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Some Common Reasons Why Cats Stop Using the Litter Box

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some common reasons why cats stop using the litter box

When your cat stops using the litter box it’s frustrating and stressful for both cat and cat caregiver. It’s also, sadly, one of the most common reasons that a cat may get a one-way ticket to the nearest shelter. There are many reasons why a cat may avoid the litter box and it’s important to figure out the true cause in order to get everything back on track. Litter box avoidance shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when it comes to whether kitty gets to stay in your family or not. While some reasons for litter box aversion may be more complex, there are often some simple mistakes cat caregivers make. If you’re a new cat caregiver it’s especially easy to make some simple errors that may not seem important at the time but, trust me, those mistakes can have a big effect on how your cat views his toileting set-up. Here’s a list of some common reasons for litter box avoidance.

Underlying Medical Issue for the Cat’s Behavior

When dealing with a litter box problem be sure you look at this possibility first. Don’t assume a problem is behavioral without getting your cat checked by the veterinarian in order to rule out any medical cause. It’s common for a cat experiencing discomfort upon elimination to associate the box with the pain. It may also be that your cat can’t make it to the box in time due to discomfort.



Cats who are declawed may continue to feel pain long after the healing period. Some cats’ paws remain sensitive for the rest of their lives and the texture of the litter may be too uncomfortable for them. There are so many reasons not to declaw your cat and this is just one of them. If you’re on the fence about whether to put your cat through this surgical amputation, please first read the article on this website on declawing.

A Dirty Litter Box

Would you want to use a toilet that is never flushed? Of course not. Cats are very clean animals and if the box is too dirty they will seek other arrangements. Scoop the litter box at least twice a day and completely wash out the box monthly. If you’re not using scoopable litter then wash out the box on a weekly basis.