Question: A friend’s cat will urinate in her box, but refuses to defecate in it. Any thoughts as to possible reason(s) why? Thanks!

Answer: Thanks for your question. Unusual bathroom habits in cats can have many causes and it usually takes some super-sleuthing to figure out what is causing the issue.

Some cats are very particular about the litter type—and what may be okay for a quick trip to the box to urinate is not acceptable for the longer time it takes to defecate.

Some cats like (or dislike) covered boxes or open boxes for defecation. If there is another cat in the house, sometimes there is some conflict when one goes in to defecate so they tend to avoid the box. Many times this is trial and error to figure out what is happening. Visit this helpful link for some additional thoughts “The Indoor Pet Initiative”.

Dr. Donna Spector

Answers provided to pet owners by Dr. Donna Spector should be considered information and not specific advice. Answers are to be used for general information purposes only and not as a substitute for in-person evaluation or specific professional advice from your veterinarian. Communications on this site are very limited and should never be used in possible cases of emergency. Halo, Purely for Pets will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any information or content contained in a blog or article post. If you have consulted your veterinarian and if you are still concerned about your pet’s condition or if your pet has chronic, complicated or undiagnosed problems, Dr. Spector can offer consultations for you and your veterinarian via

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  1. Pam says:

    I was having similar problems with my female calico. After much work trying to figure out what her issue was, the vet recommended getting her to use the littler box in a quieter enclosed area. The other box is in the laundry room. Too much noise apparently. I purchased a brand new box, new litter and moved her to the ensuite in my bedroom, where it is quiet all the time. Now she uses it without any problems. Crazy Cat’s.

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