Why Your Cat May Not be Using the Litter Box

Did you know that one out of every 10 cats will develop a litter box aversion at some point in their lives? There are various reasons why cats may stop using the box, and they’re usually fairly easy to rectify. Learn about the most common here from a Livonia vet.

Poor Location

Cats can be very picky about where their box is located. They want to use the bathroom in a quiet, low-traffic area; wouldn’t you? Put your cat’s box in a quiet basement room or back bedroom where they can do their business in peace. Also make sure the box is constantly accessible, without any doors that could swing shut and block your cat’s path.

Negative Conditioning

Cats can occasionally be conditioned negatively towards litter boxes—perhaps they were frightened by a loud noise while using a box, or terrorized by another pet when they were younger. These experiences can make some cats think all litter boxes are bad. Consult your vet for help; moving the box or getting a new one can help, but you might also require the help of a professional animal behaviorist.


Of course, many cats are particular about the litter they use. The varieties of litter are endless: scented and non-scented, clumping and non-clumping, clay-based, silicate-based, and much more! You may have to experiment a bit with your cat’s preferences before finding a litter she seems to like.


Who wants to go to the bathroom in an unclean, unsanitary place? Not your cat, that’s for sure! Make sure your cat’s litter box is consistently cleaned and cleared. Many times, this is all that’s needed for a cat to start using the box again. Set up a consistent schedule for cleaning your cat’s box so you know it’s in top shape every week.

Medical Reasons

Various medical issues could also be to blame for your cat’s litter box aversion. Kidney stones, UTIs, arthritis, and a host of other disorders could be the underlying cause, so take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything is wrong. Your Livonia veterinarian can examine your cat and set about giving proper treatment. In short order, your cat’s health and litter box practices will be back to normal!

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