Why Is Your Cat Suddenly Pooping Outside the Litter Box?
28 June, 2017
cat pooping outside litter

When your kitty has elimination problems, it is no fun for anyone.  And, as our cats get older, they tend to urinate outside the litter box.  But, when you have young cats that suddenly start pooping outside the litter box, it is an annoying and confusing problem.  Especially if your cat still pees in that same box!  There are a few reasons why your cat might be suddenly pooping where he shouldn’t.

As always, first thing to do is check with your veterinarian to see if there is a medical issue

If your cat suddenly starts pooping outside the litter box, there could be an underlying medical reason – pain while pooping, for example.  If you have a couple kitties, it can be hard to determine which is having the issue, so there are other things you can check first.  Or you might need to bring both to the vet.

Were there any changes to your home or even outside your home?

Were there any changes in your normal household routine when this behavior started? Cats are creatures of habit, and any change, like rearranging furniture or even just seeing a new cat outside the window could trigger the behavioral change. And since cats commonly leave their poop uncovered in the wild, leaving it outside the box could signal to that cat outside that this house is your cats!

Make sure to clean your litter box daily and even twice a day!

Make sure to keep your litter box clean super clean and scoop it at least once a day. Once a week, clean all litter boxes with warm water and unscented soap, baking soda or no soap, and completely replace the litter. Any smell, even scented cleaners, can throw your cat off and become an issue. And, of course, once you cat has an accident, make sure to clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner so your cat doesn’t do a repeat.

Your litter might be bothering your kitty

If you think your cat may dislike her litter type, texture or smell, try different types of litter to use. Cats generally prefer clumping litter with a medium to fine texture. They also usually prefer unscented litter. To help your cat pick her preferred litter, put a few boxes side-by-side with different types of litter in them. She’ll use the one the she likes best.  Also, try some varying depths of litter to see if that helps.

Your litter box could be too small

If the box is too small, your cat might hang over it or be uncomfortable using it. Also, if you use a covered litter box, consider removing the cover or trying something without a cover. Your cat might be feel better that he doesn’t feel crouched when pooping.

The location and number of litter boxes might be an issue for your cat

The general rule is one litter box per cat.  And, as we know pooping requires more time than peeing so maybe your kitty suddenly feels a bit anxious about being exposed that long. If there are other cats in your home, they may be intimidating your cat during litter box visits. Make sure the box is in a location that offers an easy escape for your cat. Or even better, make sure you have several boxes in different locations so your cat has options.

Furry butt syndrome can be an issue for long haired cats

Some cats with long hair don’t like the feel of remnants sticking to their fur so they may try to resolve that issue by pooping elsewhere.   A simple fix is to trim the fur around your kitty’s bottom with small pet grooming scissors and keep it nice and clean.

Whatever has pushed your cat out of the box, getting him back on track will take patience. If anxiety created the problem, set up a quiet retreat for the cat to do his business in a room or area with minimal household traffic.  And, of course, once the poop occurs, clean it up ASAP to avoid further issues.

If your cat is peeing outside the litter box, you might want to read this article about Litter Box Issues  Or if your dog is getting in the cat’s litter box:  Dog Issues with Litter Boxes




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