Is Your Cat Avoiding the Litter Box?

Has your cat shunned her litter box, choosing instead to eliminate on your floors and make a mess? About one in 10 cats develop a litter-box aversion at one point or another! There could be several reasons for this—learn more below from a Michigan City, IN veterinarian.


A dirty litter box is the number one reason that cats choose not to use their bathroom. Our feline friends are fairly picky about the cleanliness of their boxes! If you don’t clean your cat’s waste out often enough, she may avoid the box entirely. Scoop out waste daily, and change all the litter about once a week or so. This will ensure that things remain fresh.


Where you put your cat’s litter box is very important. First of all, she must be able to access it at all times—make sure a screen door, sliding door, or any other physical obstacle doesn’t block her path. It’s also important to put the box in a quiet, low-key location so she won’t be disturbed. Another good rule of thumb is to place it far away from food and water dishes; like you, your cat doesn’t like to use the bathroom near her dining area!

Litter Type

There is a wide variety of litter types out there, and different cats like different kinds. It might be necessary to experiment a bit with clumping and non-clumping litters, scented and non-scented versions, different granule sizes, etc. Try asking your veterinarian for a recommendation on a great quality litter that your cat might like.


Negative conditioning can occur if your cat was startled early on in life while using a litter box; she might associate litter boxes with bad things, making her wary of using them now. In these cases, you may require the help of a professional animal trainer. Call your vet’s office if you think your cat might have experienced a negative conditioning scenario.

Health Issues

Arthritis could make it painful for some cats to get up into the litter box. Infection, disease, and a host of other health issues could cause incontinence, meaning your cat doesn’t have time to get to her box before eliminating. Have your cat examined at the vet’s office if you can’t find the cause of her litter-box aversion—a health problem might be to blame!

Make an appointment at your Michigan City, IN vet clinic today.

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