So, Mrs.Fluffy is no longer using her litter box? This can be stressful for pet parents, but there could be a couple of different reasons for this. The solution can be as simple as cleaning the litter box more regularly or taking your cat to the vet to discuss the different potential health problems. This could be one of the many reasons why pet wellness plans and pet insurance plans are so valuable.
Here, we discuss the different reasons why our cats are not using their litter box and do’s and don’ts for helping them get back to a regular litter box routine.
Reasons For Litter Box Issues
Here are some of the top reasons why our cats might protest using their litter boxes:
Dirty Litter Box
While the litter box might seem clean enough to us, it might still be emitting bad odors for our cat. Felines have over 200 million odor-sensitive cells in their nose compared to human’s 5 million. This is why it is important to do a deep clean of the box every now and then. Dump all the litter, give the box a scrub, then fill with fresh litter.
If your cat is super sensitive you might consider cleaning the box twice a day and cleaning the box with soap and water weekly. Don’t use any harsh chemicals to clean the litter box as this could add to your cat’s distaste of the box. Clumping litter is usually also the best choice for the more sensitive kitties as it smells a bit less and requires less cleaning and maintenance of the litter box.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
If your cat is relieving themselves often, but in just small amounts (maybe all over the house) this can be a sign of a urinary tract infection. If you notice this new type of behavior, or if your cat seems in pain when they use the litter box it’s important to bring them to the vet.
This is one of the reasons cat insurance plans are so beneficial. If your vet recommends further testing and/or prescribes medication to your cat, you might be out of pocket. Cat wellness plans can help you reduce the risk of UTIs with regular urinalysis, while cat insurance plans can cover all the additional costs of getting your cat back to its healthy self.
If your cat has some sort of blockage, like a kidney stone, they might not be eliminating their urine the way they typically would. They could associate their litter box as a place of pain and move to relieve themselves elsewhere. You can usually tell if your cat has a kidney stone if they begin meowing when trying to urinate or if their abdomen is tender to the touch. Pet wellness plans include urinalysis which helps the vet discover kidney stones. Cat insurance plans will cover additional diagnostics, testing, and medication if required.
Allergic Or Doesn’t Like Litter
If you’ve recently switched litter for whatever reason and your cat is no longer using the litter box, they might not like the new litter. Try switching back to the original litter and see if your cat begins using the box again. If this is the case, slowly mix the two litters and gradually move to the new litter over time. Some cats don’t like litter that has too much scent. They might also be looking for a specific feeling between their pads. Most cats usually accept a litter with a sandy texture.
If you’re training a former outdoor cat to use a litter box they might not like the typical litter right away. Try using fresh dirt or sand, or similar materials to what they might have been used to in the wild or in the yard. After they begin using the litter box consistently you can begin introducing litter.
Resolving Litter Box Issues
If your cat is no longer using the litter box try the following tips. If they continue to not use the box, bring them to the vet for further evaluation.
- Move the litter box to a new location. Allow access to the box from all sides.
- Fill the litter box two inches deep with a fine, coarse litter that is unscented.
- Try playing with your cat near the litter box.
- For long-haired cats, try clipping the hair near their rear end to avoid it getting matted. Matted hair can be painful for them as the urine pulls at the hair when they try to relieve themselves.
- Rub your cat’s nose in urine or feces.
- Scold your cat and carry or drag her to the litter box.
- Confine your cat in a small room with the litter box (could attract your cat to the same spot to urinate again). Instead, use a product specifically for cleaning pet accidents.
At the end of the day, if your cat is showing any behavioral changes such as no longer using their litter box, there might be something more serious going on. Being equipped for the ‘expected’, with urinalysis testing, bloodwork, and fecal exams with a cat wellness plan that fits your budget. And for the ‘unexpected’ emergency vet visits, medication, diagnostics, and more with a cat insurance plan. Take Wagmo’s coverage quiz today to find the right plan for you and your cat.