Normally my cat uses her litterbox. The only problem I have is when I clean it. She refuses to poop in a clean litterbox. When I had multiple cats and multiple litterboxes this wasn't an issue, there was always a dirty one for her to use.

She is now my only cat and has a single litterbox (small apartment). The first time she poops after I clean the litterbox (on the floor), I throw her poop into the box and she will use it after that. If I leave some fresh poop in her litterbox when I clean it, she will also continue to use it. Old poop does not work.

We are moving in with someone that is not looking forward to the smell of a litterbox. They proposed scooping the litterbox several times a day to keep it clean. Problem is, if I don't leave poop in it my cat won't use it. If I do leave poop in it then it will smell.

How do I get my cat to poop in a clean litterbox?

I use Arm & Hammer Slide clumping litter in a large litterbox.

  • Interesting - I have heard about cats going in clean litter boxes only, so I am curious about what answers will drop in.
    – Stephie
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 21:43
  • How do you clean the litterbox? Just scooping, or something more aggressive? Are you willing to try a different cleaning process, different litters, etc?
    – Allison C
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 13:35

3 Answers 3


The "obvious" solution which comes to my mind is that is the litter box is too clean, the cat does not recognize it as a litter box. Or it understands that it must stay clean - if you clean it.

The solution I propose is to put some dirty material from the "old" box into the clean box. In that way, the message is clear that the litter box can be used safely within the rules.

  • It sounds like that's what OP does now, but the point of the question was that leaving dirty material in the box is undesirable, and OP wants to know if there is a way to encourage the cat to use a clean litter box without any dirty material in it.
    – Esther
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 14:41
  • @esther: "clean" does not mean that it must be like a surgery room for brain surgery. Also, some small amount of "dirt" does not make the litter box "dirty". Animals behave according to their biology and according to their internal "software". If we do things ignoring those realities, then pleasant co-existence will be difficult.
    – virolino
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 5:42
  • @Esther: even more, some commercial litter material comes already "scented" - exactly for the purpose to "tell" the cat which is the purpose of that place. The scenting is strong enough for the cat to notice it, but insufficient for people to feel it.
    – virolino
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 5:44

There are a few things you can try to get your cat to use the litterbox again. One is to put a small amount of dirt or sand in the bottom of the box before adding fresh litter. This will help to make the box feel more like her natural environment. You can also try a different type of litter, such as one that is softer or has a different scent. Finally, make sure the box is in a quiet, private location where she feels safe using it.

  • 1
    Would you please give a source? Experience counts. Let us know, what makes you an expert in cats. Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 18:52

You can try adding some cat nip to the litter. I have a spray that I use when I noticed my friends cat was peeing around my house. I spray it in the litter box and haven't found any accidents anywhere yet.


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