5 Causes of Litter Box Problems in Cats

Your Cat Doesn't Like the Litter Box or Its Location
Maybe Kitty doesn't want to share her bathoom space with you! © Vstock LLC/Tetra Images/Corbis

Placing the litter box out of sight in the utility room seems like the ideal solution, doesn't it? Unfortunately, your cat doesn't agree. She's been eliminating on the living room carpet instead. Now what?

It's time to think like a real estate agent: location, location, location. If your cat's litter box is difficult to reach, she won't use it. Would you want to march to an outhouse in the middle of the night? Plus, if the litter box is near a noisy furnace, dryer or other appliance, she might have a hard time relaxing and getting down to business.

To find the perfect litter box placement, keep these additional parameters in mind:

  • Don't place the litter box near your cat's food and water.
  • If you live in a multi-level home, place a litter box on each level.
  • Place the litter box in a private, but convenient-to-your-cat location. If you select a closet or bathroom, be sure there is plenty of opportunity for your cat to enter and exit -- or install a cat door.
  • Make sure there is at least one litter box for each cat.

The type of litter box matters, too. Some cats don't like covered litter boxes, while others appreciate the coziness. Covered litter boxes trap odors inside, so be vigilant about cleanup. If your cat's litter box becomes too full of feces or urine, she will avoid the mess -- and the smell -- and may start to use other parts of your home as a makeshift loo [source: HSUS].