The kitten was a birthday present for my daughter. She is 9 or 10 weeks old we have had her a few weeks now. The issue is every time we put her into the litterbox she immediately tries to get out and has no kind of interest and some panic even almost. I have tried a couple different types of litter, gotten a smaller box, one with a top over it. She is honestly the first cat I've ever seen just use the bathroom on the floor, she mostly uses it close to the box she will not even attempt to go in. I am honestly out of ideas and would greatly appreciate any kinda help. Thank you!


1 Answer 1


My instinct here, based on the small amount of information you gave on litterboxes, is that this is in fact an issue with the box and your behavior around it, not the kitten. She's going near it, which means she has the right idea, but you're giving her all the wrong options!

Since this problem has gone on for some time, you'll need a multi-step approach to solve it.

First, get a kitten-sized litterbox or one meant for senior cats. This is an uncovered box, with a lower entry to make it easier for very small cats and cats with joint issues to enter and use it. No covers, and nothing fancy. When in doubt on the size, go LARGER, not smaller, while keeping that low entry in mind. Going smaller, as you've done, or going for covered ones with higher entries, are both discouragements to her using the box.

Second, thoroughly clean with an enzymatic cleaner designed for pet waste. Because this problem has gone on for a while, the area around the litterbox now smells like a toilet to her, and because of that, she'll continue to use it unless you appropriately break down the smells. Use a cleaner specifically designed for these messes, not "whatever you have on hand."

Third, use a kitten-attracting litter in the litterbox for the next few months. You need to break the association between "floor" and "toilet" by transferring the appropriate scent from one location to the other. Keep the new litterbox where the old one was, but make it the more appealing option.

Fourth, stop forcing her into the litterbox! You're sabotaging the process by doing this. She knows where it is, but you're creating negative associations with it by forcing her into it. Once you put down the new litterbox, do not place her in it. Let her enter on her own terms.

Lastly, as a footnote, your kitten was separated from her mother far too young, if you've already had her for "a few weeks" at 9-10 weeks old. Kittens should remain with their mother until around 12 weeks; the period between weaning at around 5 weeks to then is when they learn important social and behavioral skills, including litterbox skills. Thankfully, the litterbox skills at least are mostly instinctual, and with patience and correction of your errors she should start using it on her own, but in the future, please wait until the kitten is old enough to be separated. (It is also ill-advised to bring any animal into the home during a high-stress event for them, such as a holiday or birthday; it's easier on the animal to arrive during a much calmer time, as the celebrations can be over-stimulating and create a poor association with what should be a comfortable place for them.)

  • 1
    If she starts squatting elsewhere, it's OK to gently scoop her up and put her in the litterbox. That's something she'll probably be able to figure out the meaning of after a few iterations.
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 20 at 20:19
  • 1
    +1 for that last paragraph
    – Berend
    Commented Mar 21 at 6:55

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