My cat still won't use her litter box after six months

by Brittany

My cat's previous owner peed in her litter box because he thought it would make her use it, but really the box just needed to be cleaned more often.

After that, she would pee and poop around the house or outside. When he passed away, I took the cat and brought her to a new home and gave her a new huge litter box and she still won't use it.

It's been about six months since I have had her and I believe she is still traumatized from her old owner peeing in her box. She will, however, pee on the potty pads I have put down around her litter box.

I even tried to just put a potty pad in the litter box and she still won't go in the box. HELP!!

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. I can't say I've ever heard of a cat's human doing that before, but I think it's possible she didn't appreciate it very much.

On the other hand, if she wasn't using the litter box before her previous human did that, it's possible there was another problem besides the cleanliness of the box.

In other words, it's possible she's not using the box for the same reason she wasn't using it before (we just don't know what that reason is, yet). It's also possible she's lost her cat mojo.

I would also be mindful that her previous human passed away, and she moved to a new location. Those events are stressful on a cat no matter what.

Assuming she doesn't have a medical problem that's throwing her off the box, I'd start with these ideas:

1. Add another litter box. It never hurts to have more litter boxes, and she may be one of those cats that likes to pee in one box and poop in another.

2. Reduce stress and ease her anxiety as much as possible by increasing her exercise level, giving her the maximum amount of attention, and making sure she has space to herself.

3. Ensure she has plenty of climbing space and resting perches so she can get up high and gain or maintain her confidence.

4. There are no guarantees, but try some of the cat calming remedies, such as cat pheromone sprays (like Feliway), or herbal calming products like Jackson Galaxy Solutions or Bach's Rescue Remedy for Pets.

5. I'm reluctant to recommend changing litter, but if there was a litter type she ever used before, make sure you're using that type. If you don't know what type she preferred, it may take some trial and error.

If you haven't tried these things yet, give them a try and see how she does before working with a cat behaviorist.

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