Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Kitten's Failure to Use Litter Box

Question from Anna from Newark:
I have three kittens and one will not use the litter box. She likes to go on the carpet. It is an automatic litter box that cleans itself, so it is not dirty litter. Please help.

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
Automatic self-cleaning litter boxes are useful for people with busy schedules or for those who travel. However, I have heard several reports that cats are not always pleased with this type of box. My impression is that sometimes the cleaning mechanism can be triggered too early and the cat can become startled. A malfunction of the box can lead to a catís reluctance to use the box in the future.

If your other cats are happy with the self-cleaning box, you can continue to make it accessible. For the cat which is urinating or defecating on the carpet, provide at least one other regular litter box. If you have 3 cats, there should be at least 3, but preferably 4 litter boxes in your home. Spread the boxes out in different levels and areas of the house. If the additional boxes do not help, try a different brand of litter. Be sure to keep the litter boxes very clean!

Posted February 19, 2007

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