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Cat Simply Will Not Poop in Box, Help!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
In April I adopted a spayed, female cat. She's the sweetest and most gentle cat I've ever met, and is a wonderful pet. However, I simply cannot get her to poop in her litter box.

It all started three months ago when I became fed up with having to sweep up litter off the floor and purchased her one of these:

If you can't see it, it's one of those litter boxes that looks like an Igloo with little stairs to prevent the litter from getting out. I felt confident in doing this since during the six month period I had her she didn't have a single accident. However, I soon realized that she seemed wary of going inside and would sprint out as soon as she did her business. After a few days she began to poop on the floor just outside her box, and I got the message and switched back to her old box, content to live with sandy floors.

The problem didn't stop there, however. With her old box back in its normal location, she continued to poop on the floor. Not every time, but maybe one or two times per week. Hoping to re-train her, I would put the misplaced poops in her box and bring her over. Without any encouragement, she would jump in and bury them to much praise. This didn’t seem to work though, as the problem continued.

In the last month it’s gotten much worse. She now does about 75% of her poops on the floor. She’s a very smart cat and is actually aware that she’s not supposed to be doing this. Before she goes on the floor, she tries to dig a hole, and all I have to do is walk into the room where she is or call her name and she’ll immediately run into her box and do it in there as if her plans have been foiled.

She’s never peed outside of her box, and she seems to be perfectly comfortable going in it and digging around. When I do catch her about to go on the floor and she runs into the box, she quickly digs a hole and goes with ease, so she doesn’t seem to fear the box or be experiencing any discomfort in there.

These are the things I’ve tried:
- Various shapes and sizes of litter boxes
- Having two litter boxes, both adjacent and separated (she seems confused and just picks one)
- Moving her litter box to different locations (she doesn't seem to care where it is)
- Different types/amounts of litter (again, she seems indifferent to this)
- Positive reinforcement when she does poop in the box (this has taught her where she’s supposed to poop, but she still seems to have no problem going on the floor when I’m not around)
- Taking her to see the Vet (she has no medical issues and the Vet simply offered the usual advice I’ve found online)
- Changing her diet (she’s tried three or four different foods)

Some other information:
- She’s never been scared/hurt/startled in the box. I live alone and have no other pets
- She’s not being attracted to a particular area on the floor where she’s pooped in the past as she rarely poops on the same spot but instead will simply go wherever there's free floor space
- I keep the box as clean as possible, scooping it at least twice a day. She will poop right next to a spotless box.
- She is not an easily stressed cat, so I don’t think stress is the issue.

I’m really at a loss at this point. I’d never consider getting rid of her, but it’s terrible to wake up every morning to a stinky poop on the floor. If anybody has any advice that I haven’t thought of it would be much appreciated. Thanks.
post #2 of 9
Have you tried Cat Attract litter? And, have you put any of the boxes right where she's pooped (yeah, I know, not always the most aesthetic solution). And, I'm assuming you've cleaned with an enzyme cleaner and double checked with a black light? And, hate to tell you, I'd actually prefer pooping over peeing issues - at least you can always see where the poo is!

What kind of flooring is she pooping on - if it's hard floor, maybe even try just an empty litter box (maybe she likes the texture). I've read that if it's carpet, actually get some old carpeting and sort of shred it up, and use it as litter, gradually changing over to a more conventional litter.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I do use enzyme cleaner, but she never seems to pay any attention to where she goes anyway, as long as it's on the floor somewhere.

I haven't heard of Cat Attract Litter but that seems like a great idea. I haven't seen any at Petco which is where I normally shop, do you know which stores might carry it?

She poops on the hard wood floor, so the empty litter box idea sounds interesting also, I'll have to try it. Maybe even a box lined with some sort of paper that I could just pick up and throw away.

And yes, I had a dog with a kidney disease that resulted in him peeing on the floor almost daily for 5+ years, so I'm all with you on the pooping > peeing thing Thanks for the suggestions!
post #4 of 9
Petsmart carries Cat Attract litter - there's also an additive you can add to regular litter. Don't know why Petco doesn't carry the litter or the Dr. Elsey line - I've asked them about it! You can also order Cat Attract, etc., on line if need be. It's a bit more expensive than regular litter, but each bag has an instructional booklet inside, which has a $1 off coupon your next purchase. It's around $13 for a 20 pound sack - I usually get a month out of 20 pounds per box. I've had great luck with it (boy had litter box issues) and I've heard a lot of people have also had good luck. I do now use 3 boxes for 2 cats...seems to be working for now.

Oh, I read that sometimes it's worth trying boxes with different levels of litter inside - some cats honestly just like an inch or so in the box, while others have to have that nice deep beach to play with. A male friend of mind did approach his cat's issues like a science experiment - various types of boxes, locations, litters, levels - I think it took his mind off the icky clean-up. And, he finally did locate a good combo for his cat.

Maybe a box with those piddle pads might be worth a shot - it always seems like we're experimenting til we find what works - but thank goodness you got her cleared by the vet. Hopefullly you'll find the right combination - it's can be so hard when you love them so much and they can't tell you why they don't like the darn box!
post #5 of 9
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
Petsmart carries Cat Attract litter - there's also an additive you can add to regular litter.
i've gotten both the litter & the additive at Petsmart here, too. works well to keep my Chip on 'target' - when i neglect using one or the other, he has an unfortunate tendency to occasionally poop on my bed.
the additive works best if used w/an unscented litter. the CatAttract literature says only use their brand, but it works just fine w/other unscented clumping clay litters [i use ScoopAway].
post #6 of 9
Since you've tried everything else, I would try confining her to a small room for a couple of days. Make it as comfortable as you can with a bed, etc, and a litter pan. See if she will use a litter pan in there.

If she poops on the floor, scoop it up and put it in the litter pan and cover it up and leave it in there and see what happens the second time. I know this is contrary to what most will tell you (I've got my flame suit on), but I have 2 cats and 5 litter pans (2 story house), and they use all 5 litter pans, but if there's one with poop in it already, they will use that one first. Maybe my cats are just slobs.

If she doesn't get the idea, then it must be something about the litter pan she doesn't like, and you've tried everything, so I don't know.

If she does, then just gradually open up the rest of the house to her, as long as she continues to use the litter pan.

I know this is very hard to do. My cats would meow for hours if I did. But I can see you are desperate. I would be too, and I would give it a try.
post #7 of 9
Ah, I've had the same problem with 1 of my cats for YEARS. Unfortunately even the cat attract litter won't work for her (although the other ones fight to get in the box the second the stuff is put in there). I have a regular large supply of puppy pads, and put those in spots she likes to go. 90% of the time, she poops on those.
I always thought it was tied into the seizures she has or the meds she takes for them, but like you said, I know she knows it's wrong. I think because she knows she's my favorite, she knows she can get away with murder, I mean what choice do I have? She knows I can't hit her and that I'll never get rid of her lol
post #8 of 9
Has your cat been declawed?
post #9 of 9
Did you do the simplest thing and just put her feet in the liter box?

So, her natural instincts comes out to use it?

That's what I did. I just put her feet in the box and let her find it on her own.

Since everything is on a schedule. You seem to know when you cat is going to use the bathroom. So after you clean it. My cat seems to use it right afterwards.

Hopeful your cat will poop in the box one day and the kitty liter will do it's job and make the room fresh.

Cat poop and pee might be one of the worst smells.

A cat's breath is second.

But, we still love our cats.

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