Cats are a very interesting species and are known to be one of the cleanest animals. It can be a serious source of concern when your cat suddenly stops using its litter box. This is a very tense and trying period for both the cat and the cat parent. While this can happen from time to time, it is important to rule out the common cause of why this can happen before sending the cat to a shelter. Try all tactics as there can be so many reasons. It can’t be narrowed down to just one reason. It a can be a mixture and all solution should be tried out before deciding to let go finally. Handling such an issue requires you looking at it from every angle possible. Here are five reasons why cats stop using the litter box:
Dirty Litter Box
Nobody likes doing their business in a dirty place. Cats are excessively clean animals and will look for an alternative if the litter box is dirty. After every use, the litter box should be cleaned as they have incredibly sensitive noses. And this leads to reason number two.
A cat’s scent receptors is very high and is known to have 67 million scent receptors. Humans have 5 million. Cats are very sensitive to smells and just a change in cleaning product used for their box can create an aversion towards it. The use of scents too can trigger this. Pools of urine can easily form at the base of the plastic creating an odor problem when using litter box liners. Remember that when doing their business, the cat’s nose will be very close to the litter. Take time to discover what works and what doesn’t even to the texture of the litter (soft, unscented, sand-like substrate etc.).
After been declawed, a cat’s paw may remain tender and sensitive for the rest of their lives. They may still feel discomfort even after the paw has healed. The litter texture could be harsh or irritating to the tender paw. This could also lead the cat to associate the litter box to pain and discomfort. Take note of this for a declawed cat. Even the litter box linen can also irritate the paws.
Sometimes, a medical issue can make a cat not to use its litter box because of the pain especially in the case of urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney problems. Sometimes, the cat is not able to make the littler box on time due to the discomfort and may even begin to associate the litter box to the pain as cats often do. When litter box problems arise, it is important to visit the vet to make sure there are no infections. Urinalysis should also be performed to rule such out and medical checkup should be prioritized before attempting any solution.
Cats need to be able to access their litter boxes and like their peace and quiet. Placing their boxes in busy areas around the house, or close to a washing machine for example or in some dark closet will create such an issue. If confronted by another animal while in the litter box, it can begin to avoid its litter box to steer clear of a showdown.
Solving a litter box problem requires ruling out reasons why your cat isn’t using the litter box. So make a list and keep ticking off until you get to the root of the problem.