Help! My Cat Will Not Use The Litter Box!

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Rest assured, every kitty parent has come across this once in their cat’s life. Lucky for you, I am an expert on cat litter! No matter preference, health, texture, or smell, there always is a solid explanation that your kitty is trying to tell you. Here are some common reasons and methods to help your cat start using her potty again!


1 Take your cat to the vet to eliminate a medical issue

Sometimes our cats may be avoiding the litter box because she is either sick or in pain. A UTI (urinary tract infection) is one of the most common reasons but don’t underestimate that something serious might be going on. If your vet declares your kitty as perfectly healthy, start examining behavior and preference.

2 Cats are extremely clean animals

Did you know a cat’s nose is 14 times stronger than humans? Cats have 200 million odor sensors in their noses and twice as many receptors in the olfactory epithelium (odor-sensitive cells) as humans do. So, what does this mean? You may think avoiding cleaning the litter box isn’t such a bad idea but from your cat’s point of view, she definitely does not want to go where the odor is too much for her little nose to handle. Clean your litter box every day and change out your litter once a month to ensure a clean smelling box for your furry friend.

3 Texture is important

A cat’s paws are ultra-sensitive and a rough or weird feeling litter can make her feeling uneasy about using her litter box. The best way to determine if this is the issue is to try different textures of litters. For example: fill 3 litter boxes with pellets, loose litter, and ultra-fine litter. This way you can see which texture she feels most comfortable in and you can shy away from buying textures she may feel apprehensive about.

4 Your litter box is too small

Yes, the size of the litter box can be a huge factor! Your cat may feel crammed using her potty or if you have a hooded box, she may not like the feeling of such a small enclosed environment. Jackson Galaxy, cat behavioral specialist, reiterates that cats do not like being cornered or the feeling of having only 1 exit. We recommend avoiding a hooded litter box to avoid odors being trapped or your kitty initiating attack mode every time she uses her potty.

5 Stress from aggression

If you have two cats that do not get along and they are using the same litter box, we highly recommend getting an additional litter box and separating them so your cats can have a saferoom for when they need to use the litter box. Remember cats are very territorial and if they feel one of their resources is limited, this can result in future behavioral issues.

6 Shy or Social cat?

Depending on your cat’s personality, the location of the litter box is super important. If you have a shy cat, we recommend putting in somewhere with the least amount of traffic so she can feel safe while doing her business. If your cat is more outgoing and confident, location shouldn’t be such an issue but no matter what, keep it in a safe area, not cornered, and free of household traffic.

7 If all else fails, trail and error is the next step

Consider the type of litter, texture, size of her box, location, and number of litter boxes. Try different types of natural litters, different shapes and sizes of litter boxes, change the location of where she uses it, and maybe add an additional litter box in a different part of your household in case she can’t get to her original spot in time.


Remember that all cats have a preference, especially the cleanliness of their area. It may be the biggest chore but its worth doing for your furry friend’s nose. Of course, the Cocokitty team is always here to help and we are happy to answer any questions you might come across! Email us at or use our chat bubble in the bottom right corner.