By nature, cats are fastidious animals and very particular about their bathrooms. They prefer a spotless bathroom; they like to bury their waste and prefer their box in a private location. If your cat(s) stops using the litter box and starts using your plants, laundry basket, or bed, it may be time to draw a line in the sand.

Let’s be clear; your cat is not pottying outside their litter box to annoy you or get revenge. There is always a reason your kitty stops using their box. With a little detective work, you can figure out why and get things back to normal again.

The reasons for box avoidance can be simple or complex, but some common problems are:

Medical problem – take your cat to the vet because they could have a UTI.

Unclean litter box – scoop at least once a day to keep the box up to your cat’s standard of cleanliness. Only put in about 2″ of litter.

Too few boxes – in a multi-cat household you need at least 1 box per cat.

Change in litter – did you change brands? If not, try another one, or get 2 boxes and try different litters in each.

Location – most cats like their box in a quiet, low traffic

Enclosed litter box – some cats don’t like a covered or cramped box.

High sides – Older cats especially may need a low sided box.

Two-story home – be sure to have a box on each level.

Now you may say, “My cat always has liked ABC brand litter.” Cats, just like people, change their minds. It may be time to try a new litter and a new box location. If your cat has had a negative box association (a loud noise when using the box or a dog that bothered them while pottying) try moving the location of the litter and getting them comfy with the new site. Play with them near the box. Leave a treat in the general area of the box (not in or next to the box because cats, like people, don’t find eating in the bathroom a good idea).

It may take some time to find out what is bothering your cat, but with some trial and error, you should be able to figure the problem out. Whatever you do, don’t scold your cat, don’t confine them to a small room with their litter box, and don’t rub their nose in a mistake outside the box.

You may have to “think outside the box” to resolve this issue, but often a few simple changes fix a box problem.

Top Trending Articles

Why hire a local dog walking company in Washington DC and not an app or neighbor?

Pet owners may be surprised to learn that there are two types of dog walkers, hobbyists and professionals. Pet owners in Washington, DC have different needs and values and there

Can My Pet Make My Family or Me Sick?

Can My Pet Make My Family or Me Sick? The short answer is yes. However, the good news is that it is NOT very common. And better yet, the benefits we

Why is my dog destroying my home?

Sooner or later most dog owners will return home and find something ruined by their beloved pooch. Here is what you need to know: chewing is a natural behavior for

January is National Pet Eye Care Month

I Only Have Eyes For You! January is National Eye Care Month, so this is a great time to think about our pet's eyes. Their eyes should be clear and bright,

Things to Know Before You Adopt a Rescue Pet

According to the ASPCA, every year almost 8 million cats and dogs are in shelters nationwide. We hope that when it's time add a new pet to your family, you'll seriously consider

7 Resolutions Your Pets Want You to Make

Uh oh, it's that time of year again - when we set new goals and try to improve our lives. If you're like us, your efforts to keep those resolutions

Tips To Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Clean

Tips To Keep Your Pet's Teeth Clean My 12 year old Bella recently had a dental cleaning and no extractions were needed! Must be the dental bones. There is a

Spread Holiday Cheer with Your Pet!

It's the most wonderful time of year! Wintertime can be either a season of hunkering down or one of socializing and traveling. It's also a time of joy, charity, and gift-giving.

How do cats show love?

We all know that cats are different from dogs - you know when a dog likes you (think wagging, slobber, wet kisses) - but how do you know if your cat really

All about your cat’s rough and scratchy tongue

Roughing It! If you've been groomed by a cat then you know their tongue is rough and scratchy - like sandpaper! It's not wet like a dog's tongue (that's why