Solving Common Litter Box Problems with Cats

New cat owners have tons of questions about their litter box covering a multitude of subjects such as setup, maintenance, training, etc.

Remember that you should only be filling your litter box about 2 inches deep. Any excess and your cat may not want to use the box. A 20-pound box of litter with every night scooping should last about 6-8 weeks.

Most litter box problems either are a result of your cats behavior or of the litter box itself.

Why Do Cats Have Litter Box Problems?

  • Anxiety- Stressed cats may stop using their litter box after a big change in environment: getting a new pet, moving homes, family members leaving
  • Boredom- A bored kitty may begin to dig or destroy the litter box simply for amusement. This boredom adds to any stress that they already have. It is important to keep your cat entertained throughout the day with exercise and engagement with toys.
  • Extended leave- if you are vacant for a couple days, when returning to your feline you will smell different which may upset their potty habits

The problem could also be associated with a litter box that doesn't meet you cats potty expectations:


Cat's need a clean toilet space and become frustrated as their litter box fills up. This is due to a cats natural instinct to hide their feces from predators. They want the best scent masking possible and if your litter box doesn't provide this they may go some place else.

Be sure to scoop your box daily. If you are unable to keep up with this chore it would be wise to invest in an automatic litter boxQuick tip: Before filling a new box with litter, spray around the insides with PAM cooking spray. This will prevent clumps from sticking to the walls of the box.


A litter box can never be too large for a cat; the bigger the better. If you have a big boned cat then they need a jumbo litter box, preferably bigger than 1.5 times their length.

Large cats may hang over or be unable to turn around in regular sized litter boxes. This frustration usually results in them being unable to cover up poops, or regularly scratching the outside of the box.


Privacy is really important for cats toilet. Keep the box in an isolated area with little disturbance. Make sure any children or other pets don't have access to this area. The best places are in a bathroom, laundry room, or garage. 

Multiple Cats:

If you have multiple cats it is important to give each of the their OWN litter box. Cats can be very territorial over their items, especially over litter boxes. If you currently only have one litter box cats will fight for dominance of it and prevent others from using it. You don't need a war on your hands.

Each litter box should be isolated from each other in separate rooms. If you don't have this luxury of space, make sure each of your litter boxes is hooded so your cat can have some privacy while going.


If you receive a cat from a shelter or friend it is best to use the same the litter as previous. Cat's like to stay true to one brand. If you don't know which litter they use or are kitties, read some reviews on some effective litter and choose a brand that suits you.

The best litter should absorb, destroy, and contain the odor from your cats feces. If none of these solutions suit your cat situation then switching litter brands may be the way to go. 

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