Why Your Cat Has Stopped Using Their Litter Box

Has your cat has stopped using their litter box? Do they relieve themselves elsewhere around the home? There are a number of reasons why a cat starts thinking outside the box. Read on to discover why your cat has stopped using their litter box.

Frequency of Cleaning

Like us, cats would rather not use a toilet if it smells objectionable. What a cat finds unpleasant is a little different. Cats mark their territory by spraying, and also with their urine, which is less pungent than cat spray. More on that later. So while a cat is capable of creating a stink, it is poo and excess wee they avoid. Cats have 200 million odour receptors, much more than our estimated five million. Because of their extremely sensitive sense of smell, try increasing the frequency of cleaning their litter box.

Keeping the litter box clean


The location of their litter box is important. Avoid areas that are out in the open or in high traffic areas. Cats prefer private, safe areas to stop and do their business. In multiple cat homes, location can be critical. According to cat behaviourist, Jackson Galaxy, a timid cat needs security. A vulnerable cat needs to feel that a more dominant feline sibling won’t ambush them when they are in a corner or inside a covered litter box.

New Litter

Switching to a new type of cat litter may be why your cat has stopped using their litter box. Cats like routine. Go back to using their old litter and see if they take up the litter box again. If they do, you’ll need to transition to the new litter slowly. Add a small handful and gradually increase it as it is tolerated.


If you’ve noticed that your cat is urinating more frequently, they may have a urinary tract infection. This is a common cause of cats not using their litter box. This is especially common in cats on an exclusive dry food diet, especially if they don’t like to drink water. Take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible.


Territory may be a reason your cat has stopped using their litter box. Multiple cat households often have litter box issues. A rule of thumb is to start with one litter box per cat plus one more. Litter boxes should not be grouped together. Cats are very territorial. Provide each with an area they can call their own, for their own bedding, meals and litter boxes. Use these tips if your cat has stopped using their litter box. Good luck in helping your kitty keep it in the box.

British shorthair kittens