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Why Isn’t My Cat Using the Litterbox?

Accidents happen, but when your cat habitually stops using his or her litterbox, it can be very concerning. So what’s going on with your feline friend? There are a number of reasons why your cat might stop using the litterbox, from illness to cleanliness and more. At Germantown Vet, we’ve gotten many calls from frustrated kitty parents wondering what in the world is going on and what they can do to stop it. 

5 Reasons Why Your Cat Isn’t Using the Litterbox

Black text on a gray background reading Although there is an endless number of possibilities, here are five of the most common reasons why cats stop using their litterbox:

1. Illness

There are some illnesses that affect cats that can cause them to go before they make it to the litterbox. Some of these include (but are not limited to):

  • Diabetes
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urinary blockages

How can you fix it? The only way to solve your cat’s medical issue is to visit a professional veterinarian. The experienced staff at Germantown Vet can examine your cat and perform diagnostic tests to determine what is causing this problem—and then we can help you manage or solve it.

2. Uncleanliness

Cats, by nature, are very clean animals. If their litterbox isn’t cleaned regularly (or simply not to their liking), they will find somewhere else to relieve themselves—and remember, you should be cleaning their litterbox daily.

How can you fix it? Make sure you are keeping up with your cat’s litterbox. Clean it as often as necessary to ensure your pet has a fresh litterbox.

3. Marking

If your male cat isn’t neutered before he turns a year old, he may be marking his territory around the house. Cats become sexually mature around 8 – 9 months, so we recommend getting them neutered before that age to limit marking behavior.

How can you fix it? Schedule an appointment with Germantown Vet to get your cat neutered.

4. Stress

Black text on a gray background with orange on top reading Many cats mark or eliminate waste outside of the litterbox when they are stressed out. These stresses can come from anywhere in the home, including changes in routines, new family members, loud noises such as construction, etc.

How can you fix it? Help your cat feel comfortable and relaxed by playing with him or her, maintaining a familiar routine, and providing “safe spaces” in the house. These safe spaces can include boxes and hiding places.

5. Other cats

Other cats can be a major source of anxiety and stress for your cat—particularly when you add a new cat to your family. Your cat may show his or her displeasure by urinating around the house, and male cats may attempt to mark their territory.

How can you fix it? Much like you would deal with any other stress, you want to make your cat feel safe and comfortable. Play with your cat, stick to a routine, and provide the safe spaces we mentioned previously. Before you add a new cat to your family, talk to your veterinarian about the safest and easiest methods of introducing new pets to one another.

Get All of Your Questions Answered

If you’ve tried all of the things listed above and your cat is still not using the litterbox, give your friends at Germantown Vet a call. We can help you determine the reason for your cat’s poor bathroom behavior and set up a plan to fix it.

Contact us online or by phone at (240) 252-7467 to schedule an appointment!

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