Cats are usually great at using a litter box. It is generally instinctual and not even their natural mother needs to teach them how to use a litter box. However, every once and a while, you come across a cat that does their business a little differently.
So, when that cat is your furry friend, how do you get your cat to use the litter box? Traditionally, there is no method of getting your pet to use the litter box like there are potty training regimens for dogs. Fortunately, there are ways that humans can teach cats to use the litter box (and there are also plenty of reasons that your cat is not using the litter box).
Why Do Cats Use a Litter Box
Cats have a natural instinct that usually leads them to the litter box. Cats were not created in captivity. Even your tabby’s ancestors were once wild cats. When cats were (and still are) wild, they realized that predators can find them easier if their business smells. Therefore, the cat’s survival instincts kicked in and led them to bury their business in the sand.
The reason cats use a litter box is easily summed up in this quote from PetSmart resident veterinarian Jordan Cassidy, DVM, “Cats have an inherent desire to bury their waste in order to cover their scent from other animals. Given the texture and consistency of most commercially available cat litters, it makes it easier for cats to cover their droppings, which is what naturally draws them towards a litter box.”
However, the domesticated cat has also achieved a strong opinion of where they should go to do their business. While some of the reasons a cat refuses to use a litter box are a little strange to us humans, most of their reasons make perfect sense.
Reasons a Cat Won’t Use the Litter Box
There is nothing wrong with your cat if they do not use a litter box. It is just a weird situation for you. Plus, it can be quite smelly. If your cat did use a litter box and now doesn’t, here are a few reasons why they might now opt for a potted plant or even your sink or bathtub: