5 Litter Box Tips for Cat Behavioral Issues and Litter Problems

Dealing with litter training problems or your cat choosing to stop using the litter box can really test a cat parent’s patience. You’ve got problems; we’ve got solutions! Here are 5 game-changing litter box tips for cat litter problems such as smell, maintenance, and going outside the box.

Look to Your Cat for Litter Box Solutions

As much as your cat embraces the creature comforts of living and lounging inside, your domesticated kitty still has many of the same instincts as wild cats — especially around survival. A wild cat’s bathroom sites typically leave them vulnerable to predators, so your family feline also searches for safe places to do their business. Cats are also fastidious creatures who prefer to keep themselves and their environment clean.


These basic instincts affect your cat’s behavior, and going against them can lead to problems. Keep your cat’s needs and preferences in mind when setting up your litter box, choosing your kitty litter, cleaning and maintaining the cat box, and providing distinct places to toilet, eat, and sleep.


1.Keep Food, Water and Litter Separated

Wild cats separate their bathroom sites from their eating and drinking sites to prevent bacteria from getting into their food and water. In fact, they prefer to drink away from their food, to make sure bacteria from their meal (like a dead bird) doesn’t mix with their water. So, separate your cat’s food, water and litter box locations to help prevent behavioral issues.


However, if your kitty does go outside the box, one solution is to put their water and food bowls on top of the inappropriate spot. Making this location a spot to eat and drink can stop your cat from associating the spot with the bathroom — and therefore, stop them from returning there to pee.

2.Remember: Clean is Good When it Comes to the Litter Box

Out in the wild, cats don’t want predators to know where they are, so clean-smelling bathroom sites are important to their survival. This instinct is still inside your cat, so keeping the litter box clean is key to her using it. Clumpable cat litters tend to be easier to keep clean because they lock urine and feces – and their odors – into hard clumps that can be removed with a litter scoop. A top tip for getting your cat to use their litter box is litter box maintenance. Scoop the litter at least once a day to help control odor.


A bonus tip: choose a litter that prevents future bacterial odors, such as ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ MicroGuard™ Cat Litter.

A smelly litter box is a turn-off for both you and your cat, so keeping kitty’s toilet fresh will encourage her to use it.

3.Have More Litter Boxes for More Cats

Using multiple bathroom sites in nature is another survival instinct that helps cats stay safe from predators. You can mimic this behavior at home:


  • Have two litter boxes in separate locations for a single-cat household.

  • Have three boxes in at least two locations for a two-cat household; the rule of thumb is one litter box per cat, plus one extra.

  • Make sure you scoop boxes frequently — and use a litter with extra odor control

  • Empty and clean the entire litter box at least monthly, then replace with fresh litter.

4.Buy Larger Litter Boxes

Each kitty is different though, so some may enjoy the privacy of a hooded cat box or a litter box hider. You’ll know what your cat prefers by whether they use the provided litter box – cat urine outside the box or a relapse in litter training is a sure sign they don’t like the box, the litter, or the location (or all three).

  • If your cat has stopped using the litter box, try removing the cover to help kitty feel safer, especially in a multi-cat household.
  • Make sure litter boxes are large enough to allow your cats to cover their waste with fresh litter away from where they just soiled. The litter box that was sized for your kitten may now be too small for your full-grown furbaby, so it may be time to reassess.
  • You can tell if the litter box is too small or the litter is too smelly or dirty if your cat is pawing at the edge of the litter box, the wall, or floor.
  • Maintain a proper litter depth of 3-4 inches as you remove clumps of urine and feces, so your cat can satisfy her digging and covering instincts (another way they hide the smell of their location).
  • Choose a litter that is designed for multiple cats if you have a larger feline family.


5.Make Sure the Litter Box is Easily Accessible

Litter box locations should replicate closely what a cat does in the wild:


Some cats prefer more hidden areas, while others prefer litter boxes that are more out in the open so they can see their territory and keep on the lookout for predators. When litter training your kitty or dealing with a litter box problem, you may need to move the litter box location to get your cat to use it.


Make sure all litter boxes are easily accessible (e.g. not behind a shut door, up too high, etc.) and in a low-traffic area. Your cat needs to be able to find the litter box and feel safe to use it.


Just like wild cats, domesticated cats have survival instincts that drive their behavior. With these litter box tips, you can respect their instincts and help stop litter problems that may come up, so you have a happier cat — and a cleaner home.


With a variety of products to choose from, see which ARM & HAMMER™ cat litter is right for your cat, and your home.


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