Cats prefer using a litter box if one is provided. Choosing to eliminate outside of a litter box generally indicates an underlying problem. Observe your cat to determine what prompted a change in its behavior. Most inappropriate feline elimination can be resolved with patience and care.


  • Rule out any health concerns first. Cats suffering from an illness may eliminate outside of the litter box. This can be a side effect of minor or serious illness, including a urinary tract infection, which must be treated by a veterinarian.


  • Climbing into a litter box may be too difficult for a cat in pain. In this situation, it is common for a cat to eliminate near its box in an effort to get as close to its bathroom area as possible.


  • Sharing a litter box is distasteful to most cats. Put out an individual litter box for each cat in the household.


  • Cats are clean creatures and prefer a tidy litter box. Leaving the litter box dirty can cause your cat to look for a fresher place to eliminate.


  • Changing a cat's environment causes anxiety. Cats react negatively to stressful events or new situations. Even changing the location of the litter box may cause a cat to eliminate inappropriately.


  • Marking territory is not the same as refusing to use the litter box. Cats spray urine to show ownership of an object or area. This behavior is most common in male cats who have not been neutered.