Causes of Poor Elimination Behaviour And Their Solutions

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cat bathroom etiquette

Cats are fastidious creatures and naturally, they tend to instinctively bury their waste upon elimination. This is why litter box training in most cases is a smooth process.

They also eliminate as far away as possible from their feeding areas especially in the wild to avoiding spooking prey or leading a predator to their nest.

However, various factors must be in play to ensure that proper cat bathroom etiquette is observed.

Getting the right type of cat litter, the right litter box to where it is placed all play into ensuring that no house soiling occurs.

These and more factors are important in ensuring that litter box use occurs without accidents and that no smelly deposits are found on your favorite flower pot.


  • Urine spraying
  • Eliminating outside the litter box
  • Failure to bury the waste
  • Splashes litter outside the litter box

Did you know that the number one reason why cats are thrown into shelter homes or banished from homes is because of elimination problems due to poor cat bathroom etiquette?

This should never be the case and you can apply these simple but effective tactics to solve this nasty problem.


1. Poor litter texture or change of litter:

Cats, especially older ones are accustomed to using a particular type of cat litter upon which any change will cause them to reject it and choose to eliminate in a different spot.

They don’t care that you passed by the store and found this colorful newlitter on a huge discount!

If the litter type is of poor quality and the cat doesn’t accept it, you will be forced to invest in a better litter type that is acceptable to your cat.

Remember, your cat decides which litter they want to use. They are your boss!

Solution: If it is extremely necessary to change the litter type for one reason or the other, add a bit of the new litter into the litter box and mix it with the current one. Continue adding more and more of the new litter over time as the cat gets used to the feeling until you completely replace the existing litter.

Cats prefer clumping litter because the sand-like feel resembles soil.

2. Change of litter box type:

Just like a change of litter type will cause your cat to rebel, so does changing the litter box.

Moving from an open litter box to a hooded box may cause your cat to feel caged and hence panic causing him to abandon the litter tray.

Solution: Avoid abrupt change of boxes but place the new one adjacent to the current one and allow the cat to familiarize himself with it. After he is comfortable using the new box, get rid of the old one.

For hooded boxes, take the lid of initially until your cat is able to use the box without a problem.

3. Dirty litter box:

Soiled litter is uncomfortable for use by your cat and may end up soiling your house due to this.

Solution: Always ensure that daily scooping occurs and a box cleaning at least once a week.

4. Litter box location:

High traffic areas and zones with loud noises such as the laundry room will cause your cat to feel exposed and afraid. They may end up abandoning the litter box eventually.

Solution: Place the box in a quiet, secure peaceful area that’s easily accessible.

5. Size of the box:

If the box is too small such that your cat cannot fit in comfortably, he may choose to use a different spot to relieve himself.

Solution: Invest in a large box that allows him to turn and scratch the litter without parts of the body hanging outside or spilling any litter.

6. Design of the litter box:

Hooded boxes tend to trap moisture and odors causing the cat to feel suffocated.

Solution: Scoop the box more frequently or remove the hood altogether.

7. Stressful situations:

Environmental stressors may cause your cat to result to marking behaviors such as urine spraying. Stressors involve, moving homes, presence of a new pet, sight of strange cats outside the homestead, loss of a human in the home, illness, among other reasons.

Solution: Rule out any medical condition by consulting with a veterinary officer. If the cat is in good health and simply reacting to an environmental cause, a good way to calm him is by using an artificial pheromone diffuser that mimics a cats facial pheromones. Feliway is a good option.

8. Too few boxes:

In a multi-cat household, having too few litter boxes may cause aggressive tendencies among the cats and cause the weaker ones to be bullied while using the boxes. This can cause them to look for alternative elimination safer places.

Solution: As a general rule, you should have a litter box for each cat plus an additional box for the number of cats present in the homestead.

9. Using scented litter:

Cats have heightened olfactory senses and what may be mild to you can be overwhelming to your cat. They may avoid using the litter because of this.

Solution: Simply go for unscented litter and scoop the box more frequently.

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