Tips for Novice Cat Owners: Why Is My Cat Not Using the Litter Box?

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Many first-time cat owners assume that owning a cat is a convenient and clean thing to do, assuming that cats will solve their own toilet problems with litter. But the truth is, many cats don't go to the toilet in the litter box.
They go where they want to go.
There's a lot of friction between cat owners and their cats over not using the litter box, and statistically it's the No.1 reason cat owners turn their cats in to animal shelters.
It's not an easy task to train a cat to use a litter box from scratch, but if your cat used to use the litter box but suddenly stopped using it recently, why? What can you do about it?
A lot of people get frustrated because you don't have the right answer and the answer may be easier than you think.

1. The environment changes

The cat is a creature that does not like change. If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box, firstly you should think about what has changed recently.
Like a new litter box? Is the new litter box smaller than the old one? Did you put it in a new place? Did you clean it with some weird chemicals?
If so, try to undo the changes first and see if you can solve the problem. If you do, the next time you want to change something, do it as gradually as possible and avoid big changes.

why is my cat not using the litter box

2. The litter box is not clean

It is well known that a litter box that does not been cleaned its litter regularly will be disliked by cats. Put yourself in your shoes. Would you rather put up with it than use a dirty toilet? Be sure to clean the litter box at least once a day and keep it in a well-ventilated area.

3. The cat is marking territory

If your male cat just doesn't use the litter box sometimes, why is that? It's probably doing something called territorial marking.
This is the reaction of some cats living in multi-cat homes, or cats in heat.
While the cat seems unable to control itself and often urinates outside the litter box, it's actually just marking its territory.
The solutions is to buy anti-tagging spray (a magical spray that stops the cat from peeing) online and to have your cat neutered.

why is my cat not using the litter box

4. Health problems

If a cat has discomfort and pain while using the litter box, it may associate that discomfort and pain with it.
There are many reasons why cats can have pain when urinating, such as feline urinary syndrome. If none of the above is true, you should have your cat checked by a veterinarian for urinary problems. Once the pain subsides after treatment, the cat will continue to use the litter box.

5. Difficult to use

Just as the pain of urinating can keep cats away from the litter box, the pain of going to the litter box could also be a cause.
As your cat ages, joint pain, chronic arthritis or an old injury can make it difficult for it to move the way it used to.
When it's in pain, trying to get into a litter box a few centimeters high is like climbing Everest.
Having a handy litter box can easily solve this problem, and ask your veterinarian about anti-inflammatory drugs or supplements that can relieve your cat's pain.


Cats will not stop using litter box for no reason. Figure out what's causing cats in the first place, and then target the problem.
Take your cat to a vet before giving it up after trying everything at home that doesn't work. In many cases, the cat's health is at fault.

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