ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why is My Cat Avoiding the Litter Box?

Updated on February 4, 2015

Litter Box Aversion

Many cat owners struggle with the problem of their cat not using the litter box. After much hair pulling (yours, not the cat's), trips to the vet, examining your cats behavior and still being clueless, it's time to look at the litter box. If your cat is dissatisfied with his box then he will act out, in a most frustrating manner. Keeping a tidy litter box with unscented litter in a quiet area may alleviate your problem. We will look at different litter box options so you can have a happy, healthy cat.

photo credit: lazy_lobster

litter box problem
litter box problem

Avoiding the Litter Box - Is the Litter Box the Problem?

Most litter boxes made for cats are too small. You have an area slightly larger than the cat and he's supposed to do his business in there. Think about trying to use a bathroom that was only slightly larger than you are. You wouldn't want to use it either. Most cats outgrow their litter boxes by the time they reach adulthood. The larger the litter box, the better. Cats like privacy and space and this is especially true when they need to use the potty. I like the large storage containers you can buy at most retail stores. The plastic ones you put under your bed make great litter boxes. They are large and easy to clean. You can also buy extra large litter pans made especially for this purpose.

Covered litter boxes are not recommended. Some cats find them too containing and will avoid using them. Cats really hate being shut up anywhere and this could create a panic response leading to avoiding the litter box altogether. The last thing you want is for your cat to be scared or intimidated by his box. Covered litter boxes may be atheistically pleasing to your eye but it does nothing for the cat. Remember, this is about your cat's comfort so give him all the space he needs. It will save your home from his inappropriate urination. Keep the litter box in a quiet, secluded area so as to give your cat all the privacy he desires. The general rule of thumb in homes with multiple cats are one extra box for each cat. I have three cats and five litter boxes. They are cheap to buy and easy to maintain.

What about automatic litter boxes? I have no experience with them so I can't give a thorough review. I do know that they are expensive and it would be unfortunate to buy one only to have your cat avoid it. These boxes are most beneficial for those people who put off daily cleaning. Automatic litter boxes will make sure the cat has a clean litter box.

litter problem?
litter problem?

Litter Box Problem - Is It the Litter?

Your cat's litter box is the one of the most important parts of his health. If he is unhappy with it, he may stop using his box altogether and begin peeing in your house. To fix this annoying problem, try looking at it from your cat's point of view. He may be unhappy with the litter itself. Most cats prefer unscented clay litter. The scoopable kind is the easiest for clean-up.

If your cat has been declawed, his paws will be extra sensitive and the rough clay may cause him pain. Switching to a softer litter will help. You can use cut up newspaper or a non-clay litter brand such as Feline Pine. This brand of litter does have a strong pine scent. If your cat is sensitive to strong smells, you may want to avoid it. A cats sense of smell is much stronger than ours, so keep that in mind. Obviously, if the litter box is dirty, your cat will not want to use it. Many people hate cleaning the litter box but if you do it every day, it only takes a few minutes. A clean litter box means a happy cat.

What Type of Litter Box Does Your Cat Prefer?

Submit a Comment

  • catspyjamas profile image

    catspyjamas 3 years ago

    Have you tried putting the litter box where he has been urinating? I would also praise and pet him whenever he does use the box properly. It lets him know you are pleased with him.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    My cat seems to avoid the old litter box these days and have used the new one to poop in only for the past week. I've tried everything to get him in, while he worked past it or stops in front of it.I've even relocated it to the kitchen floor, since a neighbor mentioned the idea to me today. Voted up for useful? Any ideas?

  • catspyjamas profile image

    catspyjamas 4 years ago

    @Addy Bell: Yes, I agree.

  • Addy Bell profile image

    Addy Bell 4 years ago

    My cats prefer a basic, uncovered box with unscented clumping clay litter.

  • Addy Bell profile image

    Addy Bell 5 years ago

    @anonymous: My previous cats were indoor/outdoor, and while they still used the box, they used it *much* less than my current indoor-only cats. My guess is that your cat prefers to go outside where she can bury her business properly. The potential problem here is that the, er, contents of the littler box can provide important clues to your cats health. You may miss these signs if she doesn't use the box at all.

  • catspyjamas profile image

    catspyjamas 5 years ago

    @anonymous: Very true. Plus, some cats don't like the enclosed boxes and that can cause problems.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    I also don't use a covered litter box, because it's important as my cats' primary health care giver that I know what is happening in their litter & if it smells to me, it smells for them!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    My cat is an indoor cat. Recently we began letting her out at night because of her crying during the night. We bring her back in early the next morning. Since we started this she doesn't use the litterbox at all during the day. Is this normal? What to do?

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    I have a two year old cat and she has stopped using her litter box.

    She does a poo by the front door and is peeing behind the tv.

    She is an indoor cat as she is allergic to some foods. I have tried loads of things and have even bought the fellaway plug in and it hasn't helped. please help me.

  • Snowsprite profile image

    Fay 5 years ago from Cornwall, UK

    It would never have occurred to me to use something other than a made litter-box. My cat is super fussy and when I first got her wouldn't go in her box if it had been used even once which meant she ended up slightly bunged up. So I use a scented box or I am running ragged changing the litter several times a day. Also she didn't like wood litter which I used as more environmentally friendly. I think a larger area might suit her too. Thanks for a great lens very helpful.

  • profile image

    MissCat 6 years ago

    As far as litter goes there is one called 'Cat Attract' you may want to look into. It literally attracts the cat to use the box. My cat was so excited about it he used it several times in one day, just went in there instead of holding it at all.

    Feliway spray, which is basically kitty prosaic (safe and doesn't need a dr. Rx), can help them calm their nerves if it's a psychological reason: i.e. a move, a new animal, a new person, a new box, etc. There is a spray you can use, but there is also a plugin that lasts a month that you put in the room they are in the most, though they also suggest one for the room that upsets them most.

  • profile image

    anonymous 6 years ago

    I have a cat,too. She never pees at home maybe due to our train from the very beginning. I once bought a litter box from an eBay store. It's large enough for her. Maybe you can try it. Here is the link.

    Anyway, thank you for your information about cats. I will keep readng on.

  • ColorPetGifts profile image

    ColorPetGifts 7 years ago

    I had no idea cats could outgrow their litter boxes and then not want to use them. Excellent info, many thanks.

  • delia-delia profile image

    Delia 8 years ago

    very informative lens...5*...I taught my feral cat to go in a box of sand in no time, I took her paws and made the pawing motion and she knew...

  • WildFacesGallery profile image

    Mona 8 years ago from Iowa

    We use a covered large size box for my gallery cat. As to the litter we like fresh results which is an all natural lightly pine scented. I think it made from corn cobs or something.

    You've provided some good information here.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)