Cat Not Using Litter Box and The Logic Behind It

cat not using litter box

There is an array of reasons behind cat not using litter box, and sometimes it can be a little tricky to understand the reason associated with it. A Litter box is a cat’s best friend as it caters to the daily needs of that cat, such as excretion and for peeing purposes. However, it is common for cats to start distancing themselves from their litter box. It is often the cause of dissatisfaction with the litter box in general, the number of boxes present, environmental changes on the indoor and outdoor atmosphere, or medically related conditions.

In circumstances like this, it is very common for us to scold them by yelling or forcefully placing them there. Still, instead, we should be doing the complete opposite of that and try to find a middle ground where we can better understand them. Punishments will also instill more fear and stress in them, and so it is never right to punish our felines when they portray behaviors like this. It is essential to observe and analyze your cat so that you can eradicate this behavior just by yourself and avoid a trip to the veterinary. However, the circumstances of the case may differ in a cat not using the litter box.

Why Is My Cat Suddenly Peeing Outside the Litter Box

A cat not using the litter box all of a sudden can be a problem, and there are numerous reasons behind it. Some of them are:

Medical Condition Being a Factor

Sometimes, it is not about the environmental changes or the preference for the litter box. Still, the issue is rooted within a medical condition that is making your cat act indifferent. Urinary tract infection or UTI is usually the cause of this issue in cats. Diabetic complications, arthritis, and kidney sickness could also be the problem behind all this mayhem. Senior cat not using the litter box is usually a cause of arthritis that prevents them from using it. It is often difficult for a senior cat when the litter box has high covers and sides. However, for the usual scenario, UTIs are often responsible for cats not using the litter box as a change in their state of well-being will also hinder their behavior. It is always essential to make a trip to the veterinary in cases like this to avoid further complications and behavioral problems.

A Very Grimy Litter Box

A litter box is of regular use to a cat just like human beings use their bathrooms. Sometimes it just might not be the case of medical attention but the cat’s experience with the litter box in general and how it is on the regular. If a litter box isn’t cleaned or replaced and kept for a prolonged period, then it is bound to smell and turn unhygienic. It will cause the cat to redirect its needs somewhere else. It is always advisable to get rid of the litter left by your cat throughout the day. Clean the litter box deeply every few weeks to avoid the development of any smell. Cats tend to have a stronger sense of smell in comparison to human beings, and what may seem like a little odor to you will be a strong foul smell to your cat. It is a whole different case when you have multiple cats at home because the litter box is exposed to different cats, which will require you to clean multiple times a day. It will also lead to cat peeing over the edge of the litter box.

Placement of a High Litter Box

Another important issue causing this havoc would be the placement or the positioning of the litter box. The box should be placed in a socially active place of the house and not in abandoned areas of the house. It is also not advisable to place the litter box in places such as the basement of the house as this can be a problem for senior cats who deal with eyesight issues that will cause them trouble to go down. The positioning of litter boxes in also noisy places such as the laundry room or other noisy areas will prevent them from using it. Felines are naturally secretive about what they do, and they need a quiet and safe place to do their business. Placing the litter box in the bathroom or even the hallway would be an excellent idea. This solution answers the question of “why is my cat peeing just outside the litter box.”

Preferential Treatment of Litter Type

There are different types of litter boxes in the market, and not every litter type will adhere to the interest or preference of your feline. You can make the litter box out of corncobs, clay, and newspapers that have been recycled. There are numerous litter boxes in the market, and pet owners need to understand that it isn’t always going to favor their cats. Young kittens tend to grow fond of the litter box used by their mother after 2-3 weeks. If you change the litter box for your kittens, it will lead to dissatisfaction among them. There will be added expense, but it is always best to try different litter boxes and get one that suits your feline the best. It will remove the issue of a cat not using the litter box. Partiality among them will result in the cat not using the litter box.

Owners with Multiple Felines

Another cause for your cat peeing in front of the litter box is from the sole reason for owning multiple cats at home. When cat owners keep multiple felines at home, it is natural for cats to establish their dominance. A bigger and stronger cat usually takes up the space in everything, which results in younger or smaller cats to withdraw from using anything. It can cause the timid cats to pee elsewhere or in front of the litter box. It is always smart to keep multiple litter boxes and also to reserve a space for your timid felines that have trouble using anything owned by the dominant cats. It is also advisable to avoid purchasing litter boxes that are covered and go for the ones with an open roof.

The Cause of Anxiety & Stress

Behavioral issues are always a factor in medical and environmental situations. Cats tend to mark their territory to ensure a sense of comfort and safety. Cats are vulnerable to stress and anxiety as much as human beings are. A feline with anxiety issues tends to pee wherever it feels safe because the smell of the urine of other cats tend to make it feel anxious and stressed. If they notice other cats in front of the yard, then it will start to get anxious and pee elsewhere as it creates a sense of fear in its mind. Cats tend to spray their urine and mark their area or territory. This mental sickness can be a cause of cat not using the litter box.

Why Does My Cat Poop Outside the Litter Box

Cats use the litter box for dumping wastes out of their body, but sometimes they tend to poop outside their litter box for various reasons. It is always advisable to study their behavior to understand the grievances of a cat suddenly pooping outside litter box and cat won’t use litter box tried everything cases. The reasons in a cat not using the litter box:

A Compact Litter Box

Growth is a natural part of animals and human beings. Cats will grow physically over time, and a small litter box will be a problem for them in the future. It is always essential to purchase a litter box that is 1 ½ size bigger than your feline’s body or just a generous size in general. Compact dimensions can be suffocating and will make the cat uncomfortable as the cat will be unable to satisfy himself or herself with enough litter to bury their wastes.

The Condition of Straining & Bodily Limitations

There are different types of cats with their personalities and health issues. It is very common in senior and disabled felines to have trouble accessing their litter box as a result of physical restrictions and pain. Senior cats are prone to diseases such as arthritis and pains in joints, which gives them a hard time climbing in and out of their boxes. The litter box might be deep or filled with excess litter, which makes it hard for the aging cats to assess it. Cat owners should keep the litter boxes to lower levels of their house to provide easy access to the older cats.

Aversion Towards the Litter Box

Cats are fussy animals by nature, and they are particular about what they want and what they dislike. It usually happens when you replace or add new changes to the environment. You may have started using liners made of plastic or may have casually added a new mat below the litter box. Any changes to the litter box can turn them off and grow an unappealing taste towards the litter box in general.

Locational Issues Being a Factor

Cats are very specific about the placement of their litter box. Cats aren’t fans of their litter box being positioned in the middle of the living room or abandoned places inside the house such as the basement. They do not want their litter box to be placed near their food and bed. Felines aren’t fans of noisy areas, and so it is best to place their litter box in appropriate proximity to a common area.

The problem of Having a Grubby Litter Box

Cats tend to stay away from litter boxes that are dirty and unhygienic as they possess smelling senses that are far stronger than human beings. It could differ from cat to cat, as some can tolerate dirt to a certain extent. However, some stingy cats prefer a pristine environment with the complete absence of grimy matter. It is always essential to clean the litter box multiple times a day or week, depending on the number of cats you have.

Intimidated by Another Cat

You may have a question over the cat keeps going to the litter box, but nothing happens issue. Well, there might be a ton of other reasons, but one major problem could be another one of your cats guarding and not letting go of the litter box. It could be a bigger and stronger cat that has established its dominance over the area. A Dog can also be the reason behind this issue, and so you should make sure to keep an eye on the situation.

There is Lack of Litter Boxes

This usually implies to cat owners who own multiple cats. It is always advisable to purchase and keep multiple litter boxes to cater to the need of every cat that you own. It is also smart to keep an extra litter box for unforeseen issues. If you have a house with numerous floors, then it is best to keep at least one litter box on every floor. Cat owners should always choose spots that are easily accessible instead of tucked away places.

The Preference of Your Cat

One of the most critical factors that contribute to the cat not using the litter box is associated with issues of preferential treatment. Cats are fussy animals, and they are particular about what they like and dislike. Cats are a fan of the litter with granules that have been grounded finely. Some cats also tend to sway away from products that are scented or is dusty.

A Past Medical Incident

Cats also tend to suffer from various diseases in their lifetime, such as UTIs, Diarrhoea, arthritis, constipation, etc. In cases of digestive sicknesses, they might have had an unfortunate incident with the sickness and the litter box combined. It could have created a past fear in them and started avoiding the litter box for good. It also leads to the cat not using the litter box.

Health Issue Being a Cause

Your cat might be suffering from any medical condition that makes her weak and less energized. In cases of fatigue or straining pain, the cat finds it difficult to perform any physical activity or even climb the litter box. This could be the issue surrounding the minimal or no use of the litter box. It is essential to schedule an appointment with your vet to further look into the issue before it escalates into something worse.

Other Common Problems Prevent Cats from Using the Litter Box

Some of these issues consist of medical and just the litter box in general.

  • It can be caused by metabolic complications like kidney problems and diabetic complications that increase the level of urine. It prevents the cat from reaching the litter box in time.
  • It is also a problem of having weaker bones and stamina as a result of arthritis, which does not permit the cat to enter the litter box, which is positioned up high.
  • FLUTD or Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease is usually the culprit in cats when they tend to sway away from litter boxes and pee elsewhere. It is a cause of cat not using the litter box.
  • The cat might have been exposed or met with some injuries that could have injured the paw resulting in having struggles entering the litter box. It leads to the cat not using the litter box.
  • Dementia in cats is another cause for the sudden aversion towards the litter box. This disease is prominent in senior cats, which makes them forget about the litter box. Cognitive dysfunction is present in some cats that act as one of the root causes in the medical field.
  • Separation anxiety is another cause for this issue. However, with time your cat will get used to the new routine, but patience on your part is required.
  • When cat owners return home after they were out of station or on vacation, their cats tend to act differently because of the new scent the owner brings home. It can lead to behavioral changes for a while.
  • A cat who is used to the sedentary lifestyle can face some complications with the litter box, but that is very normal. It is crucial to play with your cat and expose it to some activities to kill the boredom. Toys can also do a great job of getting rid of the boredom.
  • Departure and arrival can be an issue, whether if it’s the household moving into a new home or the arrival of new pets in the house. These changes can be a problem but go away after some time.
  • One thing for sure is the preference of the cat. It is essential to understand that all cats have their likings in things and will prefer sticking with their belongings. Cats often do not appreciate change, and so the owner should stick with the standards of your cat.

Some of the Best Litter Boxes for Cats

The PetSafe Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box keeps your cat’s litter box fresh for over three weeks without smelling. It is the best overall pick according to us and is available for sale in Amazon.

The Pet Mate Arm & Hammer Sifting Litter Pan is an excellent choice for cat owners who are on a budget. It is a low-tech product which eliminates the need for electricity in cleaning. It is available for sale on Amazon.

The LitterMaid Automatic Multi-Cat Litter Box is an excellent choice for owners who have multiple cats at home. It is built in such a way that it can house multiple cats and also compatible with bigger cats. You can find it at Walmart.

The CatGenie Self Flushing Cat Box is best suited for large cats and can hold two bigger sized cats at one go or even three cats with average-sized bodies. It is available for sale on Amazon.

The PetSafe Self-Cleaning Covered Cat Litter Box is suited for cats who enjoy covered litter boxes. It is available for sale on Amazon.

The Litter-Robot is a great choice for cat owners as it possesses an excellent design and one of the best in the market. You can connect your cellular device to this litter box, which will help you monitor the product. It is available in Litter-Robot.

The Pet Zone Automatic Litter Box is an automatic machine that produces four times lesser noise than most of its competitors in the market. It is an excellent choice for you and your cat, who loves a peaceful setting. It is available for sale on Amazon.


A Litter box forms an integral part of a cat’s life, and every cat owner needs to own at least one or multiple boxes depending on the number of cats the owner has. During a cat’s lifetime, it is very common for the cat to face medical issues as well as behavioral. The owner should help his or her cat throughout the entire process to build and establish a better and healthier relationship with their cats. Cats may have a hard time peeing or sometimes pooping as a result of medical as well as environmental issues, but it is always smart as cat owners to take the matter into our own hands and find a solution to this problem without punishing your cat as punishments will only make things worse.

However, if the situation escalates and the matter gets worse, then it is best to approach your veterinary to help solve this issue. We should also remember to select the right litter box for our cats by taking into account the factors that might trigger the behavior of not using litter boxes. The preference of the cat in choosing the litter box is essential. It is also important to buy a bigger sized litter box and position the litter box in such a way that it is easily accessible. One important thing to keep in check is the cleanliness of the litter box and diffuse the smell when it gets grubby down in the litter.

As cat owners, Comprehension is the key. We should do the needful and observe and analyze our felines to better study them and understand the root cause of why they act the way that they do. Once, we have established that we create a sense of validation with our cats and understand the issue of a cat not using the litter box.