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How to Retrain a Cat that has Stopped Using the Litter Box

Updated on March 2, 2013
Orginal box
Orginal box
Niko's Private Potty
Niko's Private Potty

Cat Psychology-My Litter-Box Solution

I never thought about animal psychology. I have seen animal trainers on television who appear to or claim to be able to watch an animal’s behavior and figure out what is bothering a pet.

I have two cats with completely different personalities. Any owner with more than one cat or dog will probably tell you the same thing. One cat is the youngest, but very outgoing and very dominant. The other cat is the living picture of a cat that is scared of her own shadow. She likes us on her own terms.

She has always liked being in our house where things are quiet, although she does like to go outside and explore on a limited basis. Most of her life she has hidden from strangers. Her name is Niko and she is my problem cat.

How did the problem start?

When she was younger she would occasionally leave a “present – a bathroom accident” in a corner on a hardwood floor. This usually happened when something different happened at our house. It was usually only once or twice a year. We cleaned it up with pet odor eliminator to keep the odor from drawing her back to the same spot.

In the past year, she has decided that going right outside the box was the thing to do. It was never urine, and thank goodness it was on a plastic cover with puppy pads, so it didn’t destroy anything. But with no litter to cover up the mess, the smell was very evident immediately in the room.

It’s always a good idea to check the cat out with the Vet to eliminate physical problems.

We had her checked out at the vet and there didn’t appear to be any medical reason for this to happen. What would we do? I noticed that when someone walked into the room when she used the “bathroom,” or for that matter when we walked in on her eating, it would upset her.

I did look on the Net to see if anyone had an answer for this problem, and the advice didn’t seem to be related our situation. She didn’t need to be retrained because she didn't urinate out of the box which appears to be the source of similar problems. There is rarely anything different in our house which most Sites indicated would produce a problem similar to this one. I found no situation exactly like this one.

What would motivate the problem with her using or not using the litter box? I decided she was shy. Of course, everyone else in the house thought I was crazy. I decided to think like a shy cat. What would give her privacy and yet give her some wiggle room as she is long and lanky.

My solution

I decided to use something we already had. We had a large, cloth travel carrier that is advertised mainly for dogs. We had purchased this to make a long trip with the cats. They could both fit into this box and it had mesh windows, a window made of mesh at the top which could be zipped open and closed, and a door that zipped closed.

I set up the carrier, opened the top, and pulled the door open to a permanent open position. I placed a litter box inside. So far, so good. We have yet to an accident.

The other cat was perfectly happy with her litter box, so I kept the original box for her.

We have had more success with this than anything we have ever used. This is going on three weeks. I just hope that it doesn’t start over again. It gives her privacy, she does her business, but she can look out and see what is going on in the room.

Has anyone experienced this type of problems or had success with other ideas? I know we are not the only people with this problem, but for now we have solved the problem.


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    • profile image

      Ky Cardinal 4 years ago

      Thanks for your feedback. So far it has worked very well. There haven't been any accidents yet. I can't explained why, and this may not work for others. I guess cats are like kids. They all have their own personalities for owners to consider.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Very good idea. Glad it is working for you. We only have male cats and have not had that problem. Voted up on your hub.