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Inappropriate poop problems answered  

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Here are some things I have copied from other threads to try for cats who poop outside of the litter box. Please add to the list anything you have tried that works.

Pooping outside the box is often a sign that the cat is sick. So, a vet visit will be a good idea. If the vet rules out medical problems, try some of these solutions:

Pooping outside the box will often happen when the cat has had painful bowel movements. The cat associates the pain with the litter box and becomes afraid to use the litter box to poop in. If you notice that the feces are hard and dry, try adding a little Libby’s raw pumpkin to her diet or give a little hairball medicine on a daily basis until the stool becomes a little softer.

There are many cats who refuse to pee and poop in the same box. Simply adding a second box often solves this problem. (scoop both boxes daily)

Also, many cats will do this if they don't think the box is clean enough. Just imagine yourself sitting and concentrating on a toilet full of excrement....not a pleasant thought! So, make sure you keep the litter box very clean (scoop daily).

For cats who poop just outside the box: This is often due to the box being too small for the cat so the cat stands in the box, but her bottom hangs outside while pooping. Switching to an extra large box (such as a rubbermaid underbed storage container) will solve this problem.

Also...she may be telling you that she just isn't comfortable with where you have the boxes right now. It is possible that if you put a second box in a completely different room, she may start using it instead of pooping where she is pooping. If the boxes are in a place where she feels vulnerable while she is having to sit and concentrate she won't use the box there. A quick pee in a scary spot isn't as uncomfortable as taking a poop, which takes longer and makes the cat feel more vulnerable. For some cats, they prefer their boxes to be out in the open so they can see the comings and goings of others...this way they can easily escape if they feel it is necessary. Other cats prefer hidden boxes where no one can see them while they are doing their thing. If the litter boxes are in a closet...this may be her way of telling you that at least one of them needs to be in a more open place. If this is the case, you can put it in a corner of a room and then surround the box with pretty house plants so that it isn't noticeable. Or vice versa; if the boxes are in an open spot, you might need to move one to a more hidden area.

Last but not least, try putting a box where she is defecating, and if she starts using it regularly then you can work on moving it to your desired location. Move it tiny bits at a time, like 1-2 inches per day, so she doesn't really notice that it's moving. Little by little you'll get it to the place you like.

Good luck!
post #2 of 3
if a cat is pooping on a familiar object is is probably stress related. You then have to find out where that stress is and eliminate it.

If they poop in the shower or bathtub, statistics have shown this is health related- a vet visit is warranted and quickly.

What are you feeding your cat? If it is cheap not very nutritrious the fumes could be noxic to your cat and make him go elsewhere.

Using litter box liners? Throw them out, they annoy most cats as they make noise and get caught in their claws.

Your litter pan should be in a private place, but there needs to be an easy escape route for the cat nearby or the cat may not feel safe enough to use it. In the wild, a cat is easily ambushed when it is doing its business.

The pan must be far enough away from the cat's food and water

If you have one cat, two litterboxes is best. More cats, more boxes, mulit leveled home? One box on each floor

The box may be too small

If using clumping litter, check between the pads of the feet for small balls of litter. If a cat steps in pee, then covers it, these balls sometimes accumulate causing problems for the cat.

Is you cat happy with the litter? One way to tell is watch as he digs in it, the more he digs and the more the litter flies, the happier the cat is.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
The following is from Dr Patricia Simonet:


Cats experience discomfort when they have diarrhea. Their bottoms become irritated and raw. Cats will learn to avoid discomfort. Sometimes this avoidance behavior becomes part of the cat’s repertoire of behaviors. Also, sometimes animals (including humans) develop what is called superstitious behaviors (that is a real term in animal behavior).

Superstitious behaviors appear when the animal accidentally associates a behavior with a stimulus or outcome. For example, the cat potties and it is painful. The cat happens to be in the litter box. Hmm. The cat does this again, potty and pain in the litter box. The first association develops – litter box and pain. Then on one occasion the cat potties, there is the accompanying pain but right as the cat leaps from the box (before the poop drops from his bottom) there is relief. The poop drops to the floor. The cat sniffs it. The second association is formed and the superstitious behavior develops. Poop outside the box and there is no pain. Another example of a superstitious behavior in cats is avoiding a certain yard in the neighborhood because at one time a dog, that nearly killed the cat, used to live there.

Think of all the poor black cats; I am pretty certain they do not impart bad luck onto people. So you see, their superstitions are pretty harmless compared to ours!

So knowing the cause of poor kitty’s litter box blues is little consolation to you, of this I am sure. However, cats can recover from this incorrect association very successfully. One way, which is easy on the cats but difficult for the human, is to isolate the cat into a quiet room (a spare bathroom is ideal). The bathroom should be big enough to place the food and water at least five feet away from the litter box. Keep the cat housed in this bathroom for 3 days while you retrain your cat to use the box. Each day you will enter to clean and feed. Make your visits quiet without a fuss. On the third day, invite the cat into the entire house. If kitty uses the box appropriately, then all is well. If kitty poops outside the box, place kitty back in the bathroom for one more day. The next day invite kitty back into the house.

This litter box training is most difficult for humans to endure because we want to be with our kitties. But you must be strong. Invite kitty back into the house with the rest of the family. Encourage little kitty with praise anytime he poops inside his box. When you see him smelling and sniffing before he poops (and he is not in his box) then gently pick-up your kitty and place him in the box.

One note on litter box placement:

If litter boxes are placed in high traffic areas, cats will either not use them or quickly use them and depart before completing the task. I know that you said you had multiple boxes, and that 3 are large, but consider that some cats do move around quite a bit when they are pottying. Check to see if he is a mover. If so, then give him an even larger box. My cats have a Rubbermaid container that is made for storing garments under beds. It is about 2.5 feet long and over 14 inches wide. It takes a little more litter to fill it, but it is well worth it for my kitties’ comfort.

Finally, if you say, “I cannot bear to be without kitty for three days!†One can always place newspaper around the box to catch the errant poops. Cat poop flushes nicely down the toilet.
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