So, you got a cat and a litter box. But your cat refuses to have a “dirty” cat time in his private litter box.
Maybe he wants to get in your nerves? Or maybe he wants attention? Maybe a punishment for you since his dinner is late? Or maybe, he fears his litter box?
It might sound surprising, but yes, some cats are afraid to even go near their litter box. Why? Here’s why:
1. Negative Litter-Box Association
There are various reasons as to why a cat that has used her litter box daily in the past starts to ditch it and do his dirty elimination away from the box. The most common reason is that there might be something upsetting that has happened to him while he was using his litter box.
If this is the case, then you might notice that your cat seems hesitant and scared to return to his box or if he even tried to get on the box, he will jump out and leave immediately like a scaredy cat before he can even use the box.
The most common cause of this is painful eliminations. If your cat has a medical condition which caused him pain while eliminating, then he might have learned to relate the discomfort by using his litter box, thus avoiding it altogether. And even if your cat’s health returned to normal, such association might still cause her to fear her litter box.
2. Household Stress
Stress can cause your cat to fear the litter box. Cats tend to be stressed by certain events that their owners might not think of as traumatic. Change in things which do not even affect your cat directly (such as a new family or animal member, moving, or even changing his daily routine) will make a cat feel anxious.
3. Litter Box Placement
The location of the litter box might also scare your kitty. Cats like private, safe and quiet places to do what they need to do. For instance, if you place the litter box in the dark basement or at a scary floor, she may be afraid to go there and would go spray somewhere under a light instead. If you put the litter box somewhere she needs to brave some stressor in order to do his things like besides a dryer, washer, a dominant cat’s territory, or even Rover’s favorite sleeping spot, then he will definitely ditch the litter box and do his thing somewhere safer.
4. Territorial Disputes
If you have more than one cat in your home, then disputes might arise over the usage of the litter box. By nature, cats are very territorial. The dominant cat will sometimes leave his feces uncovered as a form of marking in order to announce her status and presence. Uncovered feces on a litter box only means that that territory or litter box is taken. If other cats feel like they are approaching a dominant cat’s territory, then they will be hesitant or scared to use that box.