My Kitten Refuses to Use the Litter Box.

Updated on October 20, 2010
D.S. asks from Arlington, WA
12 answers

Ive had my 10wk kitten for a little over a week now and he just will not use his litter box. Whenever it seems as though he has to relieve himself ill gently put him his litter box and wait for him to use it. Sometimes he will go in there but usually He immediately jumps out and runs to the other places where he has gone before. We have scrubbed those corners to rid of the scent of urine and poop but he goes there anyway. We have tried foil in those places but he just plays with it and we have tried bigger litter boxes. We have also tried leavin him in the bthrm with his litter box but he will go behind the toilet or in the corners. He has just recently started urinating on our dirty clothes that are in a basket...whenever he poops on the floor we have tried putting it in his litter box to get the scent in there and fimiliarize the litter box with the bthrm. That also has not worked. I dont know what else to try and I dont want to give him away but we cant have this sort of behavior on our apartment. Any suggestions?

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So What Happened?

Thank all of you for awesome suggestions! I really appreciate all your time and help. I got a bigger litter box, I had natures miracle from the start. Love the stuff! And finally changed litter. He got a little bit more interested in the litter box after that but still refused. Some one suggested at a pet store to try cat nip. I was skeptical because the idea of the kitten possibly ingesting the litter or playing in his waste worried me a bit. Finally I decided to try it but made sure he was supervised. I sprinkled a small amount in his litter and sure enough he jumped right in dug around and used it! He hasnt stopped using the box sense and its been a huge weight off my back. Im pregnant and did not like risking mine or babies health with cat urine and feces contaminating my apartment. Especially when doctors make such a big deal of it! Im a sucker for all animals though. Once again, thank all of you for your help! Im sure changing from scented to unscented made a huge difference and helped make this easier!

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answers from Chattanooga on

Try putting the litter box on the spot he uses the bathroom... Then try moving the box when he gets used to it. I also recommend changing the litter.

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answers from Joplin on

It may be they type of litter you are using, I think I remember that you are not supposed to use a clay based litter when they are under a certain age...also put the litter box directly where he has been going until he gets the hang of the box...also if you are using normal cleansers it will not remove it, just because you cannot smell it does not mean your cat can' will have to buy a special cleaner from most likely a chain store like Petsmart that breaks down the enzymes. This is not a behavior issue...cats do not urinate and void their bowels out of disrespect or anger....he could have a UTI.

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answers from Sherman on

change the litter that you are using. Go to something without all the scents.It should be cheaper too. Something about the litter is what is keeping him out of the box. He should go to it naturally,you should not have to place him in it.


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answers from Boise on

get some feliway, and put his food dish ( you may need multiple ones) in the places he goes to the bathroom. You can also keep him in a kennel and see if that encourages him to have a bathroom spot.

Have you tried other litters? maybe he doesn't like that kind or isn't used to it? can you find out what he used before you got him? maybe the pellet kind, or just sand?

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answers from State College on

Lots of good responses. Did he use the litter box before you got him? Check and see what kind of litter he had there and try that. Also make sure the places you are cleaning you are using an enzyme cleaner, such as Nature's miracle, to remove all traces. Some cleaners will seem clean to humans, but not to the cats. There is also a product called cat attract that works for many cats to attract them to their litter box. If he keeps having trouble, you may also want to have him checked out if he hasn't already been just to be on the safe side.

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answers from Cincinnati on

Everyone's suggestions are good. I'll just ask whether you had your kitten declawed? Declawing a cat can turn them off of litterboxes because they don't like the way the grains feel on their paws. If this is the case, trying lining the litterbox with newspapers instead of litter. This may help. If it's not the case, I hope you are able to figure things out! You might try the Cat Behavior Hotline, which is a free hotline to help cat owners answer behavioral questions in an effort to keep more cats in their homes. This is this website: Good luck!

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answers from New York on

Try a different type of litter, he may not like the one u are using now. Also soak and scrub the areas he has peed or pooped in with straight white vinegar. Another trick is to buy those cheap plastic placemats from someplace like the dollar store and put them where he has been going. That worked wonders with my cat. Good luck!!!



answers from New York on

I was going to respond, but everyone's given great suggestions. Changing the litter is the way I'd go.



answers from Buffalo on

you have spme good responses already!
I'm a vet tech at a "cat only" animal hospital and this is a big problem!

the very first thing you should do is take the kitten to his vet and get him checked for a UTI or crystals in his urine. Both are very common (and usually closely related to the food he eats) and very easy to find with just a urinalysis. If it is a medical thing, leaving it alone too long can be very dangerous in male cats - they can get urinary obstructions from both UTI or crystals and that can be very fatal very quickly if it happens! It usually happens to cats from 2-4 years old, but i have seen kittens have crystals too!

If its not a medical problem, adding more litterpans, trying different kinds of litter, cleaning with an enzyme cleaner since a cat's sense of smell is so much stronger than ours (we love one called Anti-Icky Poo), using Feliway in the area (a synthetic pheremone that works great for some cats and their stress/behavioral issues)

Good luck! Hope you can all enjoy eachother more soon!


answers from New York on

That is what I was going to say.... change the brand of litter that you are using. Some cats are picky and don't like the way it feels on their paws. As for when he goes in corners.... try to get a neutralizer to get rid of the smell. You may not smell it but he can and will continue to go to that corner. Also you may want to try getting those plastic runners and put the tab side up. He will not like it on his paws and will stay out of that corner. Also a good hint for someone reading this is to put pine cones in an area that you don't want cats in. They hate it on their paws.
I had the same problem with my older cat. He was peeing under my computer desk. I used a capet machine to get out what I could and then purchased a neutralizer and saturated the carpet so that it went down to the bare floor. It took almost 2 weeks for it to dry but I haven't noticed him under there peeing. I also read that you shouldn't yell at the cat or rub his nose in the accident cause that will make the cat afraid of you and will do it that much more or find another place to go. It may take time but you need to be patient. He is in a new home and things are very scary to him. If it still persists take him to the vet and get him checked. If you got him from a pet store then they have to pay for any medications that he will need. They won't pay for the office visit but they have to reimberse you for any medications. I don't know if that holds true for a shelter. Check with your vet on that one. Good Luck!!!



answers from Dallas on

Try a new litter. With a kitten you need to use the non-clumping liiter until they are 1 year old. Try the unsented litter. Have your kitty checked for an infection by the vet. try spraying the area that he pee in before with no more marking spray. you can get it at the pet store.



answers from New York on

i work for an animal shelter and this is the number 1 problem people have with cats. first get him checked out for a urinary tract infection as that can cause them to go outside the litter box. everyone's suggestion on changing litter is great. he may not like the one you are using. i prefer the worlds best litter (made of corn). its expensive but all natural and have had no issues with it. definitely clean the area with a neutralizer.....try nature's miracle. petco and petsmart both sell it and others. try moving the litter box to the spot he's going. or put a water bowl there instead. he shouldn't want to pee where he drinks. we do recommend locking them in a small room with a litter box for up to a week to get them back to being litter box trained. maybe you can block behind the toilet somehow so he can't get back there? at ten weeks he's still little. maybe the shelter you got him at could loan you a small dog crate. keep him in there with his box, a bed and food/water for a week and see if that helps. good luck!

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