Do you have a cat not using the litter box all of a sudden? You must be worried. Cats are habit creatures. Some owners set their clocks after the schedule of their cats. So, why is your cat suddenly doing its business on your favorite rug? Or in a flower pot?
You tolerated a few instances as accidents. Maybe you hadn’t cleaned the litter box, because you were busy. Maybe you accidentally closed the door and your cat couldn’t reach the litter box. But if it happens for more than three times in a row, you should investigate the issue.
First Step: Don’t Get Mad at the Cat!
Your four legged friend is a sensitive creature. It has solid reasons for not using the litter box. If you also scream at it, you will make the matter worse. You don’t want to turn a cat not using the litter box all of a sudden into a cat that is afraid of you and your home.
As Animal Planet observes, cats are not vengeful animals. Thus, the fact that your pet stopped using the litter box is not a sort of punishment for something you did or failed to do.
Key Reasons for a Cat Not Using the Litter Box All of a Sudden
So, why this sudden change in your pet’s bathroom habits? There are several possible explanations. Maybe the cat simply has an issue with the litter box itself. Maybe there was a sudden change in your family dynamics. Or, maybe, your cat needs to be taken to the vet as soon as possible.
Here are some of the most common reasons why a cat stops using the litter box:
1. You Changed the Litter Box
You thought you’d treat your furbaby to a hi-tech litter box that eliminates odors, cleans itself and even diagnoses health problems. Guess what, Miss Kitty preferred her old litter box, battered and scratched as it was.
A good idea if you want to change the litter box is to keep the old one for a wile. If you have a case of cat not using the litter box all of a sudden, you know what to do: bring back the old one and see whether you can return the fancy purchase or gift it to another cat owning friend.
2. Improper Discharge or Spraying?
In some cases, a cat is purposefully not using a litter box because it is marking its territory. “But Mister Paw is neutered!” you exclaim. It does not matter. According to the Humane Society, even a spayed/neutered cat can spray if it is stressed.
Now, why would a pampered house cat be stressed? Remember, cats are creatures of habit. A new baby, a new hobby that takes you away from home, your son leaving for college or uncle Bertie moving in until he can have his flooded house renovated are elements that will stress a cat.
Even sensory overloads, like noise from the neighbors’ extensive repair works can cause your cat to start spraying as a sign of stress.
3. You Changed the Location of the Litter Box
You thought you could save some space and moved the litter box to a corner. Here’s the bad news: your cat wants it back in its original location. It is incredible how pedantic cats be about their personal hygiene, right?
However, if you really need the extra space, you may teach your cat to adapt to the new litter box location. It takes a lot of patience and several rounds of accidents. So, if you are really bothered by a cat not using the litter box all of a sudden, restore the box to its original place.
4. You Started Using a Litter Liner
Litter liners help you clean the litter box with less effort and mess. But they may also deter your cat from using its litter box. Many of these products are imbibed with perfume or substances that absorb pee odor. And many cats do not like these scents.
Thus, they will just stop using the litter box until you do the right thing and stop using these liners. Remember, what smells nice to you can be absolutely unpleasant to your cat.
5. Your Cat Is Ill
We don’t like to imagine our furry friends getting sick, but it happens. Your duty is to discover the signs and take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. A cat not using the litter box all of a sudden may suffer from urinary tract disease or inflammatory bowel disease.
If you see your cat specifically choosing the carpet to pee, it may be because it associates litter with the painful sensation when it urinates. Or, if you see your cat straining to go in an inappropriate place, it may mean that it is constipated or has more serious conditions.
The vet will soon determine the cause and, with proper medication, your cat will be healthy and back in its litter box.