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Why Is My Cat Not Using Its Litter Box?

When your cat does not choose to use their litter box, your initial reaction might be annoyance that is immediately brushed off as a one-time thing. However, if this becomes a frequent occurrence, it might be a tell-tale sign of something more serious. 

If the problem has happened more than once, there are some adjustments you can make. But if the behavior persists, you should take your cat to the veterinarian to check for any underlying issues. 

Is My Cat Acting Out of Character?

There can be many reasons why your cat chooses not to use their litter box. A male cat who has not been neutered may mark its territory on inappropriate surfaces.

Multi-cat households may not have enough litterboxes. The general rule is to have the same number of boxes as cats, plus one.

Some cats have a preference for the type of litter in the box. There are clay and clumping litters; fine grain and coarser; litters made from pine shavings and from old newspapers. Experiment a little and see if this fixes the problem.

Another possibility could be a case of litter box aversion. Cats are easily startled, so the last time the cat was frightened could have been near the litter box, causing them to now associate the litter box with fear. For this reason, having the box in a laundry room, which may be easy to clean and far away from family life, may not be the best choice if a noisy washer or dryer creates a scary atmosphere for your cat.

Clean the box regularly.

Look for Underlying Health Problems

If you address all the issues regarding type, placement, etc., and your cat is still not using the box, your veterinarian and help you look for underlying health problems.

One issue could be a Feline Lower Urinary Tract Infection (FLUTD). This causes the cat to experience bladder discomfort and increases the frequency of urination.

Your cat may be experiencing an upset stomach due to allergies, dietary intolerances, or an inflamed digestive tract. 

A cat drinking more than usual can also be a reason they are displaying litter box avoidance. 

Older cats may simply be suffering from regular pain and discomfort due to their age. Cats are not as easily mobile at an older age and may not be able to enter and exit litter boxes comfortably or without pain.

If your cat is not urinating at all, whether inside the box or elsewhere, this is a life-threatening problem, and you must seek emergency veterinary care.

How Can a Veterinarian Help Determine the Problem?

A physical examination of the cat and a thorough medical history can help your veterinarian determine if there is a physical or behavioral problem with your pet. Blood tests, urine tests, or even ultrasounds of the cat’s bladder can all be helpful in uncovering any underlying condition or disease. 

If you’re in need of kitten shots in Albuquerque or need advice on helping your kitten or adult cat use their litter box, contact Petroglyph Animal Hospital today!

Give Your Cat the Care They Deserve!

If you suspect that there may be something preventing your cat from using their litter box, our caring team at Petroglyph Animal Hospital is always ready to help and answer questions. Among our many services include kitten shots, wellness exams, diagnostic testing and imaging, dentistry, and surgery. 

Contact the team at Petroglyph Animal Hospital to schedule an exam today!