What You Should Know about Litter Aversion

Litter aversion is one of the most common causes of house-soiling, a major complaint amongst cat owners. If your cat is experiencing litter aversion, read the information below which describes the reasons why litter aversion occurs, how you can tell if your cat is suffering from litter aversion, and what you can do to solve the problem.

Causes of Litter Aversion

Litter aversion is most often the result of a medical illness, usually a disorder of the urinary or gastrointestinal tract. However, below are some other reasons why your cat may be experiencing litter aversion:

  • The litter isn't clean enough; most cats prefer their litter as clean as possible;
  • Your cat may be put off by the smell of the litter;
  • Your cat may be experiencing fear and anxiety related to litter box use. This can occur if you are in the habit of catching your cat in the litter box to administer medication. Also, if one cat in your home often attacks another while he or she is in the litter box, then the victimized cat could develop a fear of kitty litter boxes;
  • Your cat may not like the texture of the litter and avoid stepping into the box;
  • If you're using a plastic litter liner, your cat's claws may be catching in it when he or she tries to bury the waste;
  • There may be too little or too much litter in the box;
  • He or she may experience separation anxiety when at the litter box;
  • He or she may doesn't get enough privacy while using the box, and;

There may be too many cats using the same box; most cats prefer their own box and it is recommended that each cat in a multi-cat household should have their own box.

Signs of Litter Aversion

Here are some common signs that your cat may exhibit if he or she is experiencing litter aversion:

  • He or she avoids the litter box altogether;
  • He or she scratches the sides of the box, the floor, the walls, or other objects nearby the litter box;
  • He or she does not dig in the litter before urinating or defecating;
  • He or she perches on the edges of the box with his or her feet to avoid touching the litter;
  • He or she runs out of the box very quickly after using it, and;
  • He or she meows, barks, or otherwise vocalizes at the cat litter box.

Litter Aversion Solutions

Make sure your cat is healthy and free of gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections. These afflictions can limit your cat's ability to control his or her bowels and bladder, which can cause accidents outside of the litter box. Additionally, make sure that the box is clean on a daily basis. Clumping litter is a great option to consider since you can remove lumps and solid waste easily. Removing the waste as soon as possible cuts down on odor and keeps the box clean for your cat. Traditional litters should be completely changed weekly and clumping litters can be completely changed monthly. You can also experiment with the depth of litter in the box. Pile the litter deeper on one end and watch to see which end your cat seems to prefer.

To give your cat more privacy, move your cat's litter box to a more private location. A covered litter box can enhance your cat's sense of privacy and will allow your cat to feel more comfortable. Because the box is intended to be private, do not administer medication to your cat as this will frighten him or her. Be sure make these and any other changes to the litter, litter box, and the box's location gradually.