Are you frustrated with trying to figure out why your cat is peeing on the rug? All cat owners who have been through this problem (and there are a lot of us out there), have wondered the same thing. Perhaps this guide will assist you in finding the trigger that is causing your cat distress.

Top 10 reasons why cats will stop using their litter box normally

If you want to safely neutralize cat urine smell, we recommend:

  • OLDER CAT WITH ARTHRITIS – if your cat is over 10 years old, he/she is a senior citizen. Like with humans, older cats can develop arthritis, which is an inflammation of the joints. It makes moving around painful and difficult. Sometimes the litter box may be too far away, or the sides too high for your cat to easily get to.


  • OLDER CATS WITH DEMENTIA – just like with humans, older cats can suffer from dementia – mental confusion. Your older cat might forget sometimes where the litter box is, especially if it is on another level of the house.


  • OTHER MEDICAL ISSUES – other medical reasons why your cat may not be using the litter box can include hyperthyroidism, diabetes, urinary tract infection and kidney disease. Some of these conditions are treatable, and some of them are very serious. Do not “guess” and gamble with your pets life. Go to the vets and have the medical problems ruled out with a few tests.


  • SMELLY LITTER BOX – cats have an extremely sensitive sense of smell (much better than humans can detect). If the litter box smells yucky to your cat, they might avoid using it, and do their business somewhere else.


  • COVERED LITTER BOX – many cats do not prefer the kind of litter box that has a cover on it. They feel trapped if they cannot look around, and they may avoid using a covered litter box.


  • CHANGE OF LITTER TYPE – cats can be very particular about the type of litter they like and if you chance the type of litter (sometimes even just the brand) they might avoid using the litter box. Most cats do not like a scented litter (ex. ‘fresh’ scents or ‘mountain air’ scent does not smell good to a cat).


  • NOISES OR CHANGES NEAR LITTER AREA – cats generally do not like change. If there is too much noise, too much light, too much activity or too many ‘things’ cluttering up their litter area, your cat may avoid using the litter box and seek out a darker, quieter, more secure-feeling place in your house.


  • ‘AMBUSHING’ NEAR LITTER BOX – if you have more than one cat (or sometimes a dog, or a young child), your cat may have experienced being ‘ambushed’ or attacked while they are using the litter box. This causes stress and anxiety and your cat may avoid using the litter box area because they think it is unsafe.


  • NOT ENOUGH LITTER BOXES – the unwritten rule for cats and litter boxes is “one per cat, then one extra”. So if you have 3 cats, you should have 4 litter boxes. There simply might not be enough litter boxes for your cats, so they will ‘go’ somewhere else.


  • FELINE STRESS – cats can get stressed about a number of different things, and cats deal with stress differently than humans do. Feline stress (common causes and how to help) is such a big and complicated topic that it will be covered in a separate blog.