Litter-ally frustrated? Troubleshoot typical cat litter box problems

Experts say around 10% of all cats experience inappropriate elimination. (If it's any consolation, at least you're not alone! ūüėÖ) Experts also say litter box issues drive pet parents up the wall. Clearly, house-soiling habits must be fixed.

Troubleshooting litter box aversion

Before anything else, let's "paws" and reflect on reasons felines shun their litter boxes‚ÄĒand how to restore harmony to your home.

Does your kitty have an undiagnosed medical condition?

Various health problems can result in feline inappropriate elimination. These range from stress and orthopaedic pain (e.g. arthritis) to infections and potentially life-threatening conditions.

ūüí° Solution: Any time you observe changes to voiding/bowel movements, take your pet to the vet. No, you're not overreacting! Vets can test for, diagnose, and treat (or rule out) medical causes behind house soiling.

Is your furball intact?

Long story short, cats that haven't been de-sexed are more likely to urinate inappropriately. It's part of their reproductive behaviour. ūüė¨

ūüí° Solution: Consult your vet about the pros and cons of neutering/spaying your fur baby.

Are your cats fighting over resources?

Cats are territorial creatures and selectively social. That means they're solitary by nature and not keen on sharing things like litter boxes. Plus, some kitties hate peeing and pooing in the same box. And you thought you were high maintenance... ūüėú

ūüí° Solution: Have one litter box plus an extra (n+1) for every cat in the family.

Are you using scented kitty litter?

Many fragrances are disliked, harmful, or associated with danger to cats. These include human favourites like lavender, citrus, and eucalyptus. Scents are also 14 times more intense for our feline friends. In other words, while perfumed litter may be pleasant to you, it's overwhelming (and a potential hazard warning) to cats.

ūüí° Solution: Switch to unscented litter. Your cat will thank you.

Is litter box placement the problem?

Privacy. Comfort. Safety. Cats have non-negotiable toilet-related priorities. When pet parents fail to provide those basics, felines find other, better-suited alternatives. Like potted plants, the carpet, or your freshly made bed. ūüôÉ

ūüí° Solution: Try other spots around the home. Cats appreciate:

  • Spaced-out litter boxes, away from food/water bowls.
  • Quiet, low-traffic areas, far from appliances, drafts, dogs, and kids.
  • Easy-to-access boxes with obvious escape routes‚ÄĒon every floor!

Have you cleaned the litter box?

Cats have over 200 million scent sensors. Their sense of smell is out there! So, if you think cat waste stinks, it smells way worse to Ms Whiskers. That's why dirty litter boxes get rejected. Well, that and cats are ~legendary~ for being clean freaks.

ūüí° Solution: Implement a regular and rigorous cleaning routine.

  • Scoop solid waste at least 1-2x daily.
  • Replace kitty litter at least 1x weekly.
  • Deep clean the litter box every other week. You‚Äôll need this 3-in-1 cleaner and disinfectant to meet your furry friend‚Äôs exacting standards. ūüėŹ

Is the box the problem?

Alternatively, something about the box could be bothering your furry friend. For example:

  • The opening is too small; it's hard to get in.
  • Your cat has outgrown the box. (It's cramped inside!)
  • The hood makes her feel trapped. Or the lack of a cover makes her feel exposed.
  • Walled boxes can require some serious acrobatics to get into.
  • You use liners for clean-up convenience, but your furball finds them annoying.

ūüí° Solution: Aesthetics don't matter to your cat. Focus on comfort, convenience, and perceived safety.

Could your cat be scent marking?

Urine marking behaviour is another reason cats go outside the litter box. This is possibly the most frustrating habit because it involves small but impossible-to-ignore quantities of pee‚ÄĒoften sprayed‚ÄĒin varied places.

Psst...! You might want to check your toaster, clothes hamper, and thick blackout curtains for urine.

ūüí° Solution: Try these two things:

  1. Eliminate hot spots using PetLab’s E.N. Zyme Odour & Stain Remover only! Avoid ammonia, bleach, and DIY cleaning products. They will worsen the problem.
  2. Limit your pet’s view of stray or neighbourhood animals. Their presence can be stressful and (urine) triggering.

Last but certainly not least, change may be the only constant‚ÄĒbut your cat did NOT get that memo. ūüėĚ So, when you discover your cat's preferences and products that work, stick with them! Everyone will be happier.


Get Our

15-Minute Speed Cleaning Routine For Pet Parents


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published