Help! My Cat Is Pooping Outside The Litter Box โ€“ What Should I Do?

One of the most frustrating things for cat parents is finding out that your cat is pooping outside the litter box. Once they stop using the litter box, your cat will start pooping somewhere inappropriate.

Why do cats poop outside the litter box? Your cat pooping outside the litter box is mostly due to a behavioral problem, but it could also be due to a medical condition. Finding out the reason your kitty is going outside their box is the key to resolving the problem.

In this article, we are going to look at reasons why an older cat would stop using the litter box, how to get your feline buddy to use the litter box, how to retrain a cat to use the litter box, and some home remedies to stop cats from pooping everywhere. Before that, however, letโ€™s see what pooping outside the litter box means for your cat.

What Does It Mean When A Cat Poops Outside The Litter Box?

If your cat is pooping outside the litter box all of a sudden, this can mean one of the following things.

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A Dirty Litter Box

Cats are known for their cleanliness, and if they feel that their litter box is too dirty, they will stop using it. Some cats will find somewhere else to poop, while other cats will use the litter box, but then take the poop out of the litter box.

Some Other Problem With The Litter Box

If your cat is pooping everywhere, this can also be a sign that there is some other problem with the litter box. Either there arenโ€™t enough litter boxes, the litter box is too small for your kitty, or the litter box is covered, making your cat uncomfortable when using the box.

Wrong Location

Aside from being fastidiously clean, cats also love their privacy. They donโ€™t like doing their business in public. Therefore, they will stop using a litter box if it is a location they donโ€™t like. Cats will also avoid using a litter box that is in a location where they could easily get cornered by another cat or dog.

Do Cats Poop Out Of Spite?

While a lot of people believe that cats poop outside the litter box when they are mad, this is very unlikely. Most times, your cat pooping outside the litter box is a sign that there is something wrong with the box.

Your cat pooping outside the box could also be caused by age, which brings us to our next pointโ€ฆ

Why Would An Older Cat Start Pooping Outside The Litter Box?

After using a litter box all their life, a lot of people are surprised that their older cat is not using the litter box anymore. However, this is a common problem among senior cats.

How old is a senior cat? Cats are considered to be senior when they are past the age of 7.

Here are some reasons why your senior cat could stop using the litter box:

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An Aging Body

A cat that is already in its senior years is not as nimble as it used to be in its younger days. Its body becomes stiffer, and its muscles are weaker. This can make getting into and out of the litter box a difficult experience for your four-legged buddy.

Once they notice that using the litter box is becoming a challenge for them, aging felines will opt to find a different place where they can do their business without too much struggle.

Health Problems

Older cats are also at a higher risk of suffering from health conditions that could make it difficult for them to use their litter box.

Examples of such health conditions include urinary tract infections, degenerative joint diseases, kidney stones, feline interstitial cystitis, diabetes, cancer, thyroid problems, blindness, spondylosis deformans, and so on.

Environmental Stress

Aging cats are less adaptable to their environment, which makes them more likely to be stressed by changes in their environment, such as moving house, the introduction of new pets or family members, or even home remodeling.

This stress can be manifested through failure to use the litter box.

How Can I Get My Cat To Poop In The Litter Box?

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Clean The Litter Box Regularly

Cats wonโ€™t do their business in a dirty litter box, so you need to keep the box clean. So, how often should you clean a litter box for one cat?

The litter box should be scooped and changed daily, while the litter box should be thoroughly cleaned on a weekly basis.

During the weekly clean, use unscented soap or baking soda to rinse the litter box.

Change Litter Type

Your cat could have grown averse to the kind of litter youโ€™re currently using, so youโ€™ll need to try another type of litter. Most cats show a preference for clumped litter, so give this a try.

However, if your cat doesnโ€™t prefer this type of litter, give them other litter types.

Change The Location Of The Litter Box

If you believe that the location of the litter box is the problem, move it to a different location.

The ideal location for a litter box should be an easily accessible location with minimal traffic.

If your home has multiple stories, ensure there is a litter box on each floor.

Change The Litter Box

If you try all the above and it doesnโ€™t work, try changing the litter box.

Get a large and enclosed litter box for comfort and privacy. It helps too if the cat litter box has multiple entry and exit points, so your feline buddies are unlikely to feel trapped, and thus more comfortable doing their business inside the cat litter box.

A good option that we recommend is the GENENIC Large Foldable Cat Litter Box. This litter box has a special design that makes it very easy to clean, on top of the spaciousness and multiple entry feature.

How Should You Train A Cat To Poop Inside The Litter Box?

Training a kitten how to use a litter box is a little bit different from retraining an older cat who has stopped using the litter box.

So, how do you retrain an older cat to use the litter box?

See A Vet

We already saw that failure to use the litter box among older cats could be caused by medical issues. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to have your cat checked out by a vet.

This way, if there are medical issues keeping your kitty from using their box, they will be resolved before you start retraining the cat.

Some cats will actually get back to using their box once the medical issues have been dealt with.

Refresh Your Catโ€™s Memory

You can retrain your cat to use the litter box by keeping them confined in one room and providing them with a litter box in this room. With time, the cat will start using the litter box. 

Once you notice that your cat has gotten comfortable using the litter box, you can then start giving your cat access to the rest of the house for an hour on day one, two hours the next day, and so on, until they are comfortable with coming back to this room to use the litter box.

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Use Attractants

Another way of getting your older cat to use the litter box is to spray their litter box with attractants. Attractants contain scents that will compel your cat to use the litter box as their preferred area for elimination.

Home Remedies To Stop Cats From Pooping Everywhere

Some home remedies you can use to get your cat to stop pooping outside the litter box includeโ€ฆ

Make Inappropriate Places Undesirable

If your cat has developed a preference for eliminating in an inappropriate place, stop this behavior by making this place undesirable for your cat.

Try laying down aluminum foil or double-sided adhesive tape on the surface to discourage your cats from pooping at a particular area.

This will make walking around the place uncomfortable for your cat, thus discouraging them from eliminating there.

Use Cat Repellents

Another great way of discouraging your cat from eliminating inappropriate areas is to use cat repellents. Cat repellents contain scents that cats hate. Cats particularly hate peppermint, which is why I recommend the Handcraft Peppermint Essential Oil

Simply dropping a few drops of the oil in places you donโ€™t want your cat to pee or poop will stop them from doing their business there.

Clean Up Evidence

If your cat eliminates in an inappropriate place, make sure to clean this area thoroughly using enzymatic cleaners that will completely remove the scent of your catโ€™s poop or urine. If you donโ€™t do this, the scent from their waste will attract your cat to continue doing their business in the same place.

Give Your Cat Enough Playtime

Boredom can easily turn into stress for your cat, which will, in turn, increase its likelihood of pooping outside the litter box.

To avoid this, you should ensure your cat is getting enough play and mental stimulation. You can do this by buying toys and cat trees for your cat.

Why Does My Cat Want Me To Watch Him Poop? Your cat wanting you to watch them poop could be a sign that they donโ€™t feel safe. Pooping puts your cat in a vulnerable position, and by calling out for you to watch them, your cat wants you to look out for them and let them know that they are safe while they do their business.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Cat Dying Of Kidney Failure? Some of the symptoms of a cat dying of kidney failure include thirst and dehydration, muscle twitching, little to no urine, reddened eyes, mouth and body odors, depression, and incontinence. If you notice that your cat is pooping outside the litter box, this can be a sign of kidney disease, so have the cat checked by a vet.

When Should You Put Your Cat Down? If your cat has a terminal disease that is causing them a lot of pain and suffering, it is time to consider putting your cat down to end its misery. Many terminal diseases can be managed if theyโ€™re discovered early, so you should see a vet whenever your cat develops strange behavior, such as pooping outside the litter box.

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Pete Decker