Cats are spotless animals, as we check when observing their hygienic habits both in terms of their grooming and in the use of sand for their evacuations.

Therefore, finding urine or faeces outside the sandbox is a big question for caregivers. Why does my cat refuse to use his sandpit? We hope these clues will help you find out.


The cat and the sandpit

When kittens are born, their mother should stimulate their genital area to get them to defecated and urinated. From the fifteen days they start walking and soon after, they can instinctively use the sandpit, since we will only have to present it to them.

From that moment on, and already throughout their life, cats will use it without any problem even if we introduce small changes such as different sand, a new sandpit or a different location.

Depositions outside the sandpit

If we find urine or droppings outside the sandpit one day, we may think it has been an accident, but if the situation is repeated, we must find out the problem because what we have to be clear is that the cat does not do it by screwing us.

We must observe the circumstances in which this inappropriate elimination has occurred. Ask ourselves if there has been any change at home, even if we find it insignificant, look for other disease symptoms, etc. Another essential factor to consider is the age of the cat and whether it is sterilised or not.

With all this information we should consult with the veterinarian. Improper elimination is usually related to stress or marking problems, but before we give up any of these causes, we must rule out a physical problem.

It is recommended to clean affected areas with detergents with active oxygen. If the cat always goes to the same place, we can place there the sandpit or, on the contrary, food.

You should also pay attention to the current sanitary tray if you need a change of location, size, sand type, or format to make it more attractive to the cat. We have to clean it up often.

Signs of illness

A cat that urinates or defecates outside the sandbox may have a problem with removal. For example, cystitis or bladder infection causes the cat to feel the need to urinate many times in minimal amounts. It is a disease that is also very painful, so if the cat relates the feeling of pain to the sandpit, it may resist using it and therefore seek to relieve himself outside.

We must go to the veterinarian because bladder infections can rise and affect the kidneys, causing kidney failure. It is the males, because of their anatomy, who are most likely to develop urinary tract infections.

Problems affecting defecation such as constipation or treating us in anal glands such as abscesses or tumours can make evacuation painful and cause a negative association with the sandpit. Of course, it also requires veterinary treatment.

Kidney disease and other metabolic diseases can cause an increase in the amount of urine the cat removes. This higher frequency of elimination may explain that we find some pee outside the sandpit. As in the previous cases, the cat must be taken to the veterinarian so that it reaches a diagnosis after the relevant tests that will include at least blood and urine tests.


Once the veterinarian has ruled out a physical problem, the explanation for improper elimination may be in stress. Cats are susceptible to changes, so any alteration in their routine can trigger stress responses with signs such as removal outside the sandpit, excessive self-grooming that even result in skin lesions, intense hair loss, appetite, fear, etc…


But it’s not just stressed that’s causing inadequate elimination. If we have a cat that has started sexual maturity, what happens between 5-8 months of age, and we do not castrate it, it is expected that you begin urinating everywhere to mark your territory.

Although it is a normal behaviour in males, females may also have inadequate elimination during the heat. This urine emission will be produced by spraying, and the cat will strive to direct it to leave its smell in the place that interests it.

Sterilization of males and females before their sexual maturity onset avoids these marking problems.

How to make changes in the lives of cats?

To avoid stressing the cat and thus anticipate the appearance of elimination problems, we must follow guidelines if we have to make any changes that substantially alter our cat’s daily life. They are as follows:

  • If something works, we shouldn’t change it. For example, if the cat uses its sand without a problem, we do not need to use another one.
  • Any alteration should be introduced gradually so that the novel element slowly comes into contact with the cat.
  • Products such as pheromones sprayers, feed, prizes, etc. are available for sale, which can be used with the cat and the environment for its relaxing effect.
  • Of course, it will help us to follow the indications given to us by a veterinarian specialising in behaviour or an ethologist, feline behavioural professional.

Environmental enrichment

Sometimes there is no change in the cat’s life, but it is stressed due to frustration. This is what happens in cats that lack stimuli. To offer what is known as a rich environment, we must follow the following guidelines:

  • A house designed for cats can increase their activity. Shelves, hideouts and furniture that allow you to climb and observe from the heights are a good start.
  • Scratchers, interactive and homemade toys with pheromones or crawler grass are an excellent choice.
  • Let’s not forget to give our attention to you for a while every day.
  • Some cats will be encouraged to have company, either from a congener or from other animals. To incorporate a new member into the family, we need to consult with a specialist to ensure it is not counterproductive.
Next post
Open next page to continue reading


I've loved cats ever since I was a young girl, and love to share my knowledge of them with the world! Thank you for reading ❤️ If you've got a question for me, don't hesitate to reach out.