Cat pooping randomly but not in the litter box

Cat Pooping On Floor Randomly? How To Solve This Quickly

Updated


​Why is the cat pooping on the floor randomly when this has not previously been a problem. Some kitty sleuth work may be required.​ ​

You might think this is just​ the behavior of older cats but no this​ behavior can also develop in young cats and male or female. ​The reasons for pooping randomly may be a different issue ​​in senior cats relating to medical issues associated with older age or dementia.

The first and most obvious thing to do is visit the vet to see if there is a medical problem.

This may seem unnecessary​, however it ​may rule out or identify medical issues​.  Otherwise you are operating on guesswork or advice from other cat owners.  Better to get the expert opinion pertaining to your cat, no one else's cat. ​Medical issues may include a urinary tract infection, bladder inflammation, urinary stones and more. ​

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​If the ​problem is not medical then what is the cause? ​

Cat pooping outside the litter box

​​Five Most Common Causes Of Litter Box Rejection ​Resulting In Random Pooping

1.

The Litter Box, The Litter Or The Location Of The Litter Box 

​a) The Litter Box

It can be the actual litter box itself which is causing the problems.  Is the box big enough for the cat? Cats prefer larger litter boxes


Do you have an uncovered or covered box? There's more information here. Although covered litter boxes can be practical for humans, cats don't always like them. ​They can trap odors inside unless they are diligently cleaned.  
Plus the cat cannot see what is happening outside the box when he is inside a covered box. ​ He cannot be eyeing an escape route should one be needed.

And while we may think the cat doesn't need to plan an escape route, this is something that is programmed into him from ancestral times and living in the wild.

b) The Litter

It may be the type of litter that is being used.  

Consider having a couple of litter boxes with different types of litter to see if there is one that is definitely a preference. Most cats like an unscented clumping litter.

Have you recently changed to a perfumed litter? This could be problematic for the cat.

If you ​are going to change the type of litter the cat is using this is the best way to do it. ​Add​ a little at a time over the top of their usual litter and then gradually replace the litter as the cat becomes accustomed to the new litter.

c) Location Of The Litter Box

What about the location of the litter box?  Has it became a scary place for the cat to visit? Does the cat have to pass a dog’s bed to get to the litter box or is it in a noisy thoroughfare?


Cats do like quiet places to pee and poop so it may possible that the litter box is in a less than desirable location.

litter box location problems

​I feel a bit exposed here!

2.

How Clean Is The Litter Box Really?


The litter box may not be clean enough for the cat. Quite often this is the solution and it can be be as simple as ramping up the cat litter cleaning duties.


Kitty is saying not to take offense here, it is just the way it is.  It is important to scoop the litter box daily, regularly change or top up the litter and wash the litter box. There is detailed information here about how to look after a litter box.

Cat pooping

Cats have a very strong sense of smell.  

If they have urinated elsewhere it is really important to totally get rid of that smell otherwise the cat will be drawn back to pee at the same spot.

Hard surfaces such as a tiled or hardwood floor can be cleaned thoroughly with your normal household cleaner. ​


Fabric and carpet ​must be cleaned with a proven bio enzymatic cleaner for pet urine to really do a good job.

​3.

Senior Cats and Agility Problems


If your cat is senior and has arthritis or stiff joints, it may be painful for him when entering and exiting the box.


A box that has a low entry point is essential.  There are various litter boxes that suit senior cats or cats with compromised joint mobility.  Read more to find out about the features to consider in a litter box for a cat with agility problems.

​4.

Stress and Anxiety


Stress and anxiety in the cat can sometimes be a cause of litter box avoidance. Cats are very attune to different types of stress in the household.

Things ​such as, other animals coming into the house, new people in the house, conflict with neighboring cats (if your cat is an outside cat) and even moving furniture can all contribute to stress for the cat and cause litter box problems. Declawing can also be a major cause of pooping randomly and actively avoiding the litter box.  Read more about that here.
 

cat not using litter box because scared

Quite a few different things can scare me you know!

Even when some of these stressors are removed, the cat may still continue to urinate and poop outside the litter box thus compounding the problem.

It can become a habit. Humans are the same, we form bad habits that make no sense but we still have them. This makes it another good reason to try and find a solution to the problem as soon as we are aware that there is a problem.


If your household has multiple cats there is usually one that is dominant and this can cause stress for a more timid cat.  

​If you don’t already, make sure that you have multiple litter boxes so that the cat doesn’t have to fear meeting up with his arch enemy on the way to the litter box.

Whos's the boss?

Who is the boss?


​5.

Behavioral Issues 


Another potentially and more difficult issue to solve is that cats can develop a surface preference and they choose places to urinate or deposit stools based on how the surface feels to them.

Sometimes you will read this referred to as the cat developing a substrate preference. This can be carpet or fabric or it may be a hard surface such as a tiled floor or a soft surface such as bedding.

 

Quite often the cat will have a preference for one or the other so will always choose a soft surface or always choose a harder surface. One solution is to change the litter based on the cats behavior so choose a softer litter if the cat is urinating on fabric or soft surfaces.


If the cat is choosing to do his business on a carpeted area, consider putting some carpet in the bottom of the litter box (which can be disposed of or cleaned a necessary) covered with a small amount of litter.


If you can locate some old carpet squares that would be a relatively easy solution or alternatively if the cat is choosing a hard tiled surface try putting some tiles in the bottom of the box, covered with a small amount of litter.

 

Gradually add more litter and then remove the carpet or tiles.

 a contented cat

I'm a happy chappy now! I love my litter box!


Consider using a cat litter attractant to lure kitty back to the box.
This may be enough to break the habit. It is often an easy and inexpensive solution. Definitely worth a try!

​The problem can be basic cleanliness in the litter box and if you put extra effort into ensuring that the litter box is in top notch shape you may save a lot of time and frustration. There is detailed information here about keeping litter box clean.

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One thing is clear your cat is not doing this on purpose to annoy you. ​

Even if you catch the cat in the act he is not going to connect your “crossness” with what he is doing. Cats do not see their urine and faeces as dirty or disgusting.

Treating the problem as soon as it is observed is the best way to solve the problem.  First of all take the cat to the vet for a check up and if no medical problems are evident the next thing to do is address any litter box problems and this make take some investigating on your behalf.

Have you got this problem?  What have you tried to solve this problem?

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cat pooping and peeing on floor

About the Author Rebecca Parker

Hello! I am Rebecca Parker, the content editor of this site. This is my kitty cat in his heyday. He now has diabetes which means twice daily injections and much to his dismay, no more snacking in between meals. This gorgeous and very loved kitty is sadly now deceased, old age caught up with him.

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