Question: Why is my cat not using the litterbox?
Answer: I wish I had an answer that solved this problem every time, but because this problem can be multifactorial, I cannot give a definite solution. Basically, litterbox aversion is either physical or behavioral, and a veterinary examination is required to tell the difference, along with appropriate laboratory testing.
Physical problems are corrected with medications or surgery, while behavioral issues are more challenging to control, but can be handled with medications and environmental manipulation. If the litterbox is too small, your cat will not like it. The litterbox should be 1 ½ times the length of your cat. If your litterbox is too dirty, your cat will not use it. Make sure you use a scent-free litter and that you clean it with just dish soap and no fragrances. Ideally, the box should be cleaned after every use or at least daily, and there should be 2 inches of litter in the box. If the litterbox is challenging to access, your cat will avoid it. I understand that you do not want the box to be in a central area, but if you hide it too much, your cat will not appreciate the fact that it is hard to get to. Find a compromise location that is satisfactory for you and your cat. As always, you will be more successful at resolving this and other problems by involving your veterinarian. Please give us a call anytime, as it would be our pleasure to assist you with all your pet health concerns.
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Gary Beall DVM
Chip Beall DVM
Springboro Veterinary Hospital
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