Litter Box

If you’re having problems with your cat using the litter box, there are reasons this could be happening. Read this article by Lisa Pierson to learn about the top reasons this happens and how to fix it.


Urinating and defecating outside of the litter box, also known as “inappropriate elimination,” is one of the most common reasons for a cat to be relinquished to a shelter or, in some cases, abused.  Sadly, in most cases it is the fault of the human in charge of the litter box duties making this an ‘appropriate elimination’ issue because who would want to walk in their own urine and feces?

The “fault” usually involves a dirty box or one that is too small and it is perfectly ‘appropriate’ for a cat to seek out a cleaner place to do his or her elimination.  Wouldn’t you consider doing the same thing if you were not offered a clean bathroom?

Punishing these cats is not only inhumane but is ineffective and will often make things worse.

When someone is asked how often they flush their toilet, the answer is usually, “every time it is used, of course!”   We all know how repulsive ‘porta-potties’ are and we are not even asked to walk around in our own waste like humans often ask of their cats!

So why do we expect our cats to use dirty litter boxes instead of just going some place else?

Humans seem to forget that a cat’s sense of smell is infinitely more sensitive than our own.  Add to this the instinctive nature of the cat to be clean and it is easy to see how a dirty litter box often spells disaster.

Think about how a wild cat would handle his bathroom duties.  He would not be confined to a 1’ x 2’ ‘bathroom.’ He would not choose to walk around in his own waste.  He would simply choose another plot of land and that “plot of land” could be behind your sofa or in another area of your home.

Here are the top reasons that your cat is no longer using their litter boxes:

  • Dirty litter box(es)
  • Poor choice of litter form (using pellets/crystals/non-clumping litter which are uncomfortable to walk on and do not allow for complete urine removal)
  • Poor location of litter box(es)
  • Blocked from the box by a dominant feline housemate
  • Unable to relax and get to the box, or use it, due to fear of a strange human, dog, active child, loud noise, etc., in the house environment
  • Box size is too small
  • Too few boxes
  • Medical problem(s) -This should always be a serious consideration.

Read more at to learn about solutions to this problem.