Veterinary Practice and Pet Dentist Leipzig


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Dr. Cornelia Fricke


Oelhafenstr. 7, Leipzig

Pet Clinic Leipzig - Location

+49 341 4616264

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Ein glückliches Meerschweinchen durch korrekte Fütterung und Haltung

Unclean Cats

Causes and solutions

As cat owners, we all have the same goal: a harmonious coexistence with our furry friends. But what should you do if your cat suddenly chooses to go outside the litter tray? This behavior can be both frustrating and confusing. That's why it's important to understand the causes and react appropriately.

Unclean cats can be a challenge, but with understanding, patience and the right measures, a solution can usually be found. It is important to be empathetic towards your cat and not to shy away from professional help if necessary. Scolding and punishment are not a solution and can even make the situation worse.

In this article, we explain the most common reasons for uncleanliness in cats and give tips on how owners can deal with it.


Why does my cat get messy and what can I do about it?

1. Medical causes

Before assuming a behavioral problem, a vet should be consulted to rule out medical causes. Bladder infections or digestive problems can also be reasons for the uncleanliness.

2. Stress and anxiety

Cats are creatures of habit. Changes in their environment, such as moving house, new family members (people or animals) or even the loss of a companion can cause stress and anxiety, which can lead to uncleanliness.

Try to identify and minimize the source of the stress. Keep the environment as calm as possible and give your cat enough time to get used to changes.

3. Dissatisfaction with the litter tray

The litter tray itself may be the reason. If it is too small, unclean, in an unpleasant place for the cat or shared with other cats, this can cause discomfort. The type of litter can also play a role.

Make sure the litter tray is clean, spacious and easily accessible. If necessary, experiment with different types of litter and make sure that there are enough toilets (number of cats + 1) available.

4. Territorial behavior

Unneutered male cats in particular like to mark their territory with urine. This can also happen inside the home.

Neutering can help to reduce marking behavior in male cats.


Checklist for a harmonious cat life

  • Health check: Check with a vet to rule out medical causes   
  • Recognize causes of stress: Minimize environmental changes, offer peace and quiet   
  • Litter tray management: adapt cleanliness, number and location to your cat's needs   
  • Litter experiment: Try out different types of litter to find the one you prefer   
  • Consider territorial behavior: Consider neutering if marking behavior occurs


The importance of the litter tray in cases of uncleanliness

The litter tray plays a crucial role in preventing messy behavior. Here are some important findings and tips:

  • Quantity: At least 2 litter boxes in separate locations are necessary, even for a single cat. For each additional cat you need one more litter tray.   
  • Locations: For very young, very old or disabled cats, the living space should be designed so that the distances to the litter box are not too far. One litter box should be provided per 50-70 m². The litter box should be in a quiet place, not in rooms with a lot of traffic, such as hallways and kitchens.   
  • Size and type: The size of a litter box should be adapted to the size of the cat, although a larger box is often better. Commercially available litter trays are often too small. Closed litter trays do not correspond to the cat's natural excretion habits. Closed litter trays retain unpleasant odors for the cat. Cats prefer a clear view when urinating.   
  • Litter and cleanliness: Cats prefer finely granulated, clumping litter made of clay with added activated charcoal. The litter depth should be approx. 7-10 cm and the litter tray should be cleaned at least once a day. The litter should not be perfumed. Cats do not like the strong smell of litter.



Cat mess can be avoided by providing suitable litter trays and taking into account the individual needs of cats. It is important to take into account the natural behavior and needs of cats in order to ensure a harmonious coexistence.

For more information and professional advice, please contact us to analyze your cat's individual situation and take appropriate measures.



Dr. med. vet. Cornelia Fricke  

Specialist veterinarian and practice owner

Additional qualifications in cage, zoo and wild birds and reptiles

Veterinary densist (German Society for Animal Dentistry)

Autorin: Dr. med. vet. Cornelia Fricke

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Dr. Cornelia Fricke

Oelhafenstr. 7, 04159 Leipzig


+49 341 4616264

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9 - 11:30 am | 3 - 6 pm


9 - 11:30 am | 3 - 6 pm


9 - 11:30 am | 3 - 6 pm