The Most Common Litter Box Mistakes You’re Making

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
A big bonus of having a cat has to be the ease kitty litter. But if your cat refuses to use it, it may be because you’re making these mistakes.

If your kitty is avoiding the litter box and eliminating elsewhere around the house, you may be performing some of the following common mistakes.

Check out the litter box errors below pet parents often make, as well as the solutions to these problems, so that you can have a happy cat that will gladly use the litter box – and only the litter box – to go to the bathroom.

Purchasing the Wrong Litter Box

Choosing the right litter box is the first step in ensuring your kitty will be satisfied enough to use it as he should. Here are some guidelines that you can consider when shopping for one:

  • Make sure you purchase a litter box that’s large enough for your kitty to stand in and turn around in. This is especially important if you’re planning on getting a box with a lid. You don’t want your cat to feel crowded in the box or, worse yet, be forced to hang out over the edge, potentially eliminating all over the floor as opposed to in the litter.
  • For senior kitties that have mobility problems as a result of painful conditions or arthritis, look for a box that will be low enough for them to comfortably walk in. Opt for boxes with lower sides that make entering and exiting easy.
  • When looking for a litter box with a hood, keep in mind that some cats don’t like closed boxes, despite how private they are. Some cats, for example, may be turned off by the fact that these boxes are dark and provide only one escape route. And without enough ventilation, these boxes can also trap smells, deterring your cat from entering.

Using the Wrong Litter

In addition to choosing the right litter box for your kitty, you also need to figure out what type of litter he prefers. This can take some trial and error, but the following could be a good place to start:

  • Opt for litters that aren’t scented and that are labeled “fragrance free,” as many cats find strong perfumes objectionable. Artificial fragrances that are added to litter only mask the smell of urine and feces, and they can be so overpowering that your kitty decides to avoid the litter box.
  • Even “natural” litters made of ingredients like corn, pine, and wheat may have offensive fragrances added. A cat may also be deterred by the natural scent of the ingredients themselves, or they may not be able to absorb odors effectively enough.
  • Your cat may have a preference when it comes to the texture of the litter, so try to pay attention to how your cat reacts to different types of litter if you’re still searching for the right one.

Putting the Box in the Wrong Location

Where you place your cat’s litter box can also have an effect upon whether or not he chooses to use it. Check out the tips below to help you choose the ideal spot in your home:

  • Your cat will probably like having privacy when he’s going to the bathroom, so place the box in a location that’s quiet. It also shouldn’t be near noisy or loud appliances, such as your dryer and washing machine, as these can scare your kitty away.
  • The litter box can also be placed in a spot where your pet won’t be disturbed by other pets, dogs, and kids.
  • No matter what area of your home you choose to put the litter box in, make sure your kitty has easy access to it. Traveling far to use the bathroom isn’t fun for anyone, including your feline friend, so try to find a central location that your kitty can get to during the day and throughout the night with ease. If you have a large house, this may require multiple litter boxes.

Not Keeping It Clean Enough

Keep the litter box clean by scooping waste out at least once a day, dumping out old, dirty litter and replacing it with fresh, clean litter whenever necessary, and washing out the litter box thoroughly on a regular basis.

If you have more than one cat, consider getting more than one litter box to ensure there is always a clean box to go in, especially if you have a cat who doesn’t like to share his box with others.

Not Addressing Your Kitty’s Needs

Finally, remember that every cat is an individual, so for the best results, you have to figure out what your particular kitty prefers.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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