle because they can act independently for themselves. However, as a cat owner, you will need to attend a number of tasks involved in taking care of your feline friend. It entails everything from clipping their claws to making sure that they are consuming the right type of cat food. To keep them busy accessorize their surroundings with toys and allocate separate places for them to play and sleep. It is advisable never to neglect indistinct changes in behavior and body language to help avoid any health issues. 

Having a litter box is vital if you have a cat that stays indoors. You need to be conscious of your cat's need for privacy in all things about doing their business, therefore, place the litter box in a quiet, private place. Cats are innately clean pets and like to have their business well contained and attended to. But your snuggly friend can be your worst nightmare if you find your couch or your favorite chair soaked with cat-urine. Cats do not generally pee outside the litter box. It may be a call for attention to an underlying problem. If you start to notice such behavior, you must determine and identify the reasons associated with this behavioral change in your cat.

Is Your Cat Sick?

When there's a litter box problem, the very first thing a cat owner should do is take the kitty to the vet for a thorough physical exam. Some symptoms that your cat might need an urgent vet appointment are:

  • Inability or Straining to urinate

  • Blood spots in the urine

  • Increased Water Consumption

  • Lethargy

  • Vomiting

All of these symptoms hint at a urinary tract infection (UTI) and if the condition is not treated quickly, it may lead to complete obstruction of the Urethra which may result in Kidney failure, the worst-case scenario. Do not assume a problem is behavioral without getting your pet kitty examined by the veterinarian. Apart from infections, cats can also experience other issues that interfere with urinating. Urinary blockages are fatal and can kill a cat in a matter of days. For this reason, you should make sure to rule out medical reasons of any sort before looking at other possible causes. 

Cats are inherently courageous; by the time they show pain, a simple problem may already have escalated. Therefore, if your cat shows any litter box trouble, take it to the vet immediately and always discuss it with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your cat any medicine for a behavioral problem. 

Is the Box Cleaned?

The most common reason why your kitty may not be using the litter box may have to do with how frequently you clean it. Cats are habitually clean animals and will not want to use a dirty litter box. Therefore, you should make an effort to clean the litter box as often as possible, ideally, after each use. If possible, scoop the litter box twice a day and replace the litter often. Scrub out the box with a mild soap at least once a week. Do not use bleach or ammonia-based products; instead, use unscented anti-bacterial soaps to clean the litter tray. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda in the fresh litter or use a charcoal filter to address the odor problem. Cats are very meticulous, so you'll want to keep the litter box as clean as possible to encourage the use.  Replace your litter box every year. Keep in mind that it should be spacious for the cat to move freely and bury its waste. 

Where is the Litter-Box placed?

Your feline friend may not be accustomed to change, so if you have to move a box from an established spot, do it gradually to give your kitty time to adapt. It's not good to put the litter box in an area that provides or retains bad odors, like near an open dustbin or by a smelly pipe. Likewise, do not place the litter box near loud household appliances; the sound may scare the cat. To find a preferred spot, try placing the box in various areas around the house. The cat will use the litter box in the location where it feels the most comfortable and the safest. In a multi-cat home, place a litter box in every cat's preferred area and don't have them queued up in one place. A cat may resist using a litter box because it is scared to cross the way of another cat to reach its box in the room. 

Like other pets, a cat may develop a preference for where it likes to defecate and may avoid locations it doesn't like. Consequently, it might avoid using the litter box if it's in an area it dislikes.

Do You Have Enough Litter Boxes?

Some cats are very relaxed about sharing food bowls and litter boxes. Others may want to have their own because cats can be quite territorial. So if you own more than one cat or have recently adopted a new kitty, give each one its litter box to avoid litter box problems. It is advisable to get one litter box more than the number of your cats as a lot of cats prefer defecating in one box and urinating in the other. 

Sometimes there can be a conflict between your cats, and one of them may seem stressed. Provide additional litter boxes in spots where the troubled cat spends the majority of its time. Make sure to provide sufficient resting spaces for each cat. It may prove very beneficial in multi-cat households to provide vertical resting spots on a mantle shelf or by purchasing multi-branch cat trees so that individual cats can have their own position to lounge Also consider distributing food bowls, water bowls, and litter boxes so that each of your cats can use them without having a conflict with one of the other cats. 

Is it About the New Type of Litter?

Cats customarily develop a preference for litter type when they are still young. Some cats adapt to change without any problem at all, while other cats may feel uncomfortable. Therefore they will avoid using the litter box filled with a litter that they have not used before. Studies have shown that the most popular type of litter to most cats is unscented and clumping litter from medium to a fine consistency. To help your kitty pick its preferred litter, put a few boxes side by side with different types of litter in them and let it choose. Try clay litters,  crystal, wheat, corn, crushed walnut shell, and your cat will use the one it likes the best. If you need to introduce a new type of litter, do it gradually by adding a little amount of the new brand each time you change the litter. Take a few days until your kitty is used to it.

At least 10% of all cats develop litter box problems. Some stop using the box altogether. These problems can be diverse and complex. Behavioral therapies are often useful, but the treatments must be tailored to the particular underlying problem. Keep an eye on your pet kitty and be sure to identify your cat’s problem and acquaint yourself with different approaches to help your cat. One of the most important tips is to ensure your cats have cleaned litter boxes as much as possible. If you are unable to scoop yourself, you may find an automatic option one of the best investments in keeping your kitty happy to the toilet in the right place. The best automatic litter box globally is the Litter-Robot, and as it's designed for multiple cats, it may be the ideal solution for you if you have a busy lifestyle.

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