Things to do if your Cat isn’t using the litter box

Hi Heidi here, I thought I’d write a little on an issue that can be distressing & lots of cat people face sooner or later. Cats messing out of their litter boxes.

At PURR Luxury Cat Hotel the vast majority of our guests are great and go where they should go, happy days, however now and again we are faced with a cat that, well make a mess. So its on with the gloves and let the cleaning commence
Straight up – Anything with ammonia in it will not work. We clean with Oxivar which is a hospital grade disinfectant. (If you are Australian based you can get it from It is Very effective on all soft and hard surfaces and safe even for kittens. There are also some excellent odour control products around as an added way to keep everything smelling great. I recommend that you go and visit a specialised cleaning product shop you are much more likely to get something that really works, just be sure that it is safe for your cats. 

If the problem is reoccurring here are some ideas to try.

Firstly take your cat to the vet for a check up to make sure this new undesirable behaviour is not due to a health issue.

Also think about what may have changed in your cats world that has caused the problem.  Is there a new cat in the area that your cat feels threatened by.  Has there been a change at home or with you?

Are you keeping your cats litter tray really clean?  Remember when you were faced with a nasty toilet situation …..OK let’s not remember that Eeew…..Yep it’s our responsibility to make sure our cats can “go” in a clean place.

So on to some other ideas.

Physical solutions:
Get a really big tub or deep drawer unit that covers the entire area, makes it physically impossible to mess the space again (in the interim it needn’t be long term) and put the litter box inside that. Great for “Flingers” and “Squirters”

Get a small piece of carpet (IKEA sells a decent sized square piece for about $9) This is dead easy to soak in Oxivar and comes out clean, no smell! Put an impermeable layer under it, you can also get a roll of stick on carpet protection from hardware stores for added, still cover this as of course they will scratch it easily and it is then no help. Once you have cleaned the soiled area cover it with this then the litter box.

If you have a covered litter box ditch the lid.

Make sure the litter tray is big enough for your cat, cover the bottom well but don’t make it too deep.

Put out multiple litter boxes (yes ugly but again not necessarily forever) We use a pellet pine wood litter and instead of scooping we toss it as soon as it is soiled. Smells nice, its quick and cats really appreciate the totally clean litter. We haven’t had a cat reject this litter and care for cats from all walks of life, especially the finicky ones 🙂. Some cats even wait for us to put out clean litter in the morning if they have already used it at night, then use it, so out it goes again.

Finally I recommend crate training you cat, make it your cats favourite place to be (not a jail) Feed there for a good long time, put a favourite bed in there, something of yours that your cat loves, something for scratching, bribe with favourite treats, won’t be long before when you go looking for your cat that’s where you’ll find him/her. Then you can start shutting the door for short periods 2 mins and build it up to O/night. Make it your cats safe place (not a place of punishment, cats don’t understand that, they aren’t pack animals).

Hope this helps. Cheers Heidi.