Feline Litterbox Problems

Litterbox use problems in cats can be diverse and complex. There are many reasons why a cat might stop using their litter box consistently.  Sometimes it is due to things going on in the environment such as a conflict between multiple cats in a home or a dislike for the litter-box type or the litter itself, but sometimes it is a sign of disease.

Litter box issues can be a cat’s way of letting you know something is wrong, so don’t ignore it. Cats can suffer from urinary tract infections (UTI), bladder stones, emergency urinary blockages, arthritis, musculoskeletal pain, and other conditions that may affect their litter box habits.

Any medical condition that interferes with a cat’s normal urination or defecation behavior can cause litter box problems. Inflammation of the urinary tract, for instance, can make urinating painful and increase the frequency and urgency of urination. These experiences can cause a cat to urinate or defecate outside the litter box, particularly if he associates the litter box with pain. Kidney and thyroid diseases as well as diabetes mellitus are also possible culprits in a failure to use the litter box, as they often lead a cat to drink more and urinate more frequently. Similarly, digestive tract problems may make it painful for a cat to defecate, increase the frequency or urgency, and decrease a cat’s control over defecation. Finally, age-related diseases that interfere with a cat’s mobility or with his cognitive functions can influence his ability to get to the litter box in time.

A common and frustrating problem, inappropriate elimination can be difficult to control. A full resolution depends on early intervention, followed by detective work to determine the cause of the behavior, and time and effort on your part to solve the problem. In partnership with veterinarians, both cats and the people who love them can live in harmony and good health. Let’s work together to figure it out!