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Why will my cat not use the litter tray?

covered cat litter trayThere could be any number of reasons why your cat does not use the litter tray you have provided him with and we would need more detail on the problem to offer specific advice. However, there are a number of areas that you could look at to ensure that you cat feels happy about using the facilities you are providing.

It may be that your cat has experienced pain or discomfort on using the litter tray and associates this with using the tray. The best advice would be for you to take him along to your vet for a check up. A general rule of thumb, especially for indoor cats, is that you need to provide one litter tray, plus one spare per cat. Cats don’t tend to like to share their litter tray facilities and, being fastidious creatures, prefer their tray to be clean each time they visit.

Try altering the type of litter you use. Some cats have a preference. Make changeovers gradually, mixing the new litter in with the old. If you’ve been using a large granular litter, change to a finer product, and fill the tray so that the cat has a good depth to dig in. A litter which clumps when wet will enable you to keep the tray cleaner.

Scooping immediately after they have been used and replacing the litter at least once a week suits most cats. The tray should be cleaned without using any substance that is highly perfumed or simulates urine smell, such as scented ammonia-based disinfectants.

Avoid additions like deodorizers and tray liners too, as they can also put cats off using their trays. Litter tray design is also important. Make sure your choice of tray is large enough for the cat to move around in and, if he’s older, that he can easily climb in and out of. A covered litter tray helps to provide privacy, along with helping to ensure litter remains within the tray! Look out also for a new generation of automated cat litter trays which can be programmed to remove soiled litter and solid matter.

On the subject of privacy, think about where you have positioned the litter tray. If your cat was disturbed or frightened while using the tray, he may be deterred from going back to use it again. Instead, place it in a quiet room where he won’t be disturbed by people or other animals passing by — a utility room or downstairs toilet for example.

Article taken from the March issue of Your Cat Magazine with their kind permission

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