5 Juicy Tips on How to Retrain a Cat to Use the Litter Box After a UTI

By Davis Wilkins •  Updated: 03/12/23 •  7 min read
Upright seated cat

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Have you ever tried to retrain a cat to use the litter box after a UTI?

A common problem a lot of cat owners run into is their cats getting UTIs. If you can relate, then this post is exactly what you need!

Bacteria cause cat UTIs.

The most common types of bacteria that cause UTIs in cats are:

After a urinary tract infection, it can be difficult for your cat to keep the litter box clean.

Even though your cat may have been doing their business in the same spot before, after the infection, there could be urine and stool that has dried on the carpet or on top of the litter box that needs to be cleaned up.

 If you don’t clean this up regularly, it could lead to other problems with your cat using the litter box.

To help retrain him or her back to using it properly, you should start by cleaning up any urine-dried areas and then make sure that your cat has access to fresh water at all times.

I will show you how to retrain your kitty to use the cat box after UTI, as well as how to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Why did my cat stop using the litter box after a UTI?

A cat with a urinary tract infection (UTI) is likely to urinate outside of the litter box, and might also have difficulty urinating.

This is because the cat is in pain.

Many UTIs begin as a bladder infection, which causes the bladder to become inflamed and irritated.

The cat may also be experiencing pain from an existing kidney infection or another medical condition that causes inflammation in the body.

Cats with urinary blockages due to UTIs often have a difficult time getting the urine out of their urethra, which can make it more difficult for them to urinate in the box.

When your cat is sick, he will not use the litter box.

He may also try to hide from you because he does not want to be touched by you.

Try to keep him away from other cats as well so that they do not get sick as well.

Even if your cat urinates outside, he will still have an infection because he has not been dealing with it properly.

If you find your cat urinating outside the litter box, please take them to the vet immediately to rule out any issues with their urinary tract or kidneys.

How do I retrain my cat to use the litter box?

If you want to get your cat to pee in the litter box again, it’s not as hard as it might seem.

You however need to be patient and do it gradually.

1.    Right environment:

You can retrain your cat to use the litter box by providing the right environment and making sure the cat is comfortable with the process of going to the box.

The location should be quiet and private away from traffic and loud noises pls

 The best place for this would be near one of their favorite spots and away from other animals or humans that might frighten them.

2.    Give them each their own litter box:

Keep it in the same place every time they poop, and give your cat lots of praise when they do use the box.

3.    Reward him:

Once your cat starts using the litter box regularly, start by giving treats every time he goes in.

This will reinforce the behavior and make it more likely that he’ll continue to use it on his own.

If he decides not to use it for whatever reason (maybe he prefers another spot), don’t reward him for not using it: Just leave him alone because eventually, he will go back there again on his own.

4.    Litter box hygiene:

Ensure that the litter box is cleaned frequently and thoroughly. If it’s not, then the cat will associate the litter box with a dirty environment, which can be dangerous for both of you.

When you have done all these things, then it will only be a matter of time before your cat starts using the litter box on its own accord.

5.    Enzymatic cleaner:

If your cat has a slip-up and poops or pees in a location outside the litter box, you need to get rid of the waste and smell from that spot.

This will prevent him from going back to that same spot and turning it into his toilet.

To completely get rid of any smell, use an enzymatic cleaner that has the ability to break down the waste completely getting rid of any odor.

Remember your cat has a heightened sense of smell that you do, so don’t just use soap and water and assume it’s good to go since you can’t smell it.

If you have multiple cats and only one cat had a UTI, then give them each their litter box and follow the steps above.

How to train an older cat to use a litter tray

To train an older cat to use a litter tray, use the procedure outlined above.

The only difference is that you will need to use an open-tray litter box and exercise more patience with your cat.

How long does it take to retrain a cat to use the litter box?

Most cats are very fast learners and can be trained to use the litter box in a short period.

This is especially true if you have a kitten who is still young, or if your cat has been trained previously.

The length of time it takes to retrain a cat to use the litter box depends on the cat and its personality, but for most cats, it shouldn’t take more than a month.

If your cat is young and hasn’t had many accidents in the past, you may be able to get them going in just a few days.

For older cats or those who have had many accidents, it can take longer.

What to do with a cat that refuses to use the litter box?

If your cat has refused to use the litter box to poop or pee, the first thing you need to do is contact your veterinary officer to have your cat examined.

Once you rule out any urinary tract condition or illness such as FLUTD, then you can focus on behavioral training.

Do this by training or retraining your cat on how to use a litter box.

Follow the steps outlined above.

Can a UTI cause a cat to pee outside the litter box?

Yes a UTI can cause a cat to pee outside the litter box since the cat associates the pain in urination with the litter box.

This causes him to end up peeing outside the litter box, in the hope that the pain will be relieved.


If your cat has had a UTI, it’s best to retrain them to use the litter box again.

There are some key things you need to do that your veterinarian should be able to help with.

It is a bit of work, but if your cat has had a UTI or two, it shouldn’t be too hard for them to learn how to use the litter box again.

Different cats have different relearning curves and you just need the patience to retrain a cat as it can take weeks.

Consistency and patience are needed to truly train your cat to use the litter box correctly.

And you can do it!

Davis Wilkins

Davis Wilkins is a dedicated cat lover, with three cats under his care. He grew up in a cat-loving family, nurturing these feline friends. As a result, he purposed to share his cat knowledge with the universe. Wilkins has been writing professionally for over four years, specializing in feline care with a keen interest in litter box care and handling. He hopes to help other feline lovers achieve their pet care goals.

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