As a cat-owner, it’s only a matter of time before you discover that your precious pet has left you an unpleasant
surprise somewhere on the floor, usually not too far from his litter box. By surprise, I mean a piece of poop. I
asked several cat owners and all have had this happen at one time or another.
The first time I encountered this situation, I wondered if my cat had done it on purpose. But I quickly concluded
that it wasn’t a malicious act, but rather just an accident. I thought this because it was just a little bit. It wasn’t
as if the cat squatted and left a big pile for me to find.
Plus, my cat has long fur, so I thought maybe it just got stuck on the fur on her rear end and it just fell off outside the box.
To avoid this once-in-a-while event, you can always trim the fur around your cat’s rear end. This is what I have to do regularly. Be careful and use clippers that are meant to trim animal fur. If you’re not sure if you can do this yourself, take your cat to a groomer for a trim.
If your cat is leaving you surprises that don’t seem like accidents, you should have the cat checked by your vet to eliminate the possibility of a medical condition. Sometimes an illness will cause a cat to urinate or defecate outside his litter box.
And if you have an un-neutered male cat, he might spray urine to mark his territory. For most cats, having them neutered will halt the problem.
If nothing is wrong medically, think about what the cat might be unhappy about. One cat owner I know changed the litter she used for her cat, which the cat hated. She tried meowing about her displeasure for about half a day and when that got no response, she pooped on the lady’s comforter.
At first the owner was angry and disgusted. But after thinking about it, realized it was her fault. She changed the litter back to the old stuff and the cat went back to using the litter box with no problem.
If you haven’t switched kitty litter brands, check to make sure the litter is cleaned often enough. Sometimes
cats will balk at using a litter box that is too dirty. And every cat is different. Some cats will use the box even if it’s slightly dirty and others will turn away unless it’s cleaned daily.
Also be careful of strong scents. If you use a litter that has too much perfume or use a strong-smelling cleaner to clean out the box, that might turn your cat off and away.
If your box has a cover, try taking it off. Some cats don’t like to feel too enclosed when going to the bathroom. Other cats like the privacy of a cover. Or maybe the box is too small in the first place. Replace it with a bigger box and see if it makes a difference.
Some cats will avoid using the litter box if it’s not in a good location. If there is too much foot traffic around
the box, the cat might not feel comfortable enough to use it. Just like us, cats like a little privacy. And if you have two or more cats, you might want to consider getting several boxes and putting them in different areas of the house.
Sometimes emotional stress can cause a cat to stop using the litter box. Try to pinpoint what might be stressing your cat and eliminate the cause if you can. Cats like routine. They can get stressed if you just move their litter box, so you can imagine that they might get pretty upset if you move to another house, add a new pet or person to the household, or even if you’re under some stress yourself.
Another cat owner I know was worried when she introduced a new cat into the household. She thought her first cat would get angry/stressed and stop using the litter. So to make the transition easier, she made sure to reassure her first cat constantly, playing with him, giving him extra affection and attention, being more liberal with the treats, and it seemed to work.
The cat was annoyed as soon as he saw the new cat, but then adjusted to the situation fairly quickly because
he loved the positive attention he was getting while the new cat was in the house.
If your cat is using other parts of your home as a toilet, he will most likely re-use spots. You can help stop that cycle by making the cat’s favorite spots undesirable. The scent left by the cat will draw it back to the same place over and over, so make sure to clean the area thoroughly and use a good enzymatic cleanser made to eliminate pet odors.
Don’t use ammonia-based cleaners because ammonia smells like cat urine, and will draw your cat back to the spot.
You can try different deterrents like placing aluminum foil or wax paper where the cat went (they don’t like the feel of it under their paws). Cats don’t like the smell of citrus, so you might want to place citrus-scented items
in the area. You may try double-sided tape, and there are several alarm deterrents, citronella deterrents, and other products that you can try.
As unpleasant as it may be to have our cats eliminate outside of the litter box, remember that punishing your cat by yelling, hitting, making loud noises, or squirting him with water won’t solve the bad bathroom habits. There is sure to be a reason behind your cat’s behavior and it’s up to you to figure out what is wrong and fix the problem.