38 answers

Cat Refuses to Use Litter Box

I have had my cat for 4 years now, we aren't really sure how old she is exactly. We took her in as a stray. She has always been a very good cat, never bothered my baby's or thier bottles doesn't scratch on the walls and has always used the litter box. Until about a month ago that is. Nothing had changed she just stopped using it. Now I have Scrubbed with soap and water, bought more expensive litter thinking it was dirty or she just didn't like the cheap stuff I have cleaned my carpets where she has used the restroom on them. nothing is working, has anyone else experienced this. How do I get her to stop pottying on the floor and use the litter box again? Any advice is appreciated thanks in advance

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My friend's cat was the same way. She took the cat to the vet who determined that the cat was sick. (Don't remember what it was). They put the cat on medication and started a vet recommended cat food. The food was more expensive but with the medication and the food the cat started to use the litter box again.

Take her to the vet asap. You should have them try to determine her age there too. I feel its important to know that. You can also buy disposable litter boxes at Target now. That's a great idea if the problem is funny smell. Cats are very particular. Did you know that smells hide in plastic? Cats hate that if they can still smell something that bothers them even though you have cleaned it.

Good Luck!

Take her to the vet! Suddenly stopping using the litter box is a BIG indicator that something is wrong - and probably treatable if caught early.

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I work in the veterinary field and am taking classes to get my vet tech degree. My first question is--is she spayed. I am assuming yes. I would go back to the old litter you were using before. Cats are so picky about everything. Like you said they won't use a dirty litter box, so clean it daily. Just use enough litter to cover the bottom of the box and dump it every day.(or scoop it 2-3 times a day and empty every other day) I am assuming you only have one cat. You should always have one more litter box than you have cats (1 cat, 2 litter boxes). Cats don't like some citris smells, so if you are cleaning with a citrus cleaner, that may set her off. She could possibly have a urinary tract infection. If this doens't clear up, she should be examined and have a urine sample checked. I would recommend, if this works out with your boys staying out of the boxes, put the litter box over where the cat is going on the floor now, gradually move the box like an inch over a couple days back to where you previously had it. Ideally she should go in the litter box in the spot she likes and then you can "retrain" her to keep uding the box in the previous spot. I hope this makes sense and works for you, if in doubt, I would get her to a vet. Some female cats have long term urinary problems if they start and aren't solved quickly. Good Luck!!!

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I would take her to the vet and have them see if there is a medical issue going on. Cats communicate with us the only way they know how. Kitty cannot use words so she does something to let you know "something's wrong".

If she is medically cleared by a vet then you could try products like "feliway". They offer and infuser and spray that have hormones and pharmones to help relax a stressed out cat. I haven't used them, but have talked to others who have and hear it works great.

Good luck. It is VERY stressfuly to have a kitty peeing in the house. I hope it is a simple UTI or something and with a round of antibiotics your troubles are gone.

I had a friend whose cat did this as well. He took it to the vet, received medicine - I assume for one of the issues mentioned before - and then for a period of time (when he was at work), he closed the cat in the room (bathroom) the litter box was in to insure the cat used the litter box, or at least if it didn't, it was on a tile floor & not the carpeted areas of his home. Good luck. Hopefully this bad habit will stop quickly.

Sorry to here that. I went through something similar a couple of months ago. When tidy cat introduced their tidy lock litter the particle size changed and the litter went from being softer sandy like material to larger clay like peices (not like the old fashioned type clay litter) and my cats hated it.

Don't use anything other than soap and water to clean out your litter box. A swish of vinager followed with a final rinse of water will deodorize the box. Cat's are extremely senative to smells and they will be turned off buy the chemical smells of harsher cleaners and may refuse to use the litter box as a result.

If nothing has changed, no new family members or new animals please take the cat to the vet. I had an older cat that started doing this and it turned out that something was seriously wrong with the cat. Usually it is a urinary or kidney infection. Hope this helps.

My friend's cat was the same way. She took the cat to the vet who determined that the cat was sick. (Don't remember what it was). They put the cat on medication and started a vet recommended cat food. The food was more expensive but with the medication and the food the cat started to use the litter box again.

Dear C.,

If the cat has been to the vet and there is nothing physically wrong, you have two stark choices. A non-housebroken pet isn't a pet but a problem. Choice one is to confine the cat to a very small space and only let her out to pet and play with. Choice two is to put her to sleep.

I had a friend who had two cats with that problem and he build them a multi-story cat cage. They lived the cage except when they were in the TV room being petted or outside when the weather was nice. He used to refer to them as the "Box Cats." He is getting ready to move and the Cat Cage is available for free (in Dayton, Ohio) if you have a place to set it up. It is too big to go in most houses unless you have a basement. I called and he said it is about 3' wide by 6' deep and 8'tall. It has shelves that they can climb and perch on. With a piece of vinyl on the floor it made it easy to clean. A cage doesn't have to be that elaborate or big to work.

God Bless,


I worked in the veterinary field for two years as a tech, and the first thing that came to mind is something medical. You really should take her to the vet. That is not normal and it is probally saying something. Such as a UTI, or maybe even diabetes(cats pee a LOT more with that). Or maybe for some reason she has started marking, and cleaning will not take care of the smell. I bet you even though you can't smell it anymore, she still can. If she is marking, it tends to be in the same couple spots. But there are special sprays out there(usually available through a vet), to use after you clean to neutralize odor. There are even pheramones(spelling) that you can use to assit. If she isn't spayed, there may be a male outside that she senses(their senses are strong) and this could also cause this behavior. Check it out and let us know.

This may sound crazy, but it may be a behavioral thing with your cat. I went through this with my cat too. He wouldn't use his litter box for a while. I contacted the vet, and she said it might be behavioral because a cat can sense when other cats are around and they too will mark their territory which in this case is around your house. Cats can sense other cats around even outside the other cat does not have to be around the house inside or out. The other cat could be a couple houses away, and if your cat senses it, she will start marking her territory. Also, there could be a health issue with her kidneys. If it continues, take her to the vet and have her examined. Good luck!


I am 31 and have been married for 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 11, almost 8 (Christmas day), and 4.

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