6 Steps To Take If Your Cat Isn’t Using The Litter Tray



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Cats are sensitive creatures, and they can be very particular when it comes to toileting. Consider these points if your cat is not using its litter tray.

6 Steps To Take If Your Cat Isn't Using The Litter Tray. Young black cat with orange eyes walking away from a teal coloured litter tray with wooden pellets in the base, facing towards the right of the image. on a light wooden floor with a cream sofa, plant pot and cream sheer curtain in the background

1. Location Location Location

Cats can feel vulnerable when toileting, but they also like being near their humans.

  • A high-traffic area is not a good place for a litter tray; your cat will not approve of it, and there’s a risk of the litter tray getting tripped over or knocked over. Then there’s the smell!
  • An out-of-the-way area or a room not commonly used may make the cat decide it’s not ideal for it.
  • The litter tray should be somewhere the cat is familiar and comfortable with.
  • It should be in an area that is easily accessible for your cat and have an escape route for your cat if it gets spooked. You don’t want doors to accidentally close and stop your cat from getting to the litter tray.
  • The litter tray should be in a warm, quiet and well-lit area of the house.
  • The litter tray should not be near your cat’s food and water bowls.

2. How Many Is Too Many

Each cat should have a litter tray plus one extra for multi-cat households.

How Many Is Too Many. 6 Steps To Take If Your Cat Isn't Using The Litter Tray. 5 different coloured covered litter boxes, with 3 cats, one fluffly grey and white cat, one brown and black striped with white chest and white front leg, one brown and black striped cat, sat on them, on a wooden floor with a white wall in the background

I have one cat, Pickles, and one litter tray. Pickles is an indoor and outdoor cat. Pickles prefers to go to the toilet outside, but we have a litter tray indoors for when he can’t go outside.

Some cats dislike urinating and defecating in the same litter tray. So, if you find your cat is only urinating in the litter tray, you may need a separate litter tray for defecation.

3. What’s That Smell

Cats have an acute sense of smell. Their noses are around 14 times better than humans! If the litter tray hasn’t been cleaned regularly, your cat won’t want to use it.

There are a lot of scented cat litter on the market now. If you have bought a scented litter, the smell may be too overwhelming for your cat’s nose, so put it off using the litter tray.

4. That Feels Nasty

The next thing to consider if your cat still won’t use the litter tray is the texture of the litter. A cat’s paws are sensitive, and if your cat doesn’t like the feel of the litter, it won’t go into the litter tray.

That Feels Nasty. 6 Steps To Take If Your Cat Isn't Using The Litter Tray. Left of image, green litter tray with wooden pellet litter and green poop scoop lifting out puffed out pellets. On the right of the image a purple litter tray with grey gravel litter, and a pink pooper scooper

My cat Pickles wouldn’t use the litter tray until I swapped it to a different litter. He didn’t like the gravel type that we had; our old cat didn’t mind it. We changed to a wood fibre litter, and it solved the problem.

5. Can’t Fit, So Can’t Sit

The litter tray must be big enough for your cat to get in and out of to do its business comfortably.

Another reason may be that the tray is too high for your cat to get in and out of. This is especially true if your cat is older.

Some cats also prefer a litter box, which has a covered lid.

6. Something Not Quite Right

If you have checked all the usual suspects, your cat used the litter tray but now doesn’t. It’s time for a check-up at the vet. Your cat may have a medical condition, making it difficult to use or get to the litter tray. If you’ve gone through the other options, it’s always safest to consult your vet.

I hope you enjoyed this article. You can find more cat related articles here:

What Smells Do Cats Hate

Can You Move A Cat’s Litter Box

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