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Help! My Cat is Avoiding His Litter Box! Possible NON-MEDICAL Reasons Why!

Updated on January 25, 2010
Don't be mad! I promise to use the litter box next time!
Don't be mad! I promise to use the litter box next time!

I know it can be disturbing when precious little Fluffy all of a sudden starts pooping and peeing outside of his litter box. There are, however, many possible reasons as to why your cat has all of a sudden taken to pooping inside of your tennis shoes rather than in his own cat toilet. This HUB will explore all of the NON-MEDICAL reasons as to why this behavior may be suddenly occurring.

Location, Location, Location!

First of all, as they say in the real estate business, location is everything! Cats can often be creatures of habit. If you move their litter box to an undesirable location, they may rebel and begin to eliminate elsewhere. If, for some reason, you do need to change the location of your cat's litter box, make sure that the new location is private and quiet. Also, though cats have a very strong sense of smell, it is important that you show him the new location. A few gentle daily reminders can't hurt either.

Keep it Clean!

You don't like a dirty toilet and neither does your cat! Cats will often avoid litter boxes that become too dirty and or smelly. It is important that you scoop the poop on a daily basis and about once per month give his box a complete and thorough cleaning. If you have more than one cat it is important that you have more than one box!

I'm Stressed Out! 

When a cat is ill, they often avoid their litter box. Same goes for when a cat is stressed out and or anxious. There are many different reasons as to why cats become stressed. Recent changes in the household including the addition of a new pet or child are great examples. If you can figure out what is stressing out your feline, great! It is easier to solve a problem if you know the cause! Possible ways to reduce stress include creating a "safe haven" or "safe room" for your cat (after all, we all need a place to escape!), provide entertainment for your cat in the way of toys, buy a cat tree or perch so your cat can relax while gazing out a window, discourage outdoor, neighborhood cats from approaching your front door (I know this may be difficult…so do your best!), and finally, use a synthetic cat approved pheromone product (these can have wonderful, calming effects!). Comfort Zone calming spray is a great pheromone spray that has been proven to calm stressed cats…so it might be worth a try! It is also safe to use on furniture and upholstery and walls.

What in the World is THIS?

As I mentioned before, cats are creatures of habit. They can adjust to change but it often takes time. If, for some reason, you must change the cat litter that your feline has grown accustomed to it is important that you do so SLOWLY! Each time you scoop your cat's litter box, add a small amount of the new litter in with the old. Eventually, you can wean out the old litter all together. If your cat likes unscented litter, it is best to stick with what he likes best. Many cats rebel against strong, floral scented litters. Though YOU may like the scent of lilacs…your cat may not!

Though automatic cat litter boxes are wonderful, be prepared to allow some time for your cat to adjust to their new "automatic toilet!" Many automatic cat litter boxes make noise and this may alarm your cat at first. Eventually, your cat should adjust. If not, well, you will have one very expensive cat toilet sitting in your basement storage area. Oh, while I'm on the topic, automatic cat litter boxes are not good for kittens! If you have a kitten, it is best to start off with a regular litter box!


At one point or another your cat WILL eliminate outside of his litter box. Sorry, but it's true! If your cat does poop, "outside of the box" do not worry as there is probably a simple explanation. Once you rule out medical problems it is generally quite easy to figure out the issue. Good luck and may your cat always think (and poop) inside the box! Meow!

If you are interested in reading more about kittens, please visit the Kitten Care Guide. There you will find a variety of information about caring for your beloved kitten! Or...if you wish, check out some of my other cat related HUB Pages! Thanks!

Signs that your cat is getting old

The Beautiful Ragdoll Cat

Cat Myths

Cat Fences - Keep your cat safe outside

Cats and Ear Mites - A common yet annoying medical condition


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