Skip to content

Why does My Cat Poop Outside the Litter Box

  • 12 min read

Almost every cat owner knows the problem: your own cat doesn’t do its big business in the toilet! When a kitten pees next to the litter box or poops in a corner, you can understand that. But when an adult cat, who may have been living with you for several years, suddenly becomes unclean, that’s worrying.

The internet is full of calls for help from desperate cat owners: “My cat is unclean! What now?”, but also “Our cat poops in the bed” or “Help! Our tomcat doesn’t put urine and feces in the litter box” and so on.. Cats are given to animal shelters or even euthanized due to uncleanliness.

There is still a great need for clarification on this subject. But here you will find the 5 most common causes of uncleanliness in cats , including very simple tips on what you can do about it when your home says: My cat doesn’t do big business in the toilet. It is important that you realize that your cat does not want to annoy or provoke you. There is definitely a reason for their uncleanliness.

Physical causes of uncleanliness in cats

One of the most common causes of uncleanliness in cats is bladder infection . Such a urinary tract infection is extremely painful for the cat, which is why cats often associate the litter box with pain after a bladder infection. Some cats then try to avoid long visits to the litter box. They often no longer bury their urine or do their large and small business in the toilet. Also diseases of the kidneys , as well as gastrointestinal diseases, incontinence or dementia can be the cause of the problem “Our cat doesn’t do its big business in the toilet”. So the first thing you should definitely do is have your cat thoroughly examined by the vet. Psychological causes are at least as common.

Cat at Vet

Tips for physical causes of uncleanliness:

  • Watch your cat closely
  • Don’t scold her
  • And go to a vet as soon as possible to have your bladder, kidneys and intestines checked

Cats pooping outside: The litter box problems

It’s so simple and yet so difficult: the litter box is the most common reason for uncleanliness in cats . Because when it comes to the quiet place, cats are very meticulous. Since I have worked as a volunteer in an animal shelter for many years, I was able to determine in the cat house that it is often just small things. A cat, for example, only used the litter box if it was flushed with a certain cleaning agent every day.

There are also cats who always want the toilet to be cleaned immediately. The general rule is: 2-3 litter boxes per house cat, so that the cat never has the problem that the litter box has already been used and can always do its big business on the fresh litter box.

Many cats only like litter boxes without a lid . But sometimes it has to be very, very large tubs. And still other cats prefer litter boxes that are completely closed like a box and only have a hole at the top as an opening. Get creative and just try it out. Offer your cat a variety of litter boxes, with and without a lid,and in different shapes. So that the experiment does not become too expensive, I recommend asking at the donation shop in the animal shelter in your city. You can often buy used or new litter boxes in exchange for a small donation to the shelter. And you can return the toilets that your cat didn’t like to the animal shelter afterwards.

two kittens with one litter box

The perfect litter box – my tips:

  • Choose a larger litter box, it could be that the cat is too small in the old litter box
  • Be sure to try a litter box without a roof, because litter boxes with a lid are often unpopular
  • Try to clean the privy more thoroughly and more often, many cats are very picky
  • If necessary, try to use another cleaning agent (more neutral scent)

The litter box location makes the difference

If a cat doesn’t do its big business in the litter box and that is neither for health reasons nor because of the litter box itself, then it can also be because of the location of the litter box. Insecure cats in particular prefer hidden toilets and really quiet little places . Or they need toilets from which you can see the entire room in order to escape quickly.

In animal shelters, it often happens that there is a toilet in the middle of a cat room or even on a cupboard or a window sill. If you have a messy cat, give this a try. Often you can then gradually move the litter box in the desired direction so that the cat can slowly get used to the place.

Cat peeking out of a litter box

Tips for the position of the litter box:

  • Is the location of the litter box quiet enough? Under a staircase or in a connecting room, the cat can simply be too busy
  • Are there enough escape routes?
  • Can the cat see everything from the location?
  • Have you remodeled and possibly changed something in the room where the litter box is? This might irritate your cat…

Which cat litter helps when the cat is pooping outside?

A cat won’t do its big business in the toilet if it’s very unhappy with the litter. That was the case for us and it took us quite a while to find a litter that our cat liked. The same applies here: tastes differ. My cats really like a very fine cat litter with a spring scent. However, other cats prefer neutrally scented pallets that are very gentle on the paws and consist of plant fibers.

I’ve heard from many cat owners that their cat wets the bed or that the cat pees on the fresh laundry and even defecates there. In these cases, the cat litter is often to blame. But there are always cats that don’t like cat litter at all. Here it helps to line the empty litter box with a puppy pad. With these simple tricks, uncleanliness in cats is often solved in no time.

Cat litter tips:

  • It’s best not to just change the litter when your cat is happy with her litter
  • Try using very fine cat litter
  • Or with a very natural variant made of plant fibers
  • If nothing helps at all, simply leave the litter out completely

Through fear and stress: cats don’t use the litter box

Renovation work in the house, a move or even a baby? This puts a lot of stress on many cats and they become unclean. If there is a lot of hustle and bustle or changes in the household, try to set up quiet places for your cat to retreat to and, if necessary, use homeopathic remedies to relax it a little more. Cats are often very sensitive to change. Even a new perfume or a piece of furniture can be decisive. Even if the owner works too long or goes on vacation, the problem often arises and the cat no longer does its big business in the litter box.

Many cats react to frustration with uncleanliness. Even if a cat would much rather be outdoors, but is kept in an apartment or they suddenly don’t get as much attention due to a newborn, they can become unclean due to their frustration.

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not solitary (of course there are exceptions, especially among outdoor cats). No matter how well we humans take care of our velvet paw, we can never replace a second cat. So your kitty may also be frustrated because he lacks a cat friend. Visit the animal shelter in your city without obligation and get advice.

Especially in a multi-cat household , this cat friend can also cause stress. If two or more cats suddenly don’t get along and fights and fights ensue, this can result in anxiety and stress for the more sensitive cat. In the worst case, one of your cats will even be attacked by the other cat on the toilet. There are now professional cat psychologists that you can consult. But when two cats don’t understand each other (anymore), sometimes it’s better to hand over one of the two with a heavy heart. However, this decision should not be taken lightly and it should really only be a solution if everything else has already been tried. 

an anxious cat

Tips against anxiety and stress:

  • Provide your cats with more employment opportunities and intensive care when you are away for a longer period of time
  • Offers the cat enough retreats when things get hectic
  • Does your cat need a cat friend? Then visit your regional animal shelter and get advice 
  • Or is she stressed out by the other cats in the household?
  • Consult a cat expert
  • Give your cat space and enough opportunities to avoid

Does my cat want to annoy me with its uncleanliness?

No, your cat doesn’t do big business in the toilet to annoy you. She has a problem and is trying to tell you about it. As you have seen, there are many reasons. Annoying the owner is not one of them. Basically, the following always applies: Observe your cat closely. Sometimes it also helps simply to remove a carpet or the laundry box from the place where the business is being carried out. But never hesitate to contact a veterinarian.

Undetected urinary tract and intestinal diseases can become life-threatening. If physical causes have already been ruled out and you have already tried everything, then I recommend that you seek advice from a cat professional. Animal shelters and animal welfare associations in particular have enormous know-how due to their experience and can give you tips or at least refer you to a cat expert.

If you have any questions or even more tips against uncleanliness in cats, then write them in the comments now.

Cat pooping outside of litter box – FAQs

Q: Why does my cat poop outside the litter box?

A: There are several reasons your cat may poop outside the litter box, including dirty litter box, type of litter, or even underlying health issues. It’s important to address this behavior promptly.

Q: How can I stop my cat from pooping on the floor?

A: To stop your cat from pooping outside the litter box, ensure the litter box is clean, use unscented litter, provide multiple litter boxes if you have more than one cat, and consult a veterinarian if the behavior persists.

Q: What should I do if my cat poops outside the litter box?

A: Clean the area thoroughly to remove any odors that may attract your cat to continue pooping there, then make sure your cat has easy access to a clean litter box.

Q: How many litter boxes should I have for my cat?

A: It’s recommended to have one litter box per cat plus one extra. This means if you have one cat, you should have two litter boxes.

Q: Should I change the type of litter to prevent my cat from pooping outside the litter box?

A: Changing the type of litter can sometimes help, especially if your cat shows a preference for a certain texture or scent.

Q: Can a dirty litter box cause my cat to poop outside of the litter box?

A: Yes, a dirty litter box can cause a cat to avoid using it. It’s important to clean the litter box and scoop it daily.

Q: What medical issues could cause a cat to poop outside the litter box?

A: Medical issues such as urinary tract infections, constipation, or other gastrointestinal problems could cause your cat to avoid using the litter box.

Q: How can I get my cat to use their litter box again?

A: Ensure the litter box is clean and easily accessible, and try to identify and address any underlying reasons why your cat may be avoiding it.

Q: Will getting a new cat cause my existing cat to start pooping outside the litter box?

A: Introducing a new cat into the household can sometimes cause stress for the existing cat, which may lead to changes in litter box habits. Proper introduction and providing enough resources can help mitigate this issue. 

Q: What should I do if my old cat starts pooping outside of the litter box? 

A: If your older cat starts exhibiting this behavior, it’s crucial to rule out any medical issues first and then consider environmental or behavioral factors that may be contributing to the issue.

5 thoughts on “Why does My Cat Poop Outside the Litter Box”

  1. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to 搑eturn the favor?I am attempting to find things to improve my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.