Scooper Cleaner

Why Won't My Cat Use The Litter Box?

Why Won't My Cat Use The Litter Box?

You wake up in the morning, the litter box is empty and there is a strange odor coming from your rug in the living room. Could it be?.....yep, it is. Oh no!!....The cat peed on my rug!!  First off, despite what you may have read or heard, cats are not vindictive and they certainly did not pee on your rug out of spite. There is definitely a reason why your cat did not use their litter box. There were no doubt clues and signs leading up to the incident that you missed. We've all been there, so no worries, we are here to help you solve this mystery.

TIP: If you suspect your cat is spraying your rug but can't seem to find where,  invest in an ultraviolet blacklight. In the dark it will show organic matter brighter than the rest of the surface. It sure beats feeling and sniffing around on your hand and knees. We recommend the Escolite UV Flashlight Black Light, it's only $13.00 and works great.

Important: before embarking on solving the case of the wet rug, first please do your due diligence and take your cat to the vet to make sure your furry friend does not have a urinary tract infection. A urinary tract infection is a disorder or disease that affects a cat's lower urinary tract (bladder or urethra), It causes a felne to urinate frequently and most times outside their box.

Ok you have ruled out a urinary tract infection, so let's go down a checklist of possible causes:

Has your Cat Been Fixed?

If your cat is older than 5 months, and has not been spayed or neutered, your furry buddy could be urinating outside their box to mark their territory.  If you have multiple cats and they have also been aggressive towards each other, this is a further indication that you are past due to get your cat fixed. Once you take your furry friend to the vet to get spayed or neutered you'll find that urinating outside the box and aggressive behaviour will cease almost immediately.

Cleaned The Box Lately? 

If you walked into a public restroom and it was filthy, would you want to hang around there for more than five seconds? Well, the same goes for your finicky friend. If they have to walk over the remains of their last movement to drop another, they may look elsewhere. Make sure you clean your litter box thoroughly once and preferably twice a day. Check out our articleLitter Box 101: Setting up Your Cat's Restroom for best practices on litter box setup and clean up.

Litter Box Size

If your feline does not have enough room to dig, maneuver & squat then then they may find another spot in your house to do their business. The larger you can go the better. We recommend the iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Cat XL Litter BoxIts a bit pricey at $45.00, however, its fairly large at 23. 5 inches long by 15. 5 inches wide by 6 inches deep. Our cats love the size and also remember its stainless steel and will last forever, so we feel it's well worth the price.

Litter Box Location

Your cat should feel secure when they are in a vulnerable position such as when they are doing their business. A popular notion is that the litter box should be hidden away in the garage or somewhere else where you don't have to see or smell it. However, it is more favorable to place the litter box in social area, as long as it's easily accessible & away from their food and water.  This is especially true, if the social area is a place where they have been marking. For example, the corner of your dining room, living room or kitchen are good choices. But what about that funky cat litter odor you ask? You will not have to worry about the odor if you clean the box a couple times a day. If the box is in a noisy room such as the laundry room with your washer and dryer, your kitty may get spooked and seek elsewhere to relieve themselves.  Also, if you have number of boxes, they should not be next to each other, but instead spread out through your home, this is especially important for households with more than one cat. Multiple locations also support the cat's wild instincts of separating and concealing their odors. Remember, the cat litter box location may not be your first choice, but place it in an area best for your kitty.

There aren’t enough litter boxes

If you were at a restaurant & the line for the restroom spilled out of the door and you couldn't wait, you'd probably find another restroom somewhere else wouldn't you? Your little buddy is likely to do the same, but if there isn't another box, then, well, you know what happens. The general rule is, the number of boxes required should be at least equal to the number of cats plus one.

He doesn’t like the type of litter

I'm sure you realized by now that cats are very particular creatures and they all have different personalities, along with their likes and dislikes. But it's a big part of what makes owning a cat so much fun!  The reason your furry friend might not like to use his box is the scent of the litter. Try switching out your scented litter for unscented. Again, some cats mind the scent and some could not care less.

Environmental changes

If you need to move the litter box, try moving it a few feet a day until eventually it resides at its new location.  If you move it to an entirely new spot far away overnight, your cat could get stressed and have an accident.  Other life changes could result in some anxiety for your little buddy as well. Suppose you just moved into a new house or apartment. You of course know when & why you are moving and the layout of the new place, but your feline companion has no idea what just happened. To them, their whole world just changed in the blink of an eye. It would be a good idea when you change their world a bit, to ease them into it by showing them where their food and litter box is as soon as you introduce them to your new place.  Then have some patience. The distress is certainly understandable when you look at it from your cat's perspective.

Hopefully one the above items solves your mystery of the wet rug. Remember, think about what happened in your cat's life the day or week prior, their litter box set up and environment & I'll bet you’ll have that Ah! Ha! moment.

Leave a comment: