Cat Care PC

173 W. Auburn Rd
Rochester Hills, MI 48307


Litter Box Behavior

Cats can be persnickety about their litter boxes - even after years of not caring about them. Certain steps should be taken to ensure your cat uses her litter box appropriately.

  1. Have enough litter boxes available. There should be one litter box per cat in the household, plus one extra.

  2. Place the litter boxes in multiple parts of the house if possible. Many cats do not want to travel far to urinate and defecate, especially cats who are old, arthritic or otherwise ill.

  3. Use plain clay or clumping litter, with no perfumes, dyes or deodorizers.

  4. Scoop the litter box at least once daily (more often is better).

  5. Dump out litter and clean the litter box with mild dish soap regularly, at least once every 7 - 14 days.

  6. Keep litter boxes in a quiet, low traffic area, away from food and water dishes.

  7. The litter box should be large enough for the cat to stand comfortably and to fully turn around.

  8. Most cat do not like hooded litter boxes.

  9. Never try to catch or medicate a cat near the litter box or allow her to encounter any negative experience while using the litter box. This can result in an avoidance of the area.

  10. Kittens need litter boxes that are easily accessible. Praise kittens lavishly each time they use the litter box appropriately. Kittens often visit the litter box after naps, meals and playtime.

Sometimes cats choose not to use the litter box and this is referred to as FIE (Feline Inappropriate Elimination). There are many reasons why a cat may choose not to use the litter box. It may not be cleaned enough, the cat could be avoiding it because of a negative event that happened in or near the box, or there can be underlying medical reasons.

If your cat ever stops using the litter box to eliminate, it is important that she is seen by a veterinarian to rule out any medical causes.