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Why Has My Cat Stopped Using the Litterbox?

May 1, 2017
Has your cat had accidents on the floor recently, seemingly giving up on her bathroom out of nowhere? Litterbox aversions are rather common amongst our feline friends. Here, your Savannah, GA vet tells you about the most common reasons that cats shun their boxes, and what you can do about it.


Much like you, your cat doesn’t prefer doing her business in a dirty bathroom. We can’t blame her! If you don’t scoop out your cat’s litterbox often enough, she may avoid it entirely. Scoop out Fluffy’s waste on a daily basis, and change out the litter entirely once a week or so to keep things fresh.


Make sure your cat’s bathroom isn’t placed in a crowded, busy area with a lot of human or pet traffic nearby. That way, your feline friend won’t be disturbed while using the litterbox, and she’ll be more inclined to continue using it in the future. Cats like to do their business in peace and quiet! In most homes, a basement room, the laundry room, or bathroom works well.

Litter Preference

Did you know that different cats like different types of litter? You might have to try out several varieties to find one that Fluffy likes—there is scented and unscented litter, different granule sizes, clumping and non-clumping, and much more! Talk to your veterinarian for more information on litter types and what your cat might prefer.

Proximity to Food

Cats have been known to shun their litterbox, or stop eating and drinking entirely, if the bathroom and food and water dishes are placed in close proximity. It seems that the expression about using the bathroom where you eat also applies to our feline friends! Keep these areas completely separate so that your cat doesn’t have a problem.

Negative Associations

If your cat was startled while using the box, perhaps by a loud noise or another pet intruding on her space, she might associate the litterbox with a bad experience. This sort of thing might require professional help to correct—if you suspect this is the root cause of your cat’s litterbox aversion, talk with your veterinarian or a certified animal behaviorist to find out how to proceed. Still need help getting your cat to use her bathroom properly? Do you have more questions about your cat’s behavior or healthcare needs? Set up an appointment to see your Savannah, GA veterinarian today.

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