Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Healthy Cats

Select An Article
Font Size
A
A
A

Solving Cat Litter Box Problems

WebMD provides solutions to some common cat litter box problems.
By
WebMD Pet Health Feature
Reviewed by Audrey Cook, BVM&S

Cats are fastidious creatures, and nowhere is that more evident than in their litter box habits. When your cat won’t use the litter box -- and at least 10% of all cats develop an elimination problem -- the cause could be anything from an unclean box to an illness.

Before you try some easy strategies to get her back in the litter box, have her checked out by a veterinarian to rule out a health problem. If you’ve just introduced a new cat to your household, make sure the litter box is as cat-friendly as possible to prevent a problem in the future.

Recommended Related to Cats

Kidney Disease in Cats

Cats with kidney problems have a reduced ability to excrete waste products into their urine, leading to a potentially toxic build-up in the bloodstream. While some kidney problems occur suddenly, chronic kidney disease shows up more slowly over a period of time. Timely veterinary assessment with ongoing supportive care and dietary management can allow some cats with kidney problems to maintain an adequate quality of life.

Read the Kidney Disease in Cats article > >

WebMD looked at common litter box problems and solutions. Here’s what we found:

Reasons cats won’t use the litter box

These common litter box problems could be repelling your cat:

  • An unclean litter box
  • Too few litter boxes for the cats in the household
  • A cramped litter box
  • A litter box with a hood or liner
  • A litter box with sides that are high
  • Too much litter in the box
  • An uncomfortable location that doesn’t allow for privacy and multiple escape routes
  • A change in the kind of litter your use
  • Negative associations. Your cat may have been upset while using the box. She may also connect the box with painful elimination, even if her health is back to normal
  • Stressors like moving, adding new animals or family members to the household
  • A conflict with another cat in the household
  • A new preference for eliminating on certain surfaces or textures like carpet, potting soil, or bedding

Medical conditions and litter box problems

Your cat may have a medical condition that makes urinating too painful -- in or out of the litter box. Common medical conditions which may affect litter box use include:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI). If your cat frequently enters her litter box but produces small amounts of urine, she may have a UTI.
  • Feline interstitial cystitis. Feline interstitial cystitis is a complex disease that causes inflammation of the bladder. It can cause a cat to eliminate outside the litter box because of the urgency to urinate.
  • Bladder stones or blockage. If your cat has bladder stones or a blockage, she may frequently enter her litter box. She may also experience pain and mew or cry when she tries to eliminate. Her abdomen may be tender to the touch.

1 | 2 | 3
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

cat at table
What's safe for them to eat?
Maine Coon cat breed
What they do and why cats have them.
 
Kitten in litterbox
How to solve them.
cat meowing
Why some cats are so talkative
 
cat on couch
Evaluator
Kitten using litter box
Quiz
 
sleeping kitten
Slideshow
sad kitten looking at milk glass
Slideshow
 
cat at table
Slideshow
muddy dog on white sofa
Quiz
 
Maine Coon cat breed
Article
Pets: Behavior Problems in Cats
Slideshow