Certainly cats have preferences about what types of litter and what styles of litter box they prefer, but did you know that the location of the litter box can have a big impact on whether or not your cat decides to use it? Some cats are good sports and will use it wherever you put it, but if your cat has litter box issues and a clean bill of health, you may want to try moving it to see if it helps.
Here are the best and worst spots in your house for the litter box:
The worst spots:
#1 – Too “private”
Unlike humans, cats are more worried about being ambushed than they are about having privacy. While they don’t necessarily want their litter box to be the focal point of the room, if they offer too much “privacy” – such as those placed around corners, in cabinets, behind couches, or in small rooms or closets – your cat may be worried about being attacked. Even if you only have one cat, instincts may prevail and your cat may choose a location with fewer blind spots to do their business.
#2 – Too hidden or inconvenient
You may want to keep the litter box in the basement (although you should have one more litter box than you have cats, which means at least two boxes for a one-cat household), but if your cat is on the top floor of your house, they may not feel inclined to go down several flights of stairs first, especially if they are young or old. Litter boxes should be easily accessible, easy for your cat to locate in a hurry, and preferably one on each level of your home.
#3 – Too close to food, water, or other litter boxes
If you keep all your litter boxes right next to each other, your cat will consider that one giant litter box. It’s not convenient for your cat to have multiple litter boxes all in one place- although it may be more convenient for you to clean them all. Cats also have a very good sense of smell, so they won’t want to stink up the room they eat and drink in. Do them a favor and keep the litter box away from their food.
#4 – Next to an appliance
While the laundry room may seem like a convenient place for the litter box, the noise from the washer and dryer may scare your cat away from the box. Heat from a furnace or clothes dryer can also amplify the smell coming from the litter box, which isn’t good for you or your cat!
The best spots:
#1 – Low-traffic areas with good visibility
A quiet corner of any of the larger rooms in your house may work best. You’ll want a clean, quiet place away from loud appliances and your cat’s food and water. The more your cat can see around them, the more comfortable they will be.
#2 – Multiple, varied locations
The more options your kitty has to choose from, the more likely they are to find a litter box and location that suits their needs, reducing the chances of them eliminating in an inappropriate spot. You can use this method to determine what sorts of boxes and litter your cat prefers as well as choosing the best locations. Just don’t change too many things at once!
There are many health problems that can cause cats to avoid using their litter box, so if your cat starts going elsewhere, your first trip should be to the vet. Only after health issues have been ruled out should you start experimenting with boxes, litters, and box locations.