Making the world a better place for all cats starts with the litter box and finding the magic combination is something all of us cat mummas out there strive to do. It is one of the topics that I find myself talking about the most, and interestingly enough I have become quite the expert on cat toilet habits.

Some cats are chilled and cool and just use the litter tray because that’s what their mum taught them to do and its an inbuilt instinct. However, cats come in all different personality types, and just like there are finicky eaters, there are also cats that can be particular about their toilet habits.

It’s a matter of problem solving!

As a cat owner, we are often detectives and problem solvers. The issues around cat waste elimination is one of the regularly occurring things we need to solve. Just when everything is working as it should, someone might just decide they don’t like it like that anymore and change their habits. If this occurs the first thing you need to do is look for any differences in environment. From a new visitor to a thunder storm can upset the toilet balance.

Litter plays a big part.

There are a number or reasons that cats might decide not to use a litter tray. From a litter perspective, they might not like the texture, the clumping when they dig, or perhaps the smell. They might not like how it feels on their paws, to hard or to soft or there isn’t enough litter in the tray or there is to much. If they are an outdoorsy kind of creature, then using some soil in the litter to lure them in can work wonders, you slowly reduce the amount of soil while increasing the litter and keep it something that is very natural to touch and smell.

You can also test different litter side by side to see which your cat prefers. This takes a little time, effort and investment, but your cat is worth it. Once you find what they like to use, don’t make to many changes. Cats like consistency.

To find out more than you ever really wanted to know about litter, check out this YouTube video.


What about the tray?

You have to also consider the tray itself. Perhaps its to big, or to small, or to high and they have trouble getting access to it. Or they like to perch on the edge of the tray and the rim isn’t wide enough to do so! (one of my cats personal favourites). Or perhaps it has a hood and they don’t like that. Or perhaps it doesn’t have a hood, and they would prefer that it did. As cats get older they often have isues getting in and out of the box, so keep that in mind for our elderly crew.

We need to get our detective hat on and see if we can work out what their preference is.

Location location location!

Just like in real estate, location is very important. Is it out in the open, or is it to hard to get to? Is it in a noisy area or in a quite one. does she like to have privacy or are they an exhibitionist. They will look for a space that is easy to escape if there are others in the house. You don’t want to get caught with your pants down so to speak!

So many reasons!

Or is the box not clean enough? Cats have good hygiene and prefer a clean box. Do they have to share it with others? The rule for multicat homes is one tray per cat plus a spare. I have a cat that needs 2 just for him as he likes to poop in one and wee in the other!!

Or were they startled by the tray make weird noises when they were done and then the poop magically disappears (I’ve hear this one with the automatically cleaning trays)? if the cat is startled mid-way through, a cat might be hesitant to go back again. It might take some retraining on your part. You could try moving the tray to a different location, add additional options around the house so they can find the location that they like the best. Don’t put a cat into the litter box, even if you are just trying to show them it is safe. This may backfire and make her dislike her box even more. And don’t put their food near their tray. Leave some toys or play near her box. Make the areas that you don’t want them to eliminate less desirable if possible. Look for a well ventilated area that no one can sneak up on them in. And if you have a long haired cat, sometimes a little trim around the back end will also help. Fur that gets caught on the poop on the way out can be painful and can be a reason a cat dislikes the litter tray.

Kittens learn many things from their mum and siblings. By observation and scent, a kitten will follow mums example and learn how to use this odd shaped box. Cats in the wild try to not pollute the environment randomly but keep their waste under control so predators wont find them. Although this is a natural instinct, there is evidence that cats learn the litter box skills from their mum much quicker and better than if they leave her side to young.  


Not everyone is as smart as Charlie the Nepalese Street cat who’s story you can ready here!

Its always a good idea to talk to your vet if the problem not solved. Think of it as a quest! It might take some time and patience, but you will work it out eventually. And if you need some help send me an email at and I will see what I can suggest.

Charlie the nepalese street cat who can use a human litter box!

I do my best thinking inside the box!

The perfect card for the perfect perfectionist. Check it out at the Cat Mumma Shop!

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