Older cat not using litter box


TCS Member
Hi there. I have a question. I have a 17 year old cat, (who is back in the USA with my folks), and she doesn't like to use the litter box. She will just do her thing on the carpet, such as in the living room. She has been doing this for quite some time now, and it is really upsetting my folks.

On and off during the years she has done this and not just in the same house. We moved around a fair bit. I guess it's truely a concern now that she's 17. I don't know if she is unwell or if it's another reason. There is another cat in the household who is much younger. I don't know if my cat would be upset with that one being around, or what. There have been other cats in the past too. I've been tossing around ideas.

Maybe the best thing would be for my folks to take her to the vet and discuss the situation, since we never really have done that in the past. Too bad vets are so expensive.

Apart from her old age (and not using the litter box), my folks say she appears just fine. I just worry about her since I am not around her anymore, as I live in another country. She's been my best little cat friend and I want her to be ok.

Thanks for any advice you may have.

Many regards,

amy shojai

TCS Member
Young Cat
~~and I agree, the very best thing to do is have her checked by the vet. At her age, there may be some health issues that cause her to urinate more frequently and be unable to reach the box in time. Diabetes and kidney disease are both concerns of older cats, and either one can prompt excessive urination. More rarely, older cats simply "forget" about what the box is for.

You mention there's another, younger cat. If the kitty's health comes back okay, then my guess would be a social issue is triggering this response. How many litter boxes are available in the house? Some cats don't want to "go" after another feline--and the younger cat might be "guarding" the facilities and keeping the oldster away. Generally I recommend the 1+1 rule (one litter box for each cat, plus one) to accomodate those cats that want a different box for each "function." *s*

Make sure at least one of the new boxes has a very low-cut side. Old cats with arthritis can have trouble climbing in and out of the box--so they go where it's easier to squat. Also, I'd suggest that your folks use an odor nutralizer cleaner on the carpet spots. Otherwise, the smell (even if your folks don't smell it!) will draw the kitty back again and again.

Good luck with this!