I got a comment on one of our YouTube videos the other day stating something to the effect of "my cat is a weirdo, she likes to poop outside of the litter box" - which reminded me to re-run this post. Many people do wonder why their cat poops on the floor next to the litter box.
- Why is my cat pooping outside of the litter box on the floor?
- What smells deter cats from pooping?
- Cats Not Using Litter Box Anymore: Reasons and Solutions
- Cats Not Using Their Litter Box to Poop: Additional Solutions Why is my cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box?
- Cat Pooping Outside Box? FAQs
- Do cats poop out of spite?
- How can I get my cat to stop pooping on the floor? - A Reader's Success Story
- Cat Poops Outside of the Litter Box – UPDATE!
- Cat Pooping Outside the Box - Success for a Reader Again!
- Here are some more posts you might want to read:
- Have you stocked up on Cat Litter for the month? See our Readers' Favorite
Why is my cat pooping outside of the litter box on the floor?
It is not uncommon for pet owners to be faced with the issue of a cat who will pee inside the litter box, but cat pooping outside of the box, sometimes even right next to it. Changes in the cat's routine or problems with the litter box are frequently the source of litter box issues.
However, if your house-trained cat suddenly stops using its litter box, the first thing you should do is take him to the vet to rule out any health issues.
Below are a few possible explanations for this frustrating problem and some suggestions for how to prevent cat pooping outside the box.
What smells deter cats from pooping?
If your cat defecates outside of the litter box, despite your best attempts to make them stop, thoroughly clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner. This way, your cat won't pick up the scent and think it is safe to go there again.
If your cat is suffering from diarrhea or constipation, the urge to go can be strong and sudden, and he may not be able to reach the litter box in time. However, if your cat does not have an underlying health condition, this should just be a transitory condition.
A skilled veterinarian can not only help you avoid bad behavior but can also improve your cat's general health.
Consider first taking your kitty to the vet and doing a fecal check if they are having this issue. This is a must, especially if they have loose stool, as this could be a possible sign of:
- Parasite eggs
- Pain while pooping
- Anal glands that need to be cleaned.
If your veterinarian concludes that the problem is not caused by a physical condition, she may investigate whether your cat has a behavioral issue. You can discuss behavioral issues, even if you receive a confirmation of good health for your feline friend.
Even if you think your cat is spiteful and you're dealing with behavioral issues, you should see your veterinarian rule out any possible medical issues.
If your cat has a health problem that is causing it to leave the litter box, you should address it as soon as possible.
If you have solutions to offer that are not listed here, please share them in the comments. I would like for this page to be a good source of reference for cat owners, so any additional insights are always appreciated.
All products featured on the site are independently selected by the editor of Floppycats, Jenny Dean. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. You can read our full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Cats Not Using Litter Box Anymore: Reasons and Solutions
Furry Butt Syndrome
Some long-haired cats might get poop stuck in their fur. Felines are very clean creatures and they don't like the feel of remnants of feces, sticking to their fur. As they associate this feeling with the litter box, the easiest solution to their problem seems to be to poop elsewhere.
This issue can be easily resolved by keeping the fur around the cat’s bottom nicely trimmed, so it stays clean.
There are a variety of reasons why a cat might reject a certain type of litter for pooping, but not for peeing. Since cats poop in a different position than they pee, it might be a simple matter of the level of litter — they might want it lower for pooping.
It could also be a matter of the type of litter. The cat might prefer an unscented option, such as wheat or clay unscented litter.
You might also try Cat Attract Litter, which is designed to appeal to cats who are having litter box problems with its ideal:
- Particle size
- Herbal scent.
Make sure you use the same brand of litter each time. Switching from one litter to another, for example, can cause your cat to become agitated. If the texture and aroma are stronger or different, they can tell.
In addition, many cats dislike the additional aromas they add to cat toilets (they are full of chemicals). They may dislike the litter's:
Too much dirt might be just as problematic as too little dirt.
The litter level
Do you have enough litter for your cat to bury their poop? It can be a challenge to figure out at first, but most cats prefer around 2-4" inches, and then top it off as the depth drops below what the cat prefers.
You can always tell when it's too low, as they will leave half of it exposed. On the flip side, sometimes the litter level is too deep and readers have reported that a cat's hind legs sunk in too far into the litter and the poos would stick to their pantaloons. You can reduce the litter level or change litter brands to a heavier litter.
Do you check to make sure that you get all of the poop when you scoop? Sometimes there are very small pieces at the end of the job and they get left behind in the tray. This can make some cats eliminate outside the tray rather than risk touching old poop with their paws.
The Litter-Lifter litter scoop is awesome for quickly and efficiently scooping boxes.
If you have recently introduced a new pet into your home, your cat might be feeling a bit jealous or neglected and communicating that message by pooping outside of the box. The simplest solution, if you suspect jealously, is to make a conscious effort to devote more time and attention to that cat. At least until they get used to their new furry companion.
You might also look into calming herbs to give your cat as they are adjusting, although you should consult a vet before giving the cat anything. Some cat owners suggest valerian root, while others believe this is toxic to cats, so check with your vet for safe and effective suggestions.
The litter box
Because of the different positions for pooping and peeing, your cat might be having a hard time getting situated for #2 in the box.
Is the litter box too small? Ragdoll cats are big cats. Maybe she needs a larger litter box.
You can try using:
- Bigger box
- Box with higher or lower walls
- Clear box.
A special type of box for cats with litter box problems, such as the NVR Miss, could be a good solution to helping a cat get themselves oriented to avoid pooping over the edge of the box.
Or you might go for a really large litter box - like the So Phresh Scatter Shield High-Back Litter Box.
Ragdolls in particular, are larger cats, so they might need a little more room to get situated.
If you are having trouble finding a big enough (and affordable) litter box, get creative! Go to a hardware store and look for a large plastic container that could serve as a litter box.
Use a covered litter box
Some people try covered litter boxes, but this can make it more difficult for the cat to get comfortable.
Keep in mind that not all cats like their toilets to be covered and it might not be the solution you're looking for.
The number of litterboxes
You should have one more litter box than the number of cats in a household. So, one cat - 2 litterboxes or 3 cats - 4 litterboxes.
Since pooping takes cats a little longer, a cat might be experiencing anxiety about being vulnerable for that length of time, or might be disrupted by other pets in the house.
Some cats prefer to have clear lines of sight from their litter box or an easy “escape.” Read more about this and other possible issues in the article “Cat Pooping Outside the Litter Box? 5 Things to Consider.”
Could your cat be dealing with constipation or are their poops a little hard? When they struggle to poop, they sometimes feel the need to move around.
Cats Not Using Their Litter Box to Poop: Additional Solutions Why is my cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box?
Keep the box extra clean
Your cat pooping outside box? Sometimes cats are just particularly fussy about the cleanliness of their box. Try cleaning the box more frequently if possible to see if this helps.
Sometimes this solution can be handled much like you would handle an issue with a dog—by getting the cat used to their box and rewarding them for using it.
Dawn had this issue with her cat, Pyro, and solved it by putting him in the litter box a few times a day and petting him during that time. During each session, she would:
- Pet him
- Give him a treat
- Gently put him back into the box if he tried to leave on his own.
She would also put him in the box if he looked like he had to go, and after a while, he started using it on his own. She switched to only rewarding him with treats after he used the box, and Pyro got the message.
She occasionally still gives him a treat to keep up the reinforcement. Check out her story: “Using Positive Reinforcement to Retrain Cats with Litter Box Problems.”
Doggy Pee Pad
You can pop a doggy pee pad down underneath the litter tray (it helps when you have a kitty that poops or pees next to the tray). You can get a 100 Puppy Pads, Regular and Extra Large on Amazon.
Multiple litter boxes
Wondering why is my cat pooping outside the litter box? Sometimes cats want options, particularly if you have more than one cat. A good rule of thumb is one box for each cat, plus one more. And in different locations in the house.
Following where the cat goes
This goes along with the idea that the location of the box might be the problem. If you find your cat is pooping in the same spot outside of the litter box (such as on a certain rug or by a window), think about moving the box to that location to see if the cat will start to use the box there.
If you have had success getting your cat to poop in the litter box using techniques other than these, please feel free to share them in a comment below!
Cat Pooping Outside Box? FAQs
How do you stop a cat from pooping on the floor?
The first and most important step is to scoop and clean the litter box daily.
- Clean the old litter.
- Rub the empty container with mild dish detergent and warm water.
- Rinse it with clean water.
- Let it air dry
- Pour in a new supply of clean, non-scented litter (scented toilet might be irritating to cats.)
Use rubber gloves (and a face mask, if needed) whenever you clean your cat's litter box to protect yourself from harmful bacteria and litter dust.
Because cats are naturally clean creatures, they will be hesitant to use a litter box if it isn't kept clean. You can get a specific scoop and bag for this purpose.
Clean the tray/box thoroughly every other day and replace the trash. Remember that if you sense the way a tray smells, your poor kitty experiences the smell 14 times worse. If the tray is soiled, your cat will go to the bathroom somewhere else.
Should you use liners inside of your cat's plastic litter box?
Plastic litter box liners should not be used since they may encourage the growth of bacteria.
To clean the box, avoid using harsh cleaning agents and instead use mild detergents and very hot water. Before filling in the box with litter, make sure it's completely dry.
Because cats are quite sensitive to smells and could find them irritating, it is probably best to avoid scented litter.
How to stop a cat from peeing and pooping outside the litter box?
Cats have strong territorial instincts. As their wild ancestors, your domestic kitten could mark their territory using:
- Pheromones (which we can't smell)
Yes, when it comes to claiming territory, pooping in different places is definitely not out of the question. Your cat's instincts may be altered if you bring a new animal into the house, or if a stray animal or wildlife hides outside in your yard.
Your cat poops to mark their territory dealing because of wild or feral animals
Because your cat may pick up scents before we, the owners do, can smell or even see with our human eyes, it might be difficult to tell if it involves feral cats or other wildlife. Make sure your cat's sleeping and resting areas are both indoors.
Consider putting up a fence to keep stray animals and wildlife out of your yard, if that's what you're dealing with.
Your cat poops to mark their territory dealing because of a new cat or dog in the household
If this behavior has started after you've introduced another animal into the house, make sure your cat has a separate litter box. Take your time to gradually introduce the animals. This type of shift may take some time for cats to acclimatize to.
If you've acquired a second cat, consider purchasing an additional litter box rather than attempting to share one with both cats. As a rule of thumb, each cat should have a minimum of one litter bin, plus one extra. If you have two cats, this means you should have three litter bins.
It's worth noting that the boxes should be placed in different locations. Otherwise, one cat may try to protect and own all of the toilets, preventing the other cat from using them. Dominant cats exist.
Make sure your cat's litter box is appropriate for her. A large cat needs a large litter box. You'll need a separate litter box for each cat if you have more than one.
How to choose the ideal location for the cat toilet? My cat pooping outside box!
It's not difficult to locate the ideal location for a litter box. All it takes is a little common sense.
Understandably, most people won't want to eat or sit near the toilet. Cats, for example, are ver clean creatures. Simply keep the litter box as far away from their food and water bowls. It's a good idea to keep it away from human food, too.
A fantastic area to keep a litter box could be a:
- Utility room
- Storage room
Just make sure the cat can find it and that it is easily available. Hiding the tray in a small or very closed area might not appeal to your cat (felines don't want to feel trapped).
How do you discipline a cat for pooping outside the litter box?
Disciplining your cat, if they've pooped outside the litterbox (or for anything else in that matter), is NOT a good approach to solve a problem.
Sometimes, a cat pooping outside the box could be due to a medical illness, such as constipation or feline interstitial cystitis. Your cat might not want to behave in a naughty way, it might simply not be able to get to the litter box on time.
If your cat looks like it's having trouble peeing or you notice that your cat is urinating more frequently than usual, you should take it to the veterinarian for an examination.
Your cat may be suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), if it's consuming more water than usual. When it tries to urinate, it can be painful. So, keep an eye on them, while they're using the litter.
It's crucial to remember that most medical conditions are treatable if they're identified early.
Do cats poop out of spite?
Do cats poop outside of their litter box when they're mad? Probably on a particular occasion and as a one-time thing - yes. But being spiteful is not normal cat behavior.
But if your cat suddenly starts pooping outside their litter box and it happened more than once, you have to pay attention. It could be a sign that something's not right. It's not necessary to be a medical issue but it could be a possibility. Consult with your vet as soon as possible.
How can I get my cat to stop pooping on the floor? - A Reader's Success Story
This is a message I received on September 3, 2016 and it still warms my heart every time I read it. Feedback like this makes me keep sharing with you every amazing product on the market I stumble upon:
"Dear Jenny, Several months ago I wrote to you about Mr. Bentley. At the time he was ten months old. When Mr. Bentley became a member of our family, he was so precious and still is.
The only problem we encountered was his bathroom habits. He urinated in the litter box (thankfully) but when it came to pooping, well, he thought the floor in front of the litter box was the best place for that!!!!
So, I wrote to you hoping you would be able to solve that problem. You gave us several suggestions, but we had either tried those or they did not apply.
Then, I was reading one of the Newsletters and at the bottom, it had recommendations for certain products. One of them was “Cat Attract Litter”. We went to Petco and purchased a bag and tried it out.
Well, I am so happy to report that Mr. Bentley has become a very good boy!!! For two months now he has had no accidents.
Thank you, Jenny, for helping us solve our problem. We are a very happy family now!!!
Cat Poops Outside of the Litter Box – UPDATE!
I was so thrilled to receive this email from JudyLyn. If you remember reading about her troubles with her kitty Voltaire pooping outside of the litter box, many of you came to her aid with great suggestions.
Here’s what JudyLyn has to say:
Cat Pooping Outside the Box - Success for a Reader Again!
Seven days, NO accidents!
After taking all of the suggestions and information, it seems we have unlocked the mystery to Voltaire’s preferred litter box(es)!! He prefers the clear box with LOW SIDES to poop, and the purple box with HIGH SIDES to urinate.
The 40 lb ExquisiCat Litter was purchased at PetSmart on sale for about ten bucks!
Van Gogh, who loves to dig, is just the opposite! He poops in the purple box and urinates in the clear box… silly kitties!!!
They tend to use only two boxes; but, I set up the extra one as was suggested. Let it be noted also, that I only put a thin layer of litter in the clear box…which may have been part of the issue for Voltaire.
He has never covered his poop, and I personally think he did not like the AMOUNT of litter I was using… no matter, the combination of everything worked like a charm.
Thank you for restoring peace and harmony to my Ragdoll home!!”