11 Causes Why Cats Stop Using the Litter Box

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why cats stop using the litter box

March 23, 2023

Having cats as pets is a great joy, but it can also be quite challenging especially when they stop using the litter box. One of the most difficult issues to deal with is when your cat stops using its litter box.

There are numerous reasons why cats might do this and understanding them can help you take steps to fix the problem.

Here are 11 causes cats stopped using the litter box that business owners should be aware of. 

From medical issues to lifestyle changes, there are many factors at play when a cat decides not to use its litter box anymore.

Knowing what these causes are will help business owners identify the root cause and make necessary adjustments in order for their pets to resume healthy habits again.

Here are the reasons why cats stop using the litter box

cat litter box

The Litter Box Has Not Been Cleaned Adequately

The most obvious cause of cats not using their litter box is that it hasn’t been cleaned often enough.

Cats have a very strong sense of smell, so if you don’t clean the litter box frequently enough, they will start to look for somewhere else to take care of business.

Make sure to scoop out cat waste at least once a day and clean the litter box with soap and warm water at least once a week.

No Privacy or Easy Access

If the cat’s litter box is in an area where there isn’t much privacy, the cat might not feel comfortable using it.

Even if you think your cat has plenty of privacy, if it doesn’t have easy access to its litter box, this can also be a problem.

To resolve this,  make sure the cat’s litter box is in a secluded area that’s easily accessible. Place it to a wall and block off the entrance to make sure your cat will feel safe while using it.

Medical Conditions

Medical issues can also lead to cats not wanting to use their litter box.

If you suspect that your cat has a medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection or kidney disease, then this should be addressed by a veterinarian immediately to avoid the cat from developing bad habits.

Stressful Environment

A cat’s environment can also play a role in why it might stop using its litter box.

If there is too much noise, constant fighting between other pets, or just general chaos and confusion, this could cause your cat to become anxious and stressed out.

To reduce the cat’s stress, make sure to provide a quiet area for it away from any commotion.

Conflicting Litter Box Preferences

cat litter box

Cats can also shy away from using their litter box if they don’t like the type of litter being used or its location. 

Try experimenting with different types of cat litter and moving the litter box to a new location that your cat may prefer.

Stray Cats or Intruders in the House

If there are stray cats or intruders entering your home, this can cause your cat to feel scared and not want to use its litter box. 

Make sure your cat’s litter box is in a safe and secure location so it can use without feeling vulnerable.

Too Much Litter in the Cat Box

There are also such things as a cat having too much litter in its cat box.

This can make it difficult for the cat to dig and bury its waste, resulting in the cat feeling frustrated and not wanting to use the litter box.

The reason why cat litter should be no deeper than three inches is that cats naturally bury their waste.

Cat is Too Old or Young

Sometimes a cat may refuse to use its litter box if it is either too old or too young.

When cats reach a certain age, they may forget about their cat box and start to display odd behaviors.

If your cat is too young, it might not have been properly trained on how to use the cat box and may not have enough control over its bladder yet.

Insufficient Litter Boxes in a House with Multiple Cats

cat litter box

It’s also important to note that if you have multiple cats in your home, it’s important to provide enough cat boxes for each cat to use.

If there are not enough cat boxes in the house, then this could lead to some cats refusing to use the cat boxes, as they may feel like there are not enough cat boxes to go around.

Make sure to provide at least one cat box per cat, with one extra cat box for a house with multiple cats.

Poorly trained cats

Sometimes cats may not use their cat box because they have been poorly trained.

For example, if you scold your cat for using the cat box or make a loud noise when the cat is using it, then this can create an association between the cat box and negative experiences.

Unfamiliar Surroundings

When cats find themselves in unfamiliar environments, they may be more reluctant to use their cat box.

This could be in a new home, or if you’re traveling with your cat, then it may not want to use the cat box in a new place.

To help your cat feel more comfortable, try placing its cat box in a familiar location and gradually moving it to where you want it.

Best Ways to Help Cats Be Comfortable with the Litter Box

cat litter box

If your cat is not using its cat box, there are a few things you can do to help it feel more comfortable.

Use a quiet, out-of-the-way spot for the litter box

Cats are naturally shy creatures, so keep their cat box in a quiet spot away from any loud noises or commotion.

Clean and scoop out waste at least once daily

It’s also important to keep the cat box as clean as possible by scooping out waste at least once daily and replacing cat litter every two weeks.

Provide cat-friendly cat litter

Try experimenting with different types of cat litter to see which one your cat prefers, such as clumping cat litter or unscented cat litter.


Cats are complex creatures, and in order to ensure they’re happy using their cat litter box there needs to be the right environment set up.

From providing cat-friendly cat litter, scooping out waste at least once daily, and making sure there is a quiet spot for it away from any commotion – these steps can help your cat feel more comfortable when using its cat litter box.

If you’re looking for reliable pet supplies that will make both cats and owners smile, Pets Go Smile has everything needed to provide cats with a safe and secure place of their own.

We are a pet manufacturer for business-to-business and offer cat litter boxes, cat beds, cat toys, and more.

Trust Pets Go Smile for the highest quality cat products, and give your cat the best cat care to make sure he or she doesn’t stop using its cat litter box.


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