My Cat Won’t Use The Litter Box

In this article, guest contributor Molly Brown shares her tips on cat training. 

Our feline friends avoiding the litter box or inappropriately using it can become a headache for us owners. There are various reasons this may be happening, and several effective solutions to try.


If you have tried every possible solution and are concerned in any way that this signalling a more serious problem, it is important to schedule an appointment with your vets. They will be able to rule out Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease among other disorders or illnesses that could be causing issues.

However, if you believe the reason is something more innocent, here are a few solutions below.

Cleanliness of your litter box

This is a common reason for our furry friends to avoid the litter box. If it smells bad to you, the chances are it smells a thousand times worse for your cats’ sensitive nose. A dirty litter box can also make your cat feel vulnerable, as in the wild predators are located by scent.

This is an easy problem to rectify. Make sure that you are cleaning the box often (scooping out soiled litter daily and scrubbing the box with warm soapy water weekly). Ultimately, the cleaning frequency will be determined by the number of cats you own, and the sensitivity of them. More sensitive cats may also prefer odourless products for the area.

Location of your litter box

The location is vital to ensuring that your cat feels comfortable using the litter box. If it is too close to their food or water, it may be avoided as they generally do not enjoy eating and eliminating in the same area. It could also be that the box is not accessible enough, so moving your litter box to an easily accessible space is imperative.

Replacing the litter box

Fussier cats may not use a litter box if the shape or size does not suit them. Hooded litter boxes can be unpopular with many cats as they may feel trapped. Larger cats will also need a bigger litter box, so they can comfortably fit. Generally, it is recommended that the litter box be 1.5 times the size of your feline.


Routine and environment are extremely important to our kitties, and you may find that big changes to your house or moving to a new house can temporarily cause your cat to stop using the litter box. This may take some time to get back to normal.

Having a companion for your cat can prevent them from becoming lonely and displaying these emotional behaviours. However, do not overcrowd the space. Think about how many cats are suited to the size of your space, as otherwise territorial problems can arise.

What not to do

First and foremost, remain patient with your pets. Punishing them for eliminating outside of their litter box will not solve the problem, but could cause them to fear you, or increase levels of stress.

Your cat’s behaviour is likely to give you a clue when something is wrong, and watching out for the signs can ensure that your furry friends remain happy in your care.

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Work, family and social commitments mean that there often aren’t enough hours in the day to give our pets the attention that they deserve. Click here to find out how Tailster can put you in contact with hundreds of pet carers in your local area, meaning that you can rest in the knowledge that your pets are being well looked after.

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