Happy Silly Cat

Understanding and Correcting Your Cat’s Litter Box Habits

Understanding Cat Litter Box Habits

Cats are fascinating creatures, and while they may seem independent and self-sufficient, they still require a certain level of care and attention from their owners. One aspect of cat ownership that can be both frustrating and confusing is their litter box habits.

You might notice sudden changes in their bathroom behaviors, or they might start going next to the litter box instead of inside it. All of these can be signs of an underlying issue that needs your attention.

In this article, we will discuss some common litter box issues and how to address them.

Suddenly Changing Bathroom Behaviors

If your cat has suddenly started to go outside of the litter box, it could be a sign of a medical issue. Urinary tract infections or blocked urethras are common conditions that can cause cats to avoid using their litter boxes.

If you notice that your cat is straining to urinate or has blood in their urine, it’s essential to take them to the vet immediately.

Going on the Side of the Litter Pan

Many cat owners deal with their pets going on the side of the litter box. This can become an even bigger issue if you have a cat that refuses to go in the box at all.

One solution is to invest in an extra-large litter pan or even plastic storage bins. These provide more room for your cat to move around and might help to reduce the mess.

Guarding Litter Pans

If you have a multi-cat household, it’s essential to have plenty of litter boxes available. The general rule is one-plus-one, meaning you should have one litter box for each cat plus an extra one.

Additionally, make sure to place the litter boxes in strategic locations throughout your home. This will ensure that your cats can access them quickly and easily.

Guarding litter boxes is a common behavior, and having multiple boxes can help reduce territorial conflicts.

Protesting a New Litter

Cats can be picky when it comes to litter. They might protest the smell or texture of a new litter, causing them to avoid using the box altogether.

Some cats prefer a fine-grained litter, while others might like a hard-clumping litter. Try different types of litters until you find out what your cat prefers.

Also, make sure to change the litter gradually, replacing small amounts at a time. This will give your cat time to adjust to the new litter and avoid any sudden changes.

Going Next to the Pan

If your cat is going next to the litter box instead of inside it, the problem might be with the box itself. Some cats don’t like the idea of a roof over their heads, so an open-top litter box might be a good solution.

Also, make sure to keep the litter box consistently clean, as cats don’t like to use a filthy box.

Using the Box as Soon as You Clean It

Cats have an instinctual urge to mark their territory, and this can sometimes present itself in their litter box habits. If your cat always uses the box right after you clean it, it might be a sign that they are reclaiming their territory.

To prevent this behavior, avoid cleaning the litter box in front of your cat. Also, try to add a second litter box in another location to prevent territorial conflicts.

Separate Pans for Separate Duties

Some cats have a natural instinct to separate their duties and will use one litter box for peeing and another for pooping. This behavior comes from their wild ancestors, who would prefer to have separate areas for eating and excreting.

If your cat displays this behavior, make sure to have multiple litter boxes available, allowing them to express their natural instincts.

Reasons for Cats Not Covering Their Poop

Another litter box issue that cat owners face is when their pets don’t cover their poop. This behavior can be frustrating, especially if you have to clean up the litter box more than usual.

Let’s take a look at potential reasons why your cat might not cover their poop.

Lazy Parenting or Lack of Training

If your cat was not properly trained to cover their poop, this could be the reason for their behavior. Kittens often learn this behavior from their mother, who teaches them to cover their messes.

If your cat was taken away from their mother too early or did not receive proper training, they might not know how to cover their poop.

Dislike of Litter Scent or Texture

Cats are creatures of habit, and they might have a strong preference when it comes to the type of litter they use. If you recently switched litters or started using a new brand, your cat might not like the scent or texture, making them avoid their litter box.

Additionally, some cats might spend less time digging in the litter because they don’t like the sensation on their paws.


In conclusion, understanding your cat’s litter box habits is essential for their health and well-being. Whether your cat is suddenly avoiding their litter box or not covering their poop, there could be underlying issues that need to be addressed.

By identifying the problem and taking the necessary steps, you can ensure your cat is happy and healthy, and that your home stays clean and odor-free.

Importance of Understanding and Correcting Litter Box Habits

Cats are unique animals, and they have their own individual personalities and preferences. As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to understand and address any issues that arise with your cat’s litter box habits.

By doing so, you can maintain a healthy and happy relationship with your pet, ensure their well-being, and reduce any stressful situations for both you and your cat. While litter box issues can be frustrating, they are usually correctable with proper training.

With patience, consistent training, and identifying the underlying issue, you can address your cat’s litter box habits. It’s also important to remember that litter box issues are not always your cat’s fault.

Sometimes, it’s a result of the cat parent’s behavior that can affect their pets’ health and behavior patterns.

Human Training

One of the most significant factors that contribute to litter box problems is the owner’s behavior. The litter box must be consistently clean if it is to meet its purpose.

Cats won’t use a litter box that is not clean, and not cleaning it could lead to urinary tract infections, blockages, or other health issues.

Therefore, as a cat owner, it’s essential to make cleaning the litter box a part of your daily routine.

It’s the only way to ensure that your cat uses their litter box regularly. Cat parents should scoop out the litter box at least twice a day.

If you are using clumping litter, you should remove waste regularly to prevent clumps from building up.

You should also deep-clean the litter box at least every two weeks.

Washing with mild soap and water can be enough, however, you might consider using a disinfectant cleaner to sanitize the box every few weeks.

Dislike of Litter Scent or Texture

Sometimes cats might avoid their litter box because they don’t like the scent or texture of their litter. Cats have a keen sense of smell, and a strong scent can deter them from using the litter box.

Additionally, some litters could irritate their paws, making them less likely to want to use their litter box. One solution to this problem is to switch to a natural unscented clay litter or a litter that has a mild, non-irritating scent.

If you’re switching litters, it’s best to introduce the new one gradually, starting with mixing small amounts into the old litter. Over the next few weeks, slowly increase the new litter while decreasing the old litter.

Going on the Side of the Litter Pan

Some cats prefer using litter boxes that are open or have low sides. High sides, like those found in covered litter boxes, can be a turn-off for cats and cause them to use the area outside the box instead.

Providing your cat with a litter box that has lower sides or using an uncovered litter box can solve the issue. Litter boxes with high sides might seem like a cleaner option, but if they cause your cat to avoid them, they’re not going to work.

Separate Pans for Separate Duties

Cats are instinctual creatures, and this is reflected in their litter box habits. Some cats have a natural tendency to separate their duties, with one pan for urine and one for feces.

You might notice that your cats use each litter box more for one purpose than the other. To accommodate this behavior, you should have multiple litter boxes available to your cat.

Giving your cat a variety of boxes with different types of litter could be the solution to behavioral problems. Cats that have separate duties for their boxes might be marking or staking their individual territories.

You might also consider placing the boxes in separate locations to help reduce conflicts between cats, especially in multicat households.


Taking care of your cat’s litter box habits requires understanding, patience, and effort. While litter box issues might seem like small problems, they can lead to more significant health problems down the line.

By taking the time to train your cat properly, identifying the underlying problem behind their behavior, and making sure that you’re doing your part, you can significantly reduce litter box issues and have a healthier and happier relationship with your pet. Litter box habits are essential when it comes to a cat’s health and well-being.

Understanding and addressing any issues that arise can reduce stress for both you and your cat and ensure a happy and healthy relationship. Proper training, consistency, and identifying the underlying problem are key ingredients to addressing any litter box issues.

As a pet owner, it’s essential to remember that your behavior can significantly impact your cat’s litter box habits. Ensure that you clean the litter box regularly, use a litter type your cat is comfortable with, and provide multiple boxes and locations for your furry friend.

With proper care and attention, you can have a happy, healthy, and stress-free relationship with your feline companion.

Popular Posts