Why Does My Cat Poop Outside The Litter Box?

April 14, 2020 // 7 minute read

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Cats are generally tidy, especially when it comes to using the toilet. It is their instinct to cover their waste after, and they always pee or poop in one place – the litter box. However, there are unusual cases where they keep on missing their litter box.

Sometimes this behavior is so sudden. It’s like one day they still like their litter box, and the next day they don’t anymore. Below, we discuss some of the reasons your cat may be going to the bathroom outside their designated area.

Cat Litter Box Training Tips

Reasons why your cat is missing his litter box

Health Problems

If there’s a sudden change in your cat’s behavior in terms of his usage of the litter box, visiting the vet first is highly recommended. There’s a possibility that your cat could be experiencing pain that makes it difficult for him to make his way to the litter box to defecate.

You’d want to check if your cat is having some health problems, and you would want to rule that out first.

Changes in the environment

If the vet has ruled out any medical issues, then you might want to check your cat’s situation. Were there any changes that occurred? A few changes in the environment can lead to stress, and this could result in your cat not using his litter box well. Here are a few things that you can check:

Is the litter box still clean?

Cats love a clean environment, and that includes their litter box. If you’re unable to maintain the cleanliness of your cat’s litter box, to the point where it smells, then your cat will likely move his business elsewhere. And worse, he’ll do this at a location that will surely catch your attention.

Is the location problematic for your cat?

Cat’s love privacy. Just like us, they want to be able to do their business in peace, meaning, the quieter the location, the better. If you’ve positioned the litter box in an area that has a lot of traffic, or in an area, they can’t access easily, then consider moving it to another location.

Is there a new member of the family?

Cats can be susceptible to changes such as having a new cat, a new baby, or if someone moved out. These situations cause stress to them, thus the unusual behavior. Most of the time, it’s temporary until your cat gets used to the new situation.

Litter Box Problems

Another thing that you can check is the litter box itself. Cats can be very particular with the type of litter box they use. If it’s not up to their standards, then you can’t expect them to use it.

A few things that you need to consider when choosing a litter box is the size and the type of litter box.

Size: The litter box’s size should be big enough for your cat to fit. There should be enough space for your cat to move around and cover his waste.

Litter Box Type:  The type of litter box, whether closed or open – should be considered too. If your cat loves privacy as he does his business, then an enclosed litter box will be perfect for him.

How to stop your cat from pooping outside the litter box

If you’ve ruled out the medical problems, here are the other ways you can stop your cat from pooping outside the litter box.

Clean the Box

As I’ve already mentioned, cats are very particular in their toilet area. If their litter box starts to smell because you are not able to clean it as frequently as needed, they might refuse to continue using it.

Make sure to scoop out clumps of litter daily. If you need to do it twice or thrice in a day (depending on how frequent your cat uses it), then do so. However, daily scooping will not suffice.

You need to do deep cleaning, too – get rid of the litter, scrub the box with soap and warm water, rinse it with clean water, dry it, and pour a new batch of fresh litter. Do this, and your cat will continue to love his litter box.

Focus on the Location

If your cat is going to the bathroom outside of their litter box, then you will need to cover up the scent. You can use an enzymatic cleaner so your cat won’t detect the smell and consider it OK to do his business there again.

Once it’s clean, block the access. This way, it’s clearer for your cat that this is not the place to do his business. Once you do that, encourage your cat to use his litter box again. Change the location to a place you think is accessible for him and one that gives him a sense of privacy.

Yes, cats love their privacy 🙂

Change the Litter Box

If you think that the litter box is the problem, then don’t hesitate to change it. However, observe your cat’s behavior first and make sure you find a litter box appropriate for your cat. This means the right size and the right type.

There’s no use buying a new litter box if you don’t think about these two factors as there would be a possibility that your cat would end up not using it again.

Litter Box FAQs

Why is my cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box?

Health problems, changes in the environment, and litter box problems are the top three reasons why this behavior happens.

If your cat is stressed, you can expect sudden changes in their behavior, such as suddenly pooping outside their litter box. So, if you want to know the main reason, make sure you check out the three factors I mentioned above.

Do cats poop out of spite?

No, they don’t. They poop because they’re in pain, or they’re stressed. So, if your cat is pooping outside their litter box, don’t feel upset. Instead, take your feline buddy to the nearest vet immediately for an examination. Your vet can also give you some recommendations on how you can handle this problem effectively.

Why does my cat poop on the floor but pee in the litter box?

Again, if you’ve already ruled out medical reasons as the problem, here are other reasons why this can be happening:

  • Your cat doesn’t like to poop at the same place he pees.
  • Your cat takes time to defecate. With other cats in the household, he feels unsafe.
  • Your cat doesn’t like the cat litter.

If you think it’s the first reason, try setting up another box to be used for pooping. If you have multiple cats in the household, there will be times that one of your cats will poop elsewhere because he doesn’t feel safe using the litter box. In this case, buy more than one litter box to accommodate all your cats. If it’s the cat litter, then all you need to do is change the litter up. This might take several tests before you find the right one, but research helps a lot.

Wrapping Up!

Poop outside the litter box is really a big problem for us, cat owners. However, make sure not to be upset with your kitty about it. Instead, observe his behavior and try to find out why he’s displaying such behavior. With the simple guide above, you’ll be sure to effectively address this issue and correct this behavior.

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