Has Your Cat Suddenly Quit Using the Litter Box?

The first thing that we teach our pets is where to pee and poop. For all fur parents, potty training a cat or a dog is challenging but rewarding. There is an unexplainable feeling once your pet obeys your commands. It’s an achievement for both you and your pet.

There are two possible causes as to why your cat is not using its litter box: behavior or medical problems. What should you do in this situation? It’s your responsibility as the parent to resolve it before you get frustrated with all the cleaning that you have to do after every pee and poop your cat makes.

Is your cat not using litter box all of a sudden? That’s a cause for concern! It’s a bit frustrating and alarming if that happens, which is why you have to know what’s causing the behavior. In this way, you’d be able to put a stop to it before it becomes a habit.

Cat Not Using Litter Box All of a Sudden: Here’s Why

Even if you have an idea as to why your cat is doing it, it is still best to consult your cat’s vet so that you can dismiss any health issues instantly.

A more serious reason is if the cat is not feeling well. If your cat has trouble peeing or pooping, chances are, they feel hesitant to use the litter box. Urinary tract infection is one of the most common medical problems a cat experiences in their lifetime.

Once you do, here are other possible reasons why your cat started not using its litter box:

Stinky Litter Box

Cats have sensitive noses. If they smell something off in their litter box, then they will look for a more suitable place to do their deed. Cats may even pee or poop right beside the litter box or anywhere around the house if their litter box doesn’t meet their standards.

Bullied by Other Cats

This scenario is applicable for households with several pet cats using a single litter box. Some cats assume leadership in a pack and will bully another cat by forbidding them to use the litter box.


Your cat knows if you made any changes to the litter or the box itself. Hence, you have to make gradual changes with what your cat is familiar with.

Moving the litter box to a different location, trying out a new cat litter, buying a separate box—all of these minor changes have a significant impact on your cat. For that reason, try your very best not to overwhelm your cat with too many changes too frequently.

Size Matters

You may have noticed that though your kitten has grown into a cat, it still uses the same litter box from when it was a baby. That is another possible reason why your cat does not want to use the litter box anymore.

Have you noticed that cats usually turn around in one spot before they poop? If they cannot do that in their current litter box because it’s too small for them, then you need to change it into a much larger one. The perfect litter box size for a grown-up cat is 23 inches long.


As mentioned above, cats are sensitive to all kinds of changes in their surroundings and their routines. These include a new member of the family, be it a person or a pet, a new place and environment, misunderstanding between family members. If they feel something is not right, they will act like a child having tantrums.

Litter Box Style

Make sure that your cat can quickly get in and out of the litter box whenever they need to empty their stomachs.

Older cats have problems with moving. If the litter box is high, then they will not make an effort to climb into it to poop.

In line with this, you might want to avoid enclosed litter boxes as well. Cats don’t like it when they feel trapped.

How to Lure Your Cat to Use the Litter Box

Even when you’ve already potty trained your cat in the past, sometimes, you just have to go through the process again. To teach your cat how to use the litter box again, follow the tips and tricks listed below.

Scoop out the litter box deposits daily and change cat litter frequently.

To make sure that the litter box is ideal to use, wash it with warm water and mild soap, and then rinse it with clean water.

Next, dry the box altogether. Make sure to wear a face mask and rubber gloves while doing this. Pregnant women should refrain from cleaning the litter box to avoid any infections from the cat droppings.

Litter Box Location

Make sure to put the litter box in a strategic location. Place it far from your cat’s food and water supply. Look for a quiet area in your house that is far from any foot traffic, and ensure that your cat can access it quickly and easily.

To Each, His Own

Provide a litter box for every single one of your cats if you happen to have more than one feline baby. Ideally, you should have an extra box aside from the ones assigned to each cat.

Blocked Access

If your cat favors a specific area in your house to do its thing, think of ways to make it unpleasant for the cat. You can spray it with a cat deterrent solution or lay it with aluminum foil; cats don’t like the sound and feel of foil.

Recreate the Area

Observe the area where your cat poops or pees and replicate it in the litter box. If your cat keeps on pooping on paper, then put some paper linings on the bottom of the box.

On the other hand, if it likes the cold feel of tiles, then keep the bottom of the litter box exposed.

Clean the Area

Thoroughly clean the area where your cat pooped or peed, making sure that there is no trace of any smell to discourage the cat. If the cat smells traces of their poop, they will consider that area their territory and will do it again.


If you are a fur parent of a cat not using litter box all of a sudden, remember that cats are susceptible. If you notice changes in your cat’s behavior, the first thing that you need to do is to have them checked for any medical problems. If the vet says they are healthy, then go back to when the cat started to behave differently.

The problem may not be with the cat, but with some changes that we made without realizing that it would disrupt the cat’s routine and environment.

In the end, the most important thing to do is to look after your pet’s well-being the same way as we take care of ours.