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Some Common Reasons Why Cats Stop Using the Litter Box


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.

litter box with litter scoop

Photo: Fotolia

A Covered Litter Box

You may think a covered box is a good idea because it gives the cat some privacy and also confines the litter odor inside the box. The truth is, a covered box isn’t cat-friendly. A covered box often makes the cat feel confined. The covered box makes it more inconvenient for you to scoop on a regular basis (out of sight…out of mind). Covered boxes also create more odor because air doesn’t get in there to dry the soiled litter. My biggest complaint with a covered box is that it prevents the cat from having escape potential. In a multicat household this can be a crucial issue because a cat may avoid the box if he feels he’ll get ambushed while in there.

gray cat next to covered litter box

Photo: Fotolia

Wrong Sized Litter Box

Don’t choose a litter box size based on where it conveniently will fit in a location. Choose a box based on the size of your cat. The box should be about 1 ½ times the length of your cat from tip of the nose to base of the tail.

Not Enough Litter Boxes

In multicat homes you should have the same number of litter boxes as you have cats plus one extra for good measure. If there’s a litter box issue, then you really can’t avoid to skimp on the number of boxes. If you live with just one cat but you have a home with more than one level then there should be a box on each level.

Wrong Location for the Litter Box

Location choice should be about convenience and security for the cat and not about what is convenient for the cat parent. Don’t put the litter box near the food, in a damp basement, in a closet or near household appliances that may frighten the cat (such as the washing machine). In a multicat household, scatter boxes around the home and don’t have them lined up in one room. You don’t want a cat developing a litter box aversion problem because he’s afraid to cross the path of another cat in order to get into the one room where all the boxes are located. Place a box in each cat’s preferred area.


CatWise book and a quote from Dr Lore Haug


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