Why Is My Cat Sitting Outside the Litter Box?

Have you ever noticed your cat sitting outside the litter box, rather than using it as intended?

This can be a puzzling and worrying behavior for many pet owners. While it’s normal for cats to occasionally avoid their litter boxes.

Cat Sitting Outside The Litter Box
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If this becomes an ongoing issue, there are likely some underlying causes that need investigation.

Read on to learn more about this behavior and how you can discourage it if necessary.

Reasons Why Cats May Sit Outside Their Litter Box

Cats are usually neat and tidy, so it’s worrying when your cat starts not using its litter box. This can be caused by a variety of things such as stress, medical problems, disliking the litter box or being in an unfamiliar place.

Here are some reasons why this may happen and what you can do to stop your cat from sitting outside the litter box.

Stress and Anxiety

Cats can get stressed or anxious just like humans do, particularly during times of change or disruption in their environment.

Changes such as moving house, having a new person in the home, introducing new pets into the household or loud noises from construction work nearby etc.

It can all cause stress levels to rise, leading to cats avoiding their litter box altogether.

Medical Issues

Another possible reason why your cat is not using its liter box could be due to medical issues such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney disease or even diabetes which may make going inside uncomfortable too painful for them.

Medical Issues For Cat
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They may associate pain with entering the box, so try other places instead. Cats also have very sensitive noses, so strong odors within (or around)the area where they go toilet could also put them off.

This is often seen when people use perfumes or air fresheners near the litters boxes without realizing that these scents are overpowering and unpleasant for cats, who rely heavily on smell signals when navigating through life.

Dislike of The Litter Box

Sometimes your feline friend simply might not like certain aspects of the existing liter box shape & size, type & texture of material used.

If you notice any signs indicating discomfort while he’s attempting his business, then consider changing up either one or both elements accordingly by investing in something better suited towards his needs.

Unfamiliar Environment

If you’ve recently moved homes, then it’s understandable why he would feel uneasy about using what appears an unfamiliar space.

Especially if he was previously comfortable toileting somewhere else before. In order to alleviate any anxieties associated with changes in residence, introduce familiar items from previous living quarters into current domicile, e-g: toys, bedding, scratching posts etc.

Environmental Changes
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This should help him transition over time becoming more at ease by creating positive associations between old & new environments, eventually allowing him back onto those familiar tracks again.

How to Stop Cat from Sitting Outside the Litter Box?

If your cat is not using the litter box, there are a few steps that can be taken to try and resolve the issue. As per the ResourcesTry to keep in mind that cats don’t eliminate outside their litter box to purposefully annoy you. Punishment won’t stop or correct the behavior.

Stop Cat from Sitting Outside the Litter Box
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  • First, talk to a veterinarian to determine if there is a medical condition that could be contributing to the behavior.
  • Second, make changes to the litter box setup or environment such as the location, cleanliness, type of litter, and number of boxes in the house.
  • Third, consider consulting with a feline behaviorist to identify the root cause of the behavior and provide advice on how to address it.
  • Lastly, use behavior modification techniques if necessary to modify the behavior.

Remember to be patient and consistent while working to resolve this issue. With the right approach, it is possible to help your cat learn to use the litter box correctly.


How often should I clean the litter box?

In order to keep your cat comfortable and avoid accidents, it is essential that you clean their litter box regularly. Aim to do this at least once a day, or more frequently if necessary.

Your kitty may refuse to use the litter box if it’s not kept clean enough for them. So make sure you are cleaning it as often as required!

Can I use a different type of litter?

If you are having trouble encouraging your cat to use the litter box, it may be beneficial to try out different types of litter. Your feline friend might prefer a particular texture or type of litter. According to Petchecker”The different types of litter, their pros and cons, and help you decide which is the best for you and your cat.” So it’s worth experimenting with until you find one that works best for them.

How to determine why do cats sits outside the litter box?

In order to determine why your cat is sitting outside the litter box, you should observe their behavior and look for possible clues.

Consider factors such as recent changes in their environment or diet, how often the litter box is cleaned, if there are other cats in the house competing for its use, and if there are any medical issues that could be causing this behavior.

It may also be helpful to talk to your vet about potential solutions that can help resolve this issue.


If your beloved feline friend is choosing to sit outside the litter box, it could be a sign that they are feeling stressed, anxious or even unwell.

It’s important to rule out any medical issues and then focus on addressing potential problems with the litter box itself or their environment.

By being patient and giving them a safe atmosphere in which to use their designated bathroom space, you can help your cat return into using the litter box as normal.


  1. The ins and outs of the litter box: A detailed ethogram of cat elimination behavior in two contrasting environments. (n.d.-b). Retrieved December 22, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2017.05.009
  2. Frayne, J. (n.d.-c). The Behavioural Effects of Innovative Litter Developed to Attract Cats. MDPI. Retrieved December 22, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090683
  3. The Environmental and Health Impacts of Allowing Cats Outdoors – Debating Science, 28 Apr. 2015, blogs.umass.edu/natsci397a-eross/the-environmental-and-health-impacts-of-allowing-cats-outdoors.

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