Having a cat that is frequently having accidents outside of their litterbox can be pretty frustrating. After all, cleaning up cat poop off the floor is never fun. Luckily, fixing this problem is usually easy once you have properly identified its cause.
There are many different potential reasons why cats poop outside of the litterbox. Most of the time cats do this because they are stressed, don’t like something about their litterbox, or because their litterbox is dirty. However, sometimes cats will also do this because they have a medical problem.
In this article, we will be explaining everything that cat owners need to know about their cat pooping outside of the litterbox. This will include explaining all the common causes for this behavior in cats and how you can stop it. Let’s get right into it.
There are six main causes for cats having accidents outside of their litterbox. Most cats will poop outside of their litterbox because it is dirty or unusual to the cat in some way. However, stress and sudden changes can also cause cats to have accidents outside of the litterbox, and medical issues can sometimes be behind this unusual behavior as well. Here are the six main reasons why cats have accidents outside of their litterbox.
1. A Dirty Litter Box
Most cats will not use a dirty litterbox. This is because cats like to have a clean place to do their business. If your cat’s litterbox is dirty or if it has been a few days since you cleaned it, then this is the most likely cause of your cat pooping outside of their litterbox.
2. There’s Something About the Litterbox Your Cat Doesn’t Like
Some cats can be very particular about what styles of litterboxes and why types of litter they will use. This means that some cats will not use a litterbox with certain features such as a hood or a self-cleaning feature. Additionally, cats will sometimes do this when their owner is using a type of litter that they don’t like.
3. Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are other common causes of cats having accidents outside of their litterbox. This is because the stress may cause cats to use their urine and feces to mark their territory. Cats can sometimes have accidents outside of their litterbox due to extreme fear as well.
A variety of things can cause a cat stress or anxiety. Medical problems and getting older are sometimes the cause. It is also very common for cats to get anxious during big life changes such as moving homes, losing a loved one, and bringing in a new pet or family member.
4. You Changed Where You Put the Litter Box
Cats will often become confused when you move their litterbox around. This can sometimes cause cats to have an accident in the space where the litterbox used to be instead of using the litterbox in the new location. If you need to move their litter box, try moving it just a few feet or so over a number of days, to help the cat not be confused as to where it went.
5. Medical Issues
A variety of medical issues can cause cats to poop outside of their litterbox. Mainly, medical conditions and illnesses causing GI tract issues like diarrhea will cause cats to poop outside of their litterbox.
6. Your Cat is Confused
Cats with cognitive issues will commonly have accidents outside of the litterbox due to their confusion. Most of the time this occurs in elderly cats, but even young cats could have a cognitive issue. Contact your vet if you believe your cat is acting confused or out of character in addition to pooping outside of their litter box.
How to Stop Your Cat from Having Accidents Outside the Litter Box
Once you have discovered what is causing your cat to have accidents outside of the litterbox, you can go about fixing the behavior. Here are some different ways that you can stop your cat from pooping outside of the litterbox depending on what is causing it.
A great place to start when your cat is having accidents is cleaning your cat’s litter box regularly. This is because a dirty litter box is an extremely common cause of cats having accidents, and cleaning their litter box is a pretty easy solution that every cat owner can try first.
Another possible solution to this problem is getting more litterboxes. This is mainly a good solution for cat owners with multiple cats in the home, as they may feel stressed around the litterbox when other cats are using it. This can cause cats to stop using the litterbox altogether and start using the bathroom in other areas. Many veterinarians recommend having 2 litter boxes to start, plus one for every additional cat. This is especially recommended if your cat is having accidents frequently.
As we have mentioned previously, some cats are very particular about their cat litter and litterboxes. As a result, changing up your cat’s litter and litterbox can help stop cats from having accidents, especially if you have recently changed it.
Move the Litter Box Back to Where it was Before.
Sometimes all you need to do is simply move your litterbox. This is especially helpful if you have recently moved your cat’s litterbox from its usual location.
Stress and anxiety are a somewhat common cause of cats pooping outside of their litterbox. As a result, working on reducing your cat’s stress or anxiety will usually solve their litterbox problem. Speaking with an animal behaviorist or cat trainer can help you with reducing your cat’s stress or anxiety if you feel like you need some extra help.
Additionally, it may be a good idea to take your cat to the vet if they are experiencing chronic stress or anxiety. This is because a vet will be able to provide medical advice on this issue and prescribe your cat anti-anxiety medication if necessary.
If you believe that your cat is pooping outside of the litterbox because they have a medical condition or illness, then the only way to stop this behavior is to have them treated by a vet. A vet will be able to officially diagnose your pet and give them the best treatment possible.
If your cat is pooping outside of their litter box near Montgomery, AL, Montgomery Veterinary Associates is here for you. We can look into the potential causes of this behavior and figure out the best solution for you and your cat. Book an appointment with us online today!