Why does my cat refuse to use the litter box?
Last updated September 30th, 2019
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: