Why a Cat Won't Use the Litter Box - Tips on Why a Cat Won't Use the Litter Box Video
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Video:Why Won't Cat Use Litterbox?

with Maureen Ricksgers

Learn why a cat won't use the litter box so that you can help your pet with any medical issues if necessary. Here are some tips on why a cat won't use the litter box.See Transcript

Transcript:Why Won't Cat Use Litterbox?

Hi, I'm Dr. Maureen Ricksgers for About.com, and today we're going to discuss why won't my cat use the letterbox?

Consult a Vet to Determine Why a Cat Won't Use the Litter Box

If your cat stops using the litter box, the first thing you need to do is bring it to a veterinarian right away. You need to determine whether or not this is a medical condition, or if it is something behavioral that has made the cat stop using its box. Some of the reasons for urinating outside of the box might be a urinary tract infection, a bladder stone, or any other problem with the urinary tract.

If the cat is having stool outside of the litter box, sometimes that is a problem that may have developed with constipation, or perhaps diarrhea. But after your cat has been checked out by the veterinarian, and no known problem has been discerned, then we would make the assumption that there is something wrong behaviorally with the cat and need to look into that.

Change the Litter Box to Determine Why a Cat Won't Use the Litter Box

Some of the things that cats like about litter boxes are a big litter box, preferably one that has no cover, no liners, no scented litter, not too much litter -- about 1 1/2 to 2 inches is all they usually like. The box has to be in a place that is very accessible to the cat -- a quiet place, away from a lot of the hustle and bustle of family. If you find that you have changed the litter in any way, or purchased a new brand or a different type of litter, sometimes that's enough for the cat to decide to go somewhere else.

You might want to look at where the cat is choosing to urinate or have stool. For example, if you find that the cat is urinating on flat tile, or in the bathtub, or on carpet, soft clothing -- you may be able to mimic that in your choice of litter. Cats that like to pee on tile may only want to have just a cupful of litter in their litter box so that they can still feel that smooth surface of an empty litter box. A good rule of thumb is to have at least one litter box for every cat in your household, and if this is not possible, then have as many as you can.

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