cat and litter box

Alleviate Litter Box Issues The Holistic Way

Litter box issues are at the top of the list for many people. We are going to look at ways to think “outside of the box” holistically and naturally to get your cats back in their litter box. There could be several factors that you may have never thought could be contributing to this behavior. 

There can be many reasons a cat, male or female, might go to the bathroom outside of the litter box. Some reasons may be:

  • Physical illness
  • Natural feline tendencies
  • Situational or environmental
  • Emotional or behavioral

A cat’s natural tendency is to use a litter box, so whether it is a physical, environmental or emotional cause there is an underlying reason for them not to be using the litter box.

Physical conditions that may be the reason your cat is urinating outside the litter box.  Your vet can examine your cat and perform tests to determine if there is a physical cause.  Some physical issues are:

  • Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) or a bladder/urinary tract infection – If your cat is suffering from this, get them on a wet or moist, grain-free diet.  If crystals are present, steeped hydrangea tea may dissolve the crystals.  UTI Free is a homeopathic remedy that works well for many cats.  See below for link.
  • Toxins from taking medication or steroids can cause bladder issues.
  • Obstruction of the urethra in male cats – If you see your male cat straining and nothing is coming out, take him to a vet right away this is very serious.
  • Diabetes – You can manage most diabetes with the appropriate diet.
  • Hyperthyroidism – This can be determined by a thyroid titer or blood test.    
  • Arthritis, joint pain or an injury may be affecting your cat’s ability to climb into the box. Muscle test joint supplements that could relieve pain, find a low-sided litter box and create a clear path to the litter box.

Marking is a normal way that felines communicate, but it could be hormonal or stress related. These are some reasons your cat may be marking:

  • The new addition of a pet or person in the home.
  • The recent loss of a pet or person in the home.
  • Changes in the routine due to travel, work, illness, fosters you may bring in or any change that upsets the daily routine.  You may see the markings on personal items like your suit case, handbag, bed, pillow where you sleep or your desk.
  • A stray cat or dog outside your home that has suddenly appeared – usually the marking will happen at or near the window.
  • Another cat or animal in the home is not well or ill – Is your cat marking on furniture or doorways inside your home?
  • Cats or animals in the home that do not get along – could be if he or she is marking on the furniture or near the doorway.

If one of these circumstances is happening in your home, you can communicate with your cat or cats and ask them what would help and why they are marking or muscle test to see if a custom Bach Flower Essence, crystals or homeopathic remedies would be best to help. Bring the home back to balance by removing the “stressers” from the environment. Muscle testing their best color will always help.

Environmental or Litter Box Avoidance is when your cat avoids the litter box, walks to it very timidly or won’t go near it. This is a very common cause for cats going to the bathroom outside of the box for many reasons:

  • It might not get cleaned as often as your cat would like
  • The litter box may be in a confined area the cat cannot get to or feels he will be trapped or it could be too out in the open and the cat feels he has no privacy. Make sure the box is not close to where they eat or drink water or a noisy place such as the laundry room.
  • The solutions you use to clean the box – always use natural cleaning solutions like water and a gentle soap or vinegar.
  • The type of litter you are using may not be kitty approved. Natural litters are best because they don’t have the toxins and clay that can contribute to illnesses. Fresh News, World’s Best Litter and Swheat Scoop are a few natural, chemical-free litters on the market. 

  You can let your cat sample small amounts of several litters and they will walk towards the one they prefer or you can muscle test to see which litter is the best for your cat or multiple cats.

  • If your cat is older and has joint issues the box may be too tall – find a box that has a dip in the front for easy entry. Make sure there is enough litter in the box to provide soft, workable area. Your cat may not like having a hood on the box and not want to go inside. Make sure the box is large enough for the cat to move around and turn in the box.
  • You may need to add an additional litter box in your home if you have multiple cats.

We have had many cats tells us when we communicate that they don’t like a certain litter or their box is too tall, not tall enough, they don’t like the hood, etc., but by communicating with them we were able to resolve the problem with one conversation.

Behavioral and emotional reasons are a top reason for many of the cats we have talked to.  Pay close attention to the reasons listed under marking. They can cause a cat to not use the litter box.  Stress comes in many forms.  Cats can express their dominance, irritation, unhappiness, grief, etc. by not using the box.  If your vet is unable to find a physical cause, then most likely it is emotional based.  Until you determine the why, the behavior will probably continue.  It is amazing how communicating with them can resolve the issue.  And yes, anyone can learn how to talk to their animals!

The litter box issue can be due to a physical, mental or emotional condition, and it is important to look at each cat as a whole – body, mind and spirit to get to the root of the issue. Be aware of where your cat is marking or going to the bathroom outside the box; be aware of what is happening in your home that may have changed; recognize if your cat is displaying symptoms of a bladder infection or straining; notice where the litter box is placed and if it could be too small, tall or too covered. 

Muscle test to see which issue is affecting your cat the most and and then muscle test to see what natural tools are best to help resolve the problem like flower essences, animal communication, homeopathic remedies, natural litters, crystals, color and diet.  If you do not know how to muscle test, we offer an instruction ebook that teaches you how to muscle test both people and animals.  

Know that every cat would prefer to use a litter box unless they live outside or on a farm, so be patient and send loving energy and know when they choose not to use the box, there is a good reason.  So explore the reasons and learn to think outside of the box!

Consider learning more about natural ways to care for your pet at and look at our available workshops and new Membership site coming up that can help you with choosing your pet’s diet or helping him or her with any emotional issues.

Make holistic animal care a way of life, not a last resort! 

Blessings to you and the animals you love!

Allison Culver