Help! My cat has litter box problem!


Kritika Manchanda
Litter box problem can be a warning sign. You must act quickly and find a solution to this problem. Let’s see how.
Cats developing litter box problems is a common thing. Some cats stop using the box, while other cats might use it for defecating or urinating instead of doing it for both. Litter box problems arise due to conflicts between cats in a multiple cat household. But if you have a pet and she is not using the litter box, then surely it is a sign. If the problem is ignored, it might become chronic, and your pet will develop a preference of eliminating at a particular location or surface.
Common litter box problems
Listed below are some of the most common litter box problems:

  • Unclean litter box
  • Too much litter in the box
  • Cramped litter box
  • Conflict issue in a multiple cat household
  • Litter box with thick lining
  • Change in environment like moving to a new house
  • No so comfortable position
  •  Change in location of the litter box
  • Preference of eliminating at a particular location or surface like soil, bedding, carpet, etc.

Medical conditions associated with litter box problems
Sometimes not using the litter box can be due to behavioural issue or a medical condition. The most common medical conditions which might be the cause of this problem are:

  • Urinary Tract Infection: A cat might enter the litter box frequently but passes very little urine. This can be an indication of infection.
  • Bladder Stones: If your cat has bladder stones or blockage she would be entering the litter box often, but will experience pain and might cry while passing urine.
  • Feline Interstitial Cystitis: This particular disease affects a cat’s bladder. Cystitis means inflamed bladder. Cats with this medical condition attempt to urinate frequently but in vain.
    Your vet is the best person who can find out the main cause of the problem, whether it is a medical condition or behavioural issue

Handling litter box problems
When the vet rules out a medical condition, it is recommended that you make certain changes to get your pet back to the litter box.

  • Change the litter box: Get a bigger litter box. Avoid using litter boxes with lids and lining. Choose a litter box with low sides and edges, so that it is easier to climb in.
  • Keep it clean: Clean and scoop the litter box once a day, using baking soda or an  unscented soap once a week
  •  Change the position: Move the box to a low, quiet and dimly lit location. Make sure the litter box is nowhere to be seen around food and water bowls.
  • Separate litter boxes: In a multiple cat household, provide a separate litter box for each cat.
  • Getting rid of surface preference: If your cat has developed a preference for a particular location or surface, you need to remove it and change the setting. For example, if the cat eliminates in a dark corner, lit it up with bright lights. If she eliminates on the carpet, just remove the carpet.
  • Medications: Your pet might be worried or stressed about using the litter box due to any of the reason. Once the vet finds out the main cause, precautions can be taken and the course of further treatment can be decided. The vet might also recommend some medications.
  • Keep cool: Keep in mind that punishment, shouting and scolding will not work. It will only add to the stress and have an adverse effect on the situation.
  • Change gradually: Cats are creature of habit. Therefore, it is most beneficial if you introduce any change gradually. Whether it is adopting a new pet or getting them back to the litter box, you need to give your pet time.
  • Be patient: Your pet will not get back to the litter box magically overnight. Slowly it will all fall in place. (Pun intended)