Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box: Causes and How to Stop It

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box: Most cats learn to use the litter box very quickly, even when they are still kittens. Since cats value cleanliness in their lives, they prefer to use the litter box rather than go potty in the house. However, there are some cases where cats poop outside the litter box.

It is considered abnormal behavior if your cat poops outside the litter box, and it is important that you understand the cause of the problem before deciding what to do about it. Read the following article to learn more about it.

6 possible reasons why your cat is pooping outside the litter box

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box

Below are some possible reasons why your cat is pooping outside the litter box:

Diarrhea or constipation

If your cat has diarrhea that she can’t control, she may poop outside the litter box because she can’t control herself. On the other hand, if she is constipated, she might associate the litter box with pain and try to poop elsewhere.

Other health problems

Some health problems can cause your cat to not know where to poop or to get to the litter box on time. Your veterinarian can give you more information about this possibility for your cat.

Dirty litter box

Another possible cause of cats pooping outside the litter box is a dirty litter box. A dirty litter box can be more than enough to deter your cat from using it. Have you ever entered a public restroom, then turned around and left because it was dirty? Cats sometimes feel the same way!

Stress factors in the household

Changes in the household can stress your cat and cause him to poop from the litter box. These include new pets, new children, a move to a new apartment, children going to college, or changes in family members’ daily routines.

Too Many Cats Using One Litter Box

If too many cats use the same litter box, it is likely that they will no longer want to use the toilet. This can also contribute to litter box contamination and odor.

Dislike the location of the litter box

Sometimes your cat just doesn’t like the location of his small litter box, and this can lead to him pooping outside of the litter box. Maybe it’s too far away from the rest of the family and she feels trapped trying to use it.

On the other hand, perhaps he is in the middle of the action and she feels like she will be interrupted or disturbed if she tries to use him.

Read also: Why Do Cats Sleep By Your Feet? (2023) 8 Reasons I Discerning Cat

Treatment and Management for Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box

Treatment and Management for Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box

If you notice that your cat keeps pooping outside the litter box, there are things you can do to control or treat this behavior:

Work with your veterinarian

If your cat has a health condition that is causing litter box problems, you will need to work with your veterinarian to resolve the problem. If your cat suffers from frequent diarrhea or constipation, it is important that you speak to your veterinarian about these issues as well.

Clean the box frequently

If you only have one cat, you should clean the litter box daily and replace it once a week. If you have more than one cat, you should do these two steps more often to ensure the litter box is clean enough for your cat’s needs. This is even better for you and your family!

Change the type of litter box

Sometimes cats just don’t like the type or smell of the litter you use. Maybe your cat doesn’t like the consistency of the litter, or you use a scented litter box that bothers him when he poops. Try using a different type of litter box to see if it changes your cat’s habits.

Help your cat feel more comfortable

If your cat is stressed by the changes in your home, you may need to give him more time with attention and love to help him feel less stressed. Very anxious or stressed cats may need to be given anti-anxiety medication by your veterinarian.

Change the position of the litter box

Your cat may be uncomfortable with the position of the litter box, which could be one of the reasons why he keeps pooping outside the litter box. If this is the case, you can try moving the litter box to a different location in the house. Just make sure your cat knows where the litter box is and that she can always reach it.

Adding more litter boxes

If you have multiple cats in your household, it is important that you have enough litter boxes to accommodate them all. It’s best to have one litter box per cat and another for additional needs. You should distribute litter boxes throughout the house so that your cats can reach them when needed.

Read also: Why Do Cats Twitch in Their Sleep? (2023)

Call a veterinarian if your cat poops outside the litter box

Call a veterinarian if your cat poops outside the litter box

If you can’t figure out the cause of your cat’s litter box problems, or if you think it’s a health issue that’s causing your cat to poop outside the litter box, it’s time to see your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can work with you to resolve your cat’s problems and will also provide personalized advice and information for your pet.

With the help of your veterinarian, you can get your cat back into healthy shape. If necessary, you can also solve other litter box problems.

Monitoring and Patience

Keeping a Watchful Eye on Changes

Consistently monitor your cat’s behavior and litter box habits. If there are any changes, address them promptly. Early intervention is key to preventing persistent problems.

The Importance of Patience in Resolving the Issue

Resolving litter box issues takes time and patience. Understand that changes in behavior, whether due to health or environmental factors, require a gradual adjustment period.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Neglecting Changes in Behavior

Ignoring changes in your cat’s behavior can lead to prolonged issues. Stay attentive to their actions and address any deviations from their usual habits promptly.

Overlooking the Significance of a Vet Visit

A vet visit is crucial if your cat is pooping outside the litter box. Medical issues can be serious, and early detection is key to effective treatment.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The Importance of a Clean Litter Box

Cats are more likely to avoid a dirty litter box. Scoop the litter daily and change it regularly to provide a clean environment. Cats appreciate a fresh and inviting space for their bathroom needs.

Establishing a Regular Cleaning Routine

Set a cleaning routine to ensure the litter box is consistently maintained. This not only prevents accidents but also fosters a positive association with the litter box.


In conclusion, addressing the issue of a cat pooping outside the litter box requires a comprehensive approach. By understanding the reasons behind this behavior and implementing practical solutions, you can create an environment that promotes proper litter box use and ensures the well-being of your feline companion.

FAQs: Clearing Up Your Concerns about Cat Pooping Outside the Litter Box

Let’s address some common questions and concerns individuals may have about their cat’s behavior.

1. Why is my cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box?

Sudden changes in litter box behavior can be attributed to various factors, including health issues, stress, or changes in the environment. It’s essential to investigate and address the underlying cause promptly.

2. How do I choose the right litter box for my cat?

Choosing the right litter box involves considering your cat’s preferences. Experiment with different types, such as covered or open boxes, and find the one that your cat finds comfortable and accessible.

3. Is it normal for a cat to be picky about litter?

Yes, it’s normal for cats to be picky about the type and texture of litter. Cats may have preferences for clumping vs. non-clumping litter or a specific texture.

4. Can stress cause a cat to poop outside the litter box?

Yes, stress is a common cause of inappropriate elimination. Changes in the household, the introduction of new pets, or alterations in the cat’s routine can lead to heightened stress levels, prompting the behavior.

5. When should I consult a veterinarian about my cat’s litter box issues?

Consult a vet if your cat consistently poops outside the litter box or if there are sudden changes in behavior. A vet can rule out medical issues and provide guidance on addressing behavioral concerns.