Litter box problems are some of the worst ones our cats can present. There are a lot of reasons they may be avoiding the litter box, and it creates quite a mess while we scramble to figure it out. Getting to the bottom of what’s going on is the first step to getting your cat back into the box. Here are the most common reasons cats do their business outside of the litter box.
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The first thing to consider is a medical issue, such as a urinary tract infection or kidney stone. Ailments like this can be very painful and distressing to your cat, and can escalate quickly into major problems if not treated. See your veterinarian right away if you suspect a medical condition.
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Do you scoop the litter box daily? If not, your cat may be boycotting the filth. Can you blame her? Make scooping a part of your daily routine, scheduling it before or after something you are already in the habit of doing every day, like brushing your teeth or taking a multivitamin. If you put off cleaning the box because the process is daunting, consider adding a Litter Genie to your home, which will eliminate a lot of the hassle.
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Cats have sharp vision, but they can’t see in the dark despite popular belief. Make sure the box is in a location that’ll be easy for your cat to access and use properly at night. If the room is dark you can add a night light.
Some cats may avoid the box if they have to travel too far to find it. If you have a large home or multiple floors, add boxes in several locations to make it more convenient for her. This is especially important for cats with mobility challenges (elderly, disabled, obese, etc.).
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Ambushing or Bullying
A more submissive cat may feel too intimidated to use the box if a more dominant animal is guarding it. The natural competitive nature of cats is exactly why there should be multiple litter boxes in a home where cats are sharing resources.
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It’s Just Not Right
Sometimes it’s just as simple (or as complicated) as cats just being finicky creatures. The box may be too small. She may not like the type of litter you’re using. There may be too much litter in the box. Or not enough. This problem may be the culprit if you’ve recently changed anything about the box.