There are multiple reasons why cats stop using a litter box. It is a clear sign that something is wrong, either with the cat, or the litter box.
Luckily for you, you can learn a lot of things about your cat when it stops using the litter box. In this article I will inform you about what makes a cat stop using the litter box.
First things first, never ever scream at your cat or throw things at it. I know that this is an instinctive thing to do when your cat pees on the carpet. This will only scare and confuse the life out of your cat. There isn't a single positive thing about this. Please, control yourself, the solution to make your cat use the cat litter box again is easier than you think.
Cats aren't seeking to annoy you in a vengeful fashion just because you didn't gave it food right on time. They are doing their "business" outside the box for some reason. Your job is to find out what exactly that reason is.
The main reason why your cat doesn't use the litter box anymore is because you don't clean or maintain it often.
Litter boxes are very nasty and disgusting places if not cleaned properly. They are source of various diseases that may be a great danger for the health of your cat. Not only that, tracking bacteria infected litter across your household is even a greater problem.
Your whole household will be in danger of getting infected with health damaging bacteria. You want to avoid this at all costs.
Let's use the following comparison: Would you use a toilet that hasn't been flushed for 2 days?
It is the same with cats. They are very pedant and clean creatures that hate mess just like humans. They really can't clean a smelly litter box on their own. All they can do is stop using it. If the box nastiness is the reason why your cat stopped using it, the cat does a huge favor to your household.
It won't track nasty litter that can cause toxoplasmosis across your household anymore.
Another cause that makes your cat stop using the litter box is when another cat in your household use the same box. Cats usually get "pissed off" when this happens.
They feel like their territory is being taken by another enemy cat. Also, as a very smell sensitive creatures, they hate smelling other cat's feces and urination. It is a major turn-off for your cat, especially if you have an elderly one.
That is why there is a famous rule across the cat-owner community: For example, if you possess 5 cats, get 5 different litter boxes for each and every cat.
The main reason why this rule is still dominant in the pet supply industry is because cats really stop using their litter box as soon as another cat pees or urinates in the same box. To keep things safe, you must follow this famous rule.
Sometimes changing the litter type will be negatively affect the willingness of your cat to eliminate inside the litter box.
Probably the main reason why is because they are very sensitive to the smell, texture and feel on their paws of the litter that is used. Choosing a cheaper litter is probably the main reason that causes this. Being more economical is sometimes a bad idea.
Always choose litter that is both affordable and has good customer reviews.
You probably can't go wrong with litters of this type. Be aware that some litter boxes only accept certain types of litters. If you fill traditional, cheap and dusty litter inside the LitterMaid Mega automatic litter box, it can damage the rake and the motor.
I just want you to observe the cat's behavior if you decide to change the litter. If your cat starts avoiding the litter box, after you've changed the litter type, it is a clear sign that it simply resents that particular type of litter. It isn't a big deal.
The above mentioned 3 reasons why your cat stopped using the litter box are probably your fault. Not maintaining and cleaning the litter box once a week, not getting enough litter boxes for your feline family and pouring in some cheap and low quality litter are easily fixable.
Here is a complete cat litter box cleaning guide.
If your cat still avoids using the freshly bought modern litter box, it is probably the cat's health that is at jeopardy. In the text below I will talk more about the health of your cat as the reason why it stops using a litter box.
When your cat starts using the carpet instead of the litter box, it may be a clear indicator that your cat has some kind of a health issue.
You have to use your observation talents to notice whether your cat has some health issue. If it starts straining/meowing/crying right before it urinates, it is a sign of a urinary tract infection. It means that your cat is at pain when it eliminates.
Also, if it urinates more frequently than normally, or cannot "hold it up" until it reaches the litter box chances are very high that it has some kind of UTI.
Beside this, feline diarrhea or constipation can lead your cat to urinate or defecate anywhere without second thought. Don't panic. Urinary tract infections among cats are very common. Usually they happen because the cat's diet isn't right on point.
Observing and determining that your cat has urinary tract infection on your own, and searching for a quick solution on the internet, is not the right way to go. You must bring your cat to the veterinarian.
The vet will do pH level and crystal level tests to check whether URI is the problem causing your cat to resent using the litter box. You have to patient until your cat is normal again. Patience is a virtue. It may take up to a month before your cat starts using the litter box like it used to.
Health factors are a great reason why cats stop using the litter box. If your diabetic cat stopped using litter box, it is pretty much the health issues that caused that.
All you can do in this case is to visit the veterinarian, and let him/her do the testing. I always advice cat owners that have similar problems is to explain the situation in detail to your vet.
Explain how your cat strains/meows/cries when it eliminates. If your cat is diabetic, ask for a special diet that will bring the health of your cat to normal. If you truly love and value the life of your cat, you should do every necessary step I've written about in this text.
When the diabetic cat follows a strict diet but still refuses to use the litter box, it is up to you to satisfy the above mentioned 3 rules. But if the cat still resents using the box, I'd say it is time to invest in a new, modern and self-cleaning litter box. If your cat is diabetic, forget about buying a top entry cat litter box. The entry hole is just too small for overweight cats.
Mine, and the experience of many fellow cat owner experts says that automatic self-maintaining litter boxes have better reputation for diabetic cats. I understand that you will spend a few more bucks on those modern electric boxes, but it is completely worth it. It will save the health of the family members that live inside your household.
Tracking nasty litter and letting your cat pee and urinate everywhere across your household is a no-no. It will spread a disgusting odor and cause all kinds of health problems. If you are having trouble with this check out these best cat litter boxes for odor control.
It is actually normal to your cat to stop using the litter box for a while after a surgery. It mostly depends on the type of surgery.
If the cat's surgery is orthopedic, you have to wait at least 3-4 weeks until your cat continues to use the box like it used to. I know that this is painful for both you and your cat. But, I know that you can endure this. Time will fly and you won't even notice that a month passed by.
After the cat is recovered, it should naturally continue to use the box. Remember to keep the litter box clean. There is nothing that turns-off cat's more than a nasty litter box.
So after your cat stopped using litter box after surgery, you should keep in mind that one your cat properly recovers, it should continue using the litter box like nothing ever happened. Don't fall into the comfort zone or even lose the habit of scooping the litter or cleaning the entire box once every week. For injured cats I'd prefer low entry litter boxes.
Even if no cat uses the box, you can practice cleaning it, so the habit will not be broken. Knowing how to deal with you and your cat after it stops using the litter box requires a great amount of self-control and willpower.
Going through all of this will make you a greater cat owner than majority of people who cannot deal with this and give their loved cats to adoption.