Why Is My Cat Pooping Outside The Litter Box? 7 Reasons Why And How to Solve This

Is your cat suddenly pooping on the floor? Some cat owners might even find poop on their bed or couch? This is a frustrating problem and is unhygienic, so it's important to figure out why your cat is doing this and correct their behavior. 

We shouldn't confuse popping as the peeing, in which the cat uses this method to mark its territory. Your cat may leave invisible urine marking but it’ll never use something as poop. In fact, cats often hide their poops very secretly.

So if your cat suddenly poops outside of its box, we've outlined 7 reasons why this is happening. Read below and see if you can figure out the reason. 

why is my cat pooping on the floor

Why Is My Cat Pooping Outside The Litter Box?

Here are 7 reasons why this is happening and what you can do about it. 

1. Rule Out Medical Conditions

If your see that your cat is experiences pain or discomfort when trying to go to the bathroom, there might be a medical reason behind it. Consider taking your cat to the vet for a full check. 

If your feline has an undiagnosed medical condition, your vet will diagnose it and will prescribe you the right medicine. Once you've treated it with prescription drugs, everything should be back to normal soon.

2. Smelly or Dirty Litter Box

Cats are clean animals and want to use a clean litter box. Make sure you have scooped the box at least twice a day or more.

If you have more than one cat at home or if you're away from home often and are not able to scoop regularly, a good solution is getting a self cleaning litter box. It has an automatic rake and sensor which scoops the dirty clumps every time your cat uses the box.

With some automatic litter boxes, you won't have to touch or clean the litter box for 1-4 weeks. Read our article on the best automatic litter boxes, so you learn more and see a list of some the best models on the market right now. 

cat pooping outside litter box

3. Wrong Type of Litter

If you have recently switched to a new litter type or brand, and you've noticed that your cat suddenly starts pooping outside the litter box, it's a good idea to switch back. 

Below are 3 other tips you should consider, that can be causing the problem. If you are still contemplating what is the right litter for your cat, make sure you read our article on the best cat litters.

  • Are you using scented litter? If so, your feline might be sensitive to the perfume and scent and will avoid using it. In this case, just switch to an unscented one.
  • Size and texture of granules: Cats have the instinctive habit of covering their feces in sand or dirt. And spend a several minutes pawing in the litter. Consider switching to a lighter more sand like litter texture. 
  • Not enough litter in the box? Don't forget that as you're scooping away dirty litter you should also be periodically filling in clean one. As a general rule of thumb, you should have at least 3 inches or more. 

4. Location of Litter Box

Cats want to feel safe and undisturbed when doing their business, so make sure the litter box is in a place that doesn't get a lot of traffic in the house. There shouldn't be any loud noises that will scare them.

If you have multiple cats at home, one might feel intimidated by the others or might be scared to cross their territory. You can place several litter boxes throughout your home, so there are more options. 

5. The Box is Too Small

Not a lot of people think about this, but the size of the box does matter to your cat. For example, if you've had a kitten and it has used one box since the beginning, after some time it will outgrow it. 

Even if you have an adult cat, it could also feel confined and might not find it roomy enough. Make a not on the litter area inside and consider getting a bigger one. 

6. Add Another Litter Box

Some cats may like to urinate in one box and poop in another one. This is an idea worth exploring. You can get a second litter box and place it close by, or in a completely different location. 

Elderly Cat Pooping On Floor

If you have an adult cat, and you've noticed that it has suddenly started pooping on the floor there could be a simple explanation for this. Check how high are the walls of the litter box. 

As your cat gets older, it might have a hard time accessing a box that's high up. Consider getting one that has lower walls or a ramp, so it can easily get inside and out. 

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box: On Floor, Carpet, Bed, etc. - Stress As An Issue

We shouldn't forget that cats are also animals, that have their own emotional states and needs. If there have been any sudden changes in your home, such as: a renovation, a move, new baby, new pet, etc. this can cause stress to your feline.

Make sure you're still spending quality time with your cat. Getting a cat tree or another toy is also a good idea, because it will improve their physical health and will give them an opportunity to exercise. 

Some cat trees have pretty cool hammocks, perches and condos, giving them a place to relax and take a break. 

Clean Up Any Poop and Urine Stains From Floor and Carpet

If your catch your cat from defecating on the floor, make sure you quickly clean the stain with an effective enzyme cleaner. If there is urine as well, make you can check the best cat urine removers for the job.

It's important to quickly and effectively clean up any poop from the floor or carpet, so your cat doesn't think it's OK to do it again in the future. 

Conclusion: Why Is My Cat Suddenly Pooping Outside Litter Box?

Cats have a habit of hiding their poops, their nature is to cover or bury them in sand. So in theory they should love to lay their wastes inside their litter box, not outside. But if this happens, we've outlined 6 reasons above that could be causing this problem. Make sure you rule out any medical conditions first, by taking them to the vet. 


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