At Mighty Pet we get a lot of questions and hear a lot of concerns about cats not using the litter box regularly. Taking care of your cat’s litter box is an essential part of keeping your cats using the litter box regularly,or you’ll be coming in to purchase Stain and Odor remover by the gallon!

MP-Cat-LitterboxHere’s a list of common mistakes cat owners make when it comes to litter boxes:

  1. Not cleaning it enough.
    Cats like to be clean, most don’t like using a soiled litter box and some will refuse to use it if it’s soiled. Scooping the box daily, sometimes more depending on your cat’s habits may be necessary. Emptying, cleaning and replacing soiled litter with fresh should be done at least once a week.
  2. Using the wrong litter.
    Many cats are picky about the type of litter they prefer. Typically cats prefer a litter without a strong scent, as they are very sensitive to odors. Strong odors may be enough to keep cats from using the box. Some cats also have texture preferences as well. You may need to experiment with different litters to find one that the cat likes and is also to your liking for cleaning and odor control.
  3. Putting the Litter box in the wrong place.
    Cats need privacy when using the bathroom. Put the cat’s box in a less traveled area of the house, away from anything noisy, (washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc). It should also be placed somewhere the cat can use the box undisturbed. Make sure it is away from children and other household pets as well as easy for the cat to access. If you have a large home, even if you only have one cat, you may want to have multiple boxes for easy access.
  4. Using the wrong litter box.
    When given a choice most cats prefer a large box to a smaller one. Make sure they have enough room to stand and do their business without being crowded or hanging over the edge. Some cat’s may be cautious with a hooded cat pan. While they create privacy and humans like them to contain messes, they can trap odors or create a scary, dark environment for a cat with only one exit. If you prefer a hooded cat pan you may need to train the cat to use it and make sure there is an alternative litter box if you have a cautious cat to avoid soiling your floors.
  5. Not having enough litter boxes.
    We always tell cat owners to have 1 extra litter box for the number of cats. 2 cats = at least 3 litter boxes, etc. Some prefer to pee in one and poop in another, some do not like to share litter boxes with others.

If you’re doing all the right things with your litter box, but the cat has started to find another place to go, you may want to have them checked for a Urinary Tract Infection or get the advice of your veterinarian. If a cat has, or has had, a UTI they may associate the pain of the infection with their litter box. If this is the case, you may have to retrain them to use the litter box. Another trigger for marking or spraying in the house is stress. Evaluate changes that have been made in the house that may have stressed out the cat.

Written by: Rochelle Anderson
Mighty Pet Store Manager