Cat Pooping Outside of Litter Box: Causes and How to Stop It

Most cats learn how to use a litter box very quickly, even when they’re still little kittens. Since cats enjoy cleanliness in their lives, they prefer to use their litter box instead of having potty accidents around the home. However, there are some instances when cats may poop outside the litter box.

Cat pooping outside litter box

It’s considered abnormal behavior if your cat is pooping outside of their litter box, and it’s important to figure out the root cause of the issue before deciding what to do about it. Read through the article below to learn more.

6 Potential Causes for Why Your Cat’s Pooping Outside of Their Litter Box

Below are some potential reasons why your cat’s pooping outside of the litter box:

Diarrhea or Constipation

If your cat has diarrhea she can’t control, she may start pooping outside the litter box because she can’t help it. On the other hand, if she’s constipated, she might associate the litter box with pain and may try pooping elsewhere.

Other Health Issues

Some health problems may cause your cat to have difficulty remembering where she is supposed to poop or making it to the litter box on time. Your veterinarian can give you more information about this possibility in your cat.

Dirty Litter Box

Another potential cause for cats pooping outside of their litter box is a dirty litter box. A dirty litter box may be more than enough to stop your cat from wanting to use it. Have you ever walked into a public bathroom stall, then turned around and left because it was a mess? Cats sometimes feel the same way!

Household Stressors

Changes in your household can stress your cat and cause her to poop outside the litter box. These may include new pets, new babies, moving to a new home, children going off to college, or changes in family members’ routines.

Too Many Cats Using One Litter Box

If you have too many cats sharing the same litter box, chances are good they won’t want to use it anymore. This can also contribute to the dirtiness and smell of the litter box, too.

Dislike of Litter Box Location

Sometimes, your cat simply won’t like her little box location, and this can cause them to poop outside of it. It may be too far away from the rest of the household, and she may feel trapped when she tries to use it.

On the other hand, it may be right in the middle of the action, and she may feel like she is going to be interrupted or bothered when she tries to use it instead.

Treatment and Management for Cats Pooping Outside of Litter Box

If you notice your cat keeps pooping outside the litter box, there things you can do to help manage or treat this behavior:

Work with Your Vet

If your cat has an underlying health condition causing her litter box issues, you’ll need to work with your veterinarian to resolve it. If your cat is having frequent diarrhea or constipation, it’s important to talk with your vet about these problems as well.

Clean the Box Often

If you have one cat, you should be scooping the litter daily and replacing it once a week. If you have more than one cat, you’ll need to do both of these actions more often to ensure the litter box is clean enough for your cat’s standards. This is also better for you and your family, too!

Change the Litter Type

Sometimes cats simply dislike the type or smell of the litter you’re using. Your cat may not like the texture of her litter, or you may be using a scented litter that bothers her when she’s trying to poop. Try changing to a new type of litter to see if that makes a difference in your cat’s litter box habits.

Help Your Cat Feel More at Ease

If your cat is stressed by changes in the household, you may need to spend some extra time showing her some attention and love to help her feel less stressed. Very anxious or stressed cats may need to be placed on anxiety medication by the vet.

Change the Litter Box Location

Your cat may be uncomfortable with her litter box location, which could be a cause for why she keeps pooping outside of it. If so, you can try changing it to a new spot in the home. Just make sure your cat knows where it is and can always access it for best results.

Add More Litter Boxes

When you have multiple cats in your family, it’s important to have enough litter boxes to support all of them. It’s best to have one litter box per cat and then an additional one for any extra needs. You should position these throughout the home so your cats can access them whenever they need them as well.

Call a Vet if Your Cat’s Pooping Outside the Litter Box

If you can’t quite determine the cause of your cat’s litter box issues, or if you think there may be a health problem causing her to poop outside the litter box, it’s time to go to the vet. Your vet will be able to work with you to resolve problems for your specific cat, and will also give you individualized recommendations and information for your pet.

With the help of your vet, you can get your cat back to her healthy self once again. You can also work through other litter box related problems as needed. If your cat’s pooping outside the litter box, schedule an appointment with our team at The Village Vets. We’ll determine if there’s a health condition causing this behavior and provide additional advice for treating this problem.

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.