New male cat does not use the box

My cat poops and pees outside the box. I just adopted two new cats, one female, the other a male. The male is 2 years old and does not use the litter box.

My other two cats have no problems. I have two litter boxes, both covered. Is there any solution?? Help!

My Thoughts: My first thought is: I have more questions than answers based on the information you've given, so bear with me!

So, let's begin. Does he have a medical problem? You don't say whether or not he had a litter box issue prior to your adopting him. Did he? Has he been examined thoroughly by a qualified veterinarian who has been told about his litter box problems?

Did you bring the new cats to your veterinarian to have them checked out prior to bringing them home? If not, did you call the vet who most recently examined him to get an opinion?

If he checks out healthy (being sure his urinary tract is healthy), and he did not have this problem prior to his arrival at your home, I would be curious about the introduction process.

Cats usually hate abrupt changes, and they don't like being moved. They often take a long time to get used to house mates. So, he's got two things working against him since he's been moved to a new territory, but he can't claim that territory since there are others already there. Perplexing for him I'm sure.

The next questions are:

Did you do an abrupt introduction or an isolation/slow introduction. If I'm reading you right, you now have four cats (two new and two existing residents).

Introductions should be done slllooooowwwwwlllyyy. Was he homed with this new female before? Do they get along? Maybe she is agitating him, not the others.

Are the two new cats isolated so you can do a proper and slow introduction to the household and the existing resident cats?

I would keep the new cats in a room or section of the house with their own litter boxes, toys, sleeping areas, and hopefully a nice window.

The introduction process should last at least several days and possibly a couple of weeks or more, depending upon circumstances. If you'd like a good tutorial on this, Franny has one at, I can look up the URL for you.

I'm guessing that everybody was thrown together? That's not the way I'd do it. You should always isolate first.

Other things to consider:

Is he neutered?

Maybe he doesn't like covered litter boxes?

Maybe he doesn't like the box location?

Four cats requires five litter boxes, based on the recommended one plus one rule. I'd personally say that three large boxes, cleaned at least once a day would do it for four cats, but the rule calls for five. That is, of course, after the initial introduction period and everyone is living in the same space.

Feliway is said to sometimes calm cats, reduce aggression and box problems. It does not work in every case, but it comes highly recommended by experts and cat owners, including our own CLO readers.

If you can provide more information based on my questions above, we might be able to help a bit more.


P.S. If anyone else has any thoughts, please bring 'em on.

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Jul 10, 2010
new male cat does not use the box
by: caren gittleman

Hi Kurt!

You are welcome!

Sometimes I think we all over analyze and the simple problem is right in front of us especially with those male cats! lol. That is why I said it probably is territorial, thanks for agreeing! Especially with the scenario it sounds sooo territorial to me!

Cat Chat Caren

Jul 09, 2010
Thanks, Caren!
by: Kurt (Admin)

Hi Caren, thanks for your input on this. I agree, it sounds like he's having territorial issues. Thanks for joining the conversation!

Jul 08, 2010
Thanks, that helps.
by: Kurt (Admin)

OK, thanks for the update! I think I've got the picture now. With three cats, the one plus one rule says you should have four boxes but I know from experience, though, that you can get away with two boxes for three cats, if you do it right. That's assuming that you stay on top of it, and everyone has been getting along for quite some time.

Keep in mind that some cats prefer one box for pee and one for poop. With multiple cats, there are obvious problems if that's the case. That's a tough one. In any case...

Tigger has been checked out by the vet, and he's been neutered. That's good. He was raised with Sabrina so that's good. My suspicion would be he is just stressed and having a hard time adjusting to the new territory and your older cat.

Once a cat goes off the box, it can be hard to get them back on, especially if what's stressing him continues. One reason for slow introductions is that you can make sure that litter box habits are perfect before letting the cats mingle.

For extreme cases of litter box avoidance, the way to get a cat using the box again, is to do isolation retraining. I've mentioned this before, as in this reader's situation where a UTI stopped her cat's litter box use, but there's a separate article on litter box retraining that outlines how to use isolation.

It's basically the same as the introduction phase in that you isolate the cat in a sunny room with toys, bedding, a window, a litter box, and food and water bowls. Then, you'd do a slow re-introduction process.

My concern is if you take one of the litter boxes away from the other cats, that may upset that apple cart. Perhaps the best solution would be to put both Tigger and Sabrina in a room with one of the boxes, and retrain him with her there. In really extreme cases, you can use crate training, just like you would with dogs.

Taking the cover off the box may help also, so I would certainly try that, especially if he's not used to covered boxes. Some cats accept them, others don't, and with some it's just a matter of getting used to it. In this case, it's not that time yet. He needs to get it right first without the complication of a hood.

In addition to the aforementioned Feliway, another thing you can do to reduce Tigger's stress is give him his own space in the house that is a safe spot. Using vertical space is important as well, at least for many cats.

If Tigger has bonded with your mother, then she might be able to regularly reassure him, and perhaps he could be retrained with her. That might be a stress reducer right there and speed his progress.

In addition, stress is contagious, so all the cats in the house should be given extra attention during this time.

I hope that helps a bit. Please let us know if you have questions, and let us know how he progresses.

Jul 08, 2010
Litter Box
by: Sandy

I have only three cats. One is 15 years old the new female is also 2 years old. The two new ones Tigger and Sabrina were raised together. When I adopted them I had to take both.

I have only two litter boxes. Both covered. They have been checked out by my vet. The other two cats besides Tigger use the box. I did make a mistake by not letting them get used to each other slowly. My mistake.

They have been spade and neutered. Both were also declawed in the front. Tigger was upset at first but seems to be getting better. He has attached himself to my mother. I am unemployed right now and it is hard to buy more supplies. Is there any solution besides another litter box? Should I take the cover off of one and see what happens? I scoop out the boxes once a day. HELP!

Jul 08, 2010
New Male Cat Does Not Use The Box
by: caren gittleman

My opinion is it is entirely a territorial soon as you explained the situation and mentioned it is a male cat not using the box......territorial.......which also equals anger

Cat Chat Caren

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