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How to Choose the Best Litter Box Location

A cat that isn’t using the litter box may have developed a location aversion. It’s best to avoid this problem in the first place by choosing the litter box location wisely.

What Is Location Aversion?

Location aversion occurs when something about the placement of a cat’s litter box makes her avoid using it. Usually, this occurs if the box is in a high-traffic area of the home, near something that makes a loud noise unexpectedly, or if a cat has been ambushed by another cat, a dog, or a child in the home while using the box. This sometimes also occurs if an adult uses the opportunity to grab a reluctant cat while she’s in the box in order to give her medication or put her in a cat carrier to take her somewhere.

What Types of Locations Are Good for Litter Boxes?

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a spot for your cat’s litter box:

Quiet place

It should not be in a spot where a dog or child can easily get in and harass a cat that is trying to use it. It should also not be in a noisy area, where the noise from an appliance, sound system, or garage door, for example, might suddenly occur and startle a cat in the middle of using the box.

Location

The location you choose for your cat’s litter box shouldn’t be in a dead-end corner, especially if you have multiple cats that tend to give each other a hard time. A more timid cat needs to know that there is an escape route, so she won’t be trapped if another cat comes in to bother her.

Multiple Boxes

You need at least one litter box on every level of your home. A cat that needs to use a box won’t necessarily want to travel up or down several flights of stairs to reach one.

Keep in the same place

Once you choose a spot for a litter box and your cat is reliably using it, don’t move the box unless you absolutely have to. You have found a good spot, your cat likes it, and it’s not a good idea to rock the boat. If you must move the box, do so very gradually; a few inches at a time is best.

Gates

If you can’t place the litter box in a location that naturally keeps kids and dogs out, use baby gates to do so. Place the gate so that the cat can get over or under it but kids and dogs can’t. The first time your cat is ambushed by a curious dog while using the box might be the last time she uses it, so be sure to think ahead and avoid that situation.

One next to the other

Some cats like to urinate in one litter box and defecate in another, so placing two boxes right next to each other can be valuable in those situations.

Other Reasons Cats Avoid the Litter Box

Litter box location aversion is just one reason why a cat might be choosing to eliminate elsewhere in the home. A medical problem, litter type aversion, or a box that isn’t kept clean enough are other reasons this might occur.