Cat Not Using the Litter Box

Cat in Litter Box
There are a number of reason why a cat might stop using it's litter box. It could be as simple as the box needs to be cleaned more often, to being a potential warning sign of a serious health issue. Knowing the habits and preferences of your cat can help narrow the list of possible problems and help get them using the litter box again. This is a page about cat not using the litter box.


Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

April 9, 2010

I have a spayed and healthy 12 year old female cat who was going inside the litter box but accidentally urinating outside the entrance. I remedied this problem by placing two strips of duct tape across the inside and outside base of the dome cover opening, elevating the access approximately 2 inches.

She conveniently enters and exits the litter box with ease. This method is safe, inexpensive, and a complete success!

By Alan from Fayetteville, NC

Comment Was this helpful? 1
Read More Comments

23 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 5, 2021

My barn cat won't use a litter box. What should I do?


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
September 5, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can mix the substance, such as dirt or hay, that your cat presently uses, with the kitty litter. Increase the kitty litter until the cat is used to it.


There are other tips on training an outdoor car to use the litter box here

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 440 Answers
September 18, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

Choose a natural, unscented cat litter that won't offend their nose. Scented cat litters are a definite no-no, but even some unscented and natural cat litters, like pine pellets, can smell strong and may put your cat off.
Mix your chosen litter with soil for the first few weeks. If you've seen your barn cat doing their business outside, then select soil near to this spot - removing and disposing of any solid waste first, of course. This soil will already smell familiar to your new cat and help them make the transition to using a litter box.


Over time, you can reduce the amount of soil that you're placing in the box until you're just using cat litter.

Make sure to choose an open litter box, rather than a covered one. A larger sized litter box with high sides is also a good idea, as it may take your barn cat a while to get used to the idea of using a confined area.

Placing the litter tray down the end of a hallway or in the corner of the room may be your preference, but your barn cat may feel trapped in those areas and choose not to use a litter box there. Placing the litter box in a relatively open area will help your cat feel more confident. As your cat gains confidence, you can slowly move the litter box somewhere that you'd prefer to keep it long term.
See if you can work out where your barn cat usually does their business in your garden. If the cat tends to pee and poop in one specific spot, then that's a good place to leave a litter box in the hope that the cat may start using that instead. As the barn cat starts to use the litter box, you can gradually move it closer to your house, in the hope that she'll continue to use it.


When moving the litter box, only move it a few inches at a time. Your cat will have spent a great deal of energy working up the courage to use it, and that can all be undone if you move it too far away from the initial spot in one go.

Artificial feline pheromones can help your cat feel confident and comfortable in their surroundings. If your cat smells feline pheromones around their new litter box, they're far more likely to feel like the litter box is something familiar that they can feel happy using.
Inside, you can use a calming diffuser, which needs to be plugged in, but you can also regularly spray the litter box itself with a pheromone spray.

As you see your cat using their new litter box, praise them as they're getting out of the box and give her treats.

Cats have a sensitive sense of smell, and if their little box smells dirty, they simply won't use it. Make sure to clean out the box at least once a day, although multiple cleanings every day are preferable if you can. You'll also need to regularly empty all the litter from the box and clean the box before filling it with completely fresh litter.


Once your cat is happily using their new litter box, you can start gradually making changes if you want to. You may want to move the litter box, switch to a different litter, or switch to a covered or automatic litter box. Just make sure to make any changes slowly. You may want to keep at least one litter box that's set up with the same litter as the box that your cat has already gotten used to. That way, your cat has the choice of using this or the new setup.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 22, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

Set up a litter box in a quiet place. Place your cat in it, but dont make a big deal of it. Just set her in, talk to her and praise her. If she jumps right out, that's fine. She now knows where the box is and will use it, we hope, when the time is right.


Unlike dogs that need to be housebroken, cats seem to have a natural instinct to use the box. If she goes outside the box, dont scold her. Just clean it up to remove the stain and odor, and keep trying.

Check with your local pet food store. There are products you can spray or sprinkle on the litter to encourage the cat to use it.

You could try filling the box with dirt or sand from outside and gradually transition to commercial litter.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question

June 19, 2011

tan cat lying on tile floorI have a male Persian cat and he is peeing almost everywhere and not using the litterbox at all. But in the case of poop, he uses the litter box or the bathroom very properly. Please help me find solution; it's urgent.

By Afrin from Navi Mumbai, India

Read More Answers

November 11, 2009

My cat won't use litter box.

By maria from Houston, TX


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 239 Feedbacks
November 12, 20090 found this helpful

Some questions come to mind:

Is this the only cat? Some won't share boxes.

Is it kept clean? Cats don't like dirty boxes.

Was this an outside cat that you're trying to convert? Some adult cats won't change.

Does the cat have a regular place it DOES use? You might need to cover that place, because cats like to go back to the same spot.

Just some stuff to think about.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 12, 20090 found this helpful

Where is he going? I had a Maine Coon for 18 years that would never use a litter box. I always said he thought he was too good for one. =) He insisted on going outside to potty. We would leave him in the house for a whole weekend, every weekend, to go camping, and he would actually hold it the entire time. As soon as we came home, he almost knocked us down to get out.

I've had a lot of cats in my lifetime (have 4 now), but he was the only cat I have ever owned that simply refused to use a litter box, but yet never went in the house. As he and my dog became elderly, I would lay a "pee pee pad" down for my dog at night in case, like a lot of elderly, she might need to go during the night. She would use it often, and lo' and behold, my Maine Coon started doing the same thing! He would never use a litter pan, but as he got older, he would use the dog's "pee pee pad". Good luck to you!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 12, 20090 found this helpful

I see a lot of posts in the archives about their cats doing #1 or #2 in the litterpan, but not the other. Try getting two litter pans. Seriously! I have 4 cats, and they are all indoor cats. I have 2 litter pans and they do #1 in one of 'em, and #2 in the other. Go figure.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 59 Requests
November 15, 20090 found this helpful

Take him/her to the vet to see if they have a urinary tract infection, so that it can be treated. UTIs can be fatal in male cats.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 16, 20090 found this helpful

This sounds like an easy fix, but we had a similar problem with our cat, which was an indoor cat. We were able to get to the spots easily, where she decided to poop, usually beside or near the litterbox! I scooped up some, put it in the litter box & she went right to the box, smelled her own scent and never had a problem again. I had cleaned the litterbox, washed and disinfected it and she needed to know it was actually hers I guess. Good Luck hope you get the problem solved.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 102 Feedbacks
November 16, 20090 found this helpful

Vet first, to rule out medical problems. Try extra litter boxes. Mine also use one for #1 and one for #2 and 1 cat will only go on a smooth flat surface, with no litter. So I put down a large lid from a rubbermaid storage container, and she uses that...strange, but loveable creatures! They keep you guessing! Good luck.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

September 18, 2017

Fellow cat owners, I need help. I have a 7 year old female who absolutely hates the basement! I have moved the litter box back to the basement, but now Bear is using the area by our shoes and our shoes, as well as, behind the TV stand.

How do I get her to stop using our shoes and get her to use the litter boxes? My boyfriend and I even built a litter box that is 3 steps down in the wall towards the basement yesterday morning for her. When I woke up this morning I cleaned up 4 different spots from her on the main floor and go figure one in our shoes! Please help me thank you in advance.

Read More Answers

January 2, 2017

I have made an improvised litter for my tabby cat. My previous Shirazi cat doesn't have any issue with the shredded newspaper as litter, but my tabby cat seems to have no interest of using it at all, instead, he always likes to poop on the rags or worst, my laundry.

What can you suggest on how to encourage my cat to use shredded newspaper as litter?

Read More Answers

June 22, 2016

We have seven, yes seven cats inside, 6 males and one female, all fixed. Originally we just had one, who is now about 4. We feed ferrules and one was really small, and we were afraid he wouldn't survive the winter so we brought him in and the female wanted to come in, so we brought her in as well, and added a second litter box. Everything was still good.

Then we had a mama cat get trapped and killed, intentionally, by a neighbor (he got into legal trouble and won't do that again). She had five, 5 week old kittens. One died, but we had to bring them in to care for them. They're about a year old now. After we brought them in our older cat started going to the bathroom in the hall or on floor in our bathroom. He is a moody cat anyway and this seems to just be him rebelling. Any ideas?

Read More Answers

September 29, 2015

We have two female cats ages, 3.5 years and 15 years. We have introduced a male kitten in the last 6 weeks. He is a rescue that we have been fostering since he was 7 weeks old. We kept him in his own room especially at night for the first 3 weeks and slowly introduced him to our two cats. 2.5 weeks ago we gave him full access to the house without human supervision or intervention.

We have a RoboKitty Litter box. It basically automatically cleans itself. He has been 95% great about potty training. He has had a few peeing accidents especially in one specific corner of our living room. We have blocked the area off and have tried to be vigilant about getting him to litterbox and that has been successful. However, we have now noticed that our two female cats are pointedly going pee outside when we let them out for their supervised time in our back yard. Is this a sign of stress? How should I remedy this? Should I get a second Robokitty litterbox? Has anyone had success with Feliway cat diffusers? I am seeking tried and true methods.

Read More Answers

August 29, 2012

My older cat uses her cat box to poop, but when it comes to peeing she has been peeing all over the house. I bought puppy pees pads and she is using them. I just don't know what to do.

By Christy

Read More Answers

November 29, 2010

My cat will not use her litterbox or go outside to do her thing. She will only do it inside on paper or in corners. What's up?

By satansbreed6663 from KY


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 180 Feedbacks
December 1, 20100 found this helpful

Please take your baby to the Veterinarian. There could be a urinary track infection going on.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 140 Feedbacks
December 1, 20100 found this helpful

We had a male cat who wouldn't use the litterbox. After some research what worked for us was, putting the paper litter that is used in hamster cages in his litterbox and putting him and the litter box in a good sized dog crate for about 5 days or so (whatever it takes). The theory is to re-train him to go in the litterbox and since he didn't like traditional litter the paper was soft and similar to the areas he was peeing on. ( It can't be the cedar shavings that are also used to hamsters etc.) I found the paper litter at Walmart and petsmart. When we let him out of the cage we set up two litter boxes one with paper and one with regular litter. After a while he started using the regular litter again. I found this info on an internet search. And it worked for us . Good luck. Oh yes and don't forget to get rid on all old urine and fecal odors. I saw a recipe on ThriftyFun the other day for a solution that works for this.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
December 1, 20100 found this helpful

I have a 3 month old kitten that does the same thing. Sometimes she uses the box, but often she goes in the bathtub or on the floor in the corner of the litter box room. I can't figure out why it's inconsistent.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question

December 23, 2016

I have three cats. Freddy is 8 mos and fixed. Kiki is 7 months and not fixed yet. Rocky is 2 and fixed. We'll just say my husband isn't patient when it comes to their behaviors. Freddy is skittish but very affectionate. He will headbutt you until you have a headache. But, he pees and poops (mostly pees) on furniture and the floor right in front of you. I know he's trying to communicate, but my husband just thinks he's being bad. He seems healthy, so I think it's behavioral. It's strange that he will stare you in the face as he does it. Today he peed on the floor right in front of my husband as he came home.

Kiki is just naughty. I'm a teacher and she loves to help me grade papers. Freddy and Kiki now jump in the trash can. Kiki chews on anything she can sink he teeth into.

Rocky is our fatso. She's been on a diet and lost 3 lbs, but she's still big and because we have two other cats and both work we can't keep them from eating each others food. Rocky is fluffy and sweet, but she has pooping problems and drags it places. My husband says she's naughty and poops places, but she doesn't. She's a long hair and it gets stuck. I'm sure her weight makes cleaning difficult also.

What do I do with these cats? I'm on vacation so I've been home most everyday. Today I had to deal with car issues and I think that's what is wrong with Freddy. Kiki is a little monster. She's the boss around here. At 7lbs she flips 14 lb Rocky. I don't know what to do about her mischievousness. Rocky needs to be shaved and I'm scared to do it even though we have the tool. I don't want to hurt her.
Any advice, suggestions of other issues?

Read More Answers

September 28, 2015

I need ideas this 4 month old cat that is peeing everywhere it feels it wants to. I am about 70% sure he has pooped somewhere in my room cause it has a poop smell.

I've been searching for 2 days. I need some ideas of how to stop this before I have to take him to a shelter.

tan tabby cat
Read More Answers
Load More
Pets CatsFebruary 25, 2015
Thanksgiving Ideas!
Halloween Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2022-10-18 14:40:08 in 2 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2022 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.