Older Cat Not Using Litter Box

An older cat may be affected by numerous old age problems and you may often find him eliminating outside the litter box. This may be due to a urinary tract infection, but there are also other causes leading to this behavior. The problem can be solved as soon as the underlying condition is detected.

Causes of an Older Cat Not Using the Litter Box

An older cat may eliminate outside the litter box even if he is neutered. Cats not using the litter box or spraying around the house do this during the mating season or simply to mark his territory. This behavior is less likely to happen in older cats, as older cats, even if not neutered are less active and less aggressive.

If you find you cat urinating or defecating in the home, outside the litter box area, you may suspect the following reasons:

  • Urinary tract infections, which make the urination painful and can determine the cat to urinate outside the litter box, considering it a pain causative agent
  • Loss of sight, as the cat may not find the litter box
  • Loss of smell, as the cat is often guided by his sense of smell to find the litter box or other things
  • A problem in the urinary tract such as a tumor
  • Arthritis and the incapacity to move, especially if the litter box is not easily accessible and the cat must jump over certain obstacles to get to it

Additional Symptoms

To detect the underlying problem, you should watch out for additional symptoms such as:

  • Straining to urinate, blood in the urine or increased thirst, which point to a urinary tract infection or a tumor affecting the bladder or the urinary tract
  • Bumping into furniture and no response to visual stimuli, indicative of blindness
  • Lack of appetite or refusal to eat, which may be due to the loss of smell or an illness

Making the Cat Use the Litter Box

A cat that has a urinary tract infection can be treated with antibiotics and liquid therapy, so that the infectious agents will be flushed out the cat’s system. Once the infection has cleared, the cat is very likely to return to the litter box, as the urination will no longer be painful.

You will have to make a few changes in order to help your cat use the litter box.

If your cat has lost his sense of smell, you will have to place the litter box in the cat’s sight and monitor your pet, getting the litter box closer whenever he tries to eliminate outside the litter box.

If the cat cannot see, you should make sure the litter you use is always fresh, as the cat will use his sense of smell to detect the litter box.

If your pet has problems moving, you should place the litter box close to him and clean it after each usage.

Diapers for senior felines are also available, if the problem cannot be solved.