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The litter box rule that cat owners should not ignore
Why does my cat refuse to use the litter box?

The litter box rule that cat owners should not ignore

Last updated May 7th, 2019

Providing the right number of litter boxes per cat is one of the key factors in preventing inappropriate elimination or spraying behaviors before they start. Litter box aversion is one of the top reasons cats are surrendered to shelters.

There’s a long line for every situation in life; the line at the grocery check-out, the line at the boarding gate and that inevitably long line in the women’s restroom when intermission is about to end.

Don’t you hate that?

But there’s a restroom of a different kind in your multi-cat household, the litter box, where waiting in line should never be the norm. It’s a well-known fact that the key to a happy and confident cat is providing ample space for each cat to own, more so when they’re co-existing with fellow feline housemates. And even more so when it comes to their toileting habits.

When one of your cats start spraying ‘cat-fiti’ on your walls or doors or gifting you with puddles on your hardwood floor, take that as more than a hint that you need to make some litter box adjustments. Having too few litter boxes for multiple cats is like playing musical chairs; except in this instance, the eliminated cat becomes the eliminator, or rather, the inappropriate eliminator! Yes, that viscous yellow liquid under the chair in the kitchen is not your toddler’s spilled orange juice! (horror of horrors)

There are various factors that may cause a cat to avoid the litter box such as location, size, type (covered vs. uncovered), type of litter substrate, how often it gets scooped and cleaned, stress and the number of boxes. 

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Why does my cat refuse to use the litter box?

Last updated September 30th, 2019

Why does my cat refuse to use the litter box?

The wonders of the litter box, cat toilet, cat washroom, kitty potty or whatever you wish to name it, is something most of us cat guardians love to hate. Sure, there is no dog walking involved and no poop to scoop up in a park, little Fluffy comes toilet trained. I was always fascinated with the cat’s innate ability to cover their waste. It’s just what cats do, it’s in their DNA. Put a kitten in front of a litter box and they immediately know what it’s for and start digging a hole to take care of business. These fastidious habits of washing up after eating and burying feces stem from their link to the wild before they were domesticated. In order not to attract any attention of potential predators they would wash off any remaining scent after eating and bury their feces after doing their toilet business.

When I look back at the cats I’ve had, I’ve only ever encountered litter box problems when they were frightened by something, bullied by another cat in a multi-cat household or sick. And now that my oldest cats are twelve and thirteen years old and I have never had a soiling problem ever – not even during the car rides to cats shows around Ireland and on two plane trips to two different countries!

Problems arise when we, as cat guardians, don’t recognize the signals that our cats are sending us. When your cat starts to eliminate in inappropriate places it is important to examine when and where the problem started and from there figure out how to stop the behavior. Remember that cats do not understand punishment, like rubbing their faces in their mess, or isolating them in a bathroom.

There are many factors that come into play when kitty starts to soil inappropriately and that can include any of the below:

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