Elder Cat Not Using the Litter Box?

As cats get older they may start to change their behavior or develop what we see as cat behavior problems. If you have an elder cat not using the litter box this may be the case. With the right diagnosis, treatment and some patience many of these problems can be resolved, but in the meantime you may need some tips on how to remove cat urine.

Cat Behavior Problems

Urinating or defecating outside of the litter box is one of the main behavioral problems in elder cats. There are many potential reasons for this, including a possible medical condition, so be sure to have your cat examined by a vet for proper diagnosis. For more information see Cat Urination Issues Related to Cat Health Problems.

A Medical Condition

A medical condition that causes pain when urinating or defecating is one of the things that may cause your cat to stop using her litter box. Loss of vision is another.

Senior cats can develop arthritis which can make it difficult or even painful to get in and out of the litter box, causing some litter box problems. In this case you may need to get a litter box with shorter walls, or at least a shorter wall on one side. You may also want to move it to an area where you cat spends most of her time so she doesn’t have to walk as far to get to it.

Feline Stress

Elder cats often don’t handle stress as well as younger cats so sometimes this is the cause of cats peeing outside the litter box. Maybe last time you moved she did ok, but this time she isn’t handling the change as well. Understanding why cat behavior problems develop may be helpful to get to the root of the issue.

Occasionally kitty can get in the litter box but still make a mess. An example is the unexpected litter box problem I’ve experienced with my 20+ year old cat. She still gets in the litter box, but not far enough. She ends up peeing on the edge and over the edge of the litter box because she doesn’t squat anymore. So we bought an easy to clean litter mat that’s easy to hose off and clean. So far so good.

If you have an elder cat not using the litter box keep these things in mind. As your cat ages things can change and she may need more attentive care and patience, not so different from us humans as we age.