Why is My Cat Pooping Outside the Litter Box?

When cats poop outside the litter box, it can be a sign that something is wrong with them. It could be because they are experiencing stress or anxiety, which can cause them to not feel comfortable using the box.

It might also mean that their litter box isn’t clean enough for their liking or that it’s too small for them to comfortably use.

Cat Poops Outsdie Litter Box
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It can be a stressful situation when your cat is pooping outside the litter box. Not only is it unpleasant to clean up, but it can also be a sign that something is wrong.

Before you panic, it’s important to understand why your cat is pooping outside the litter box and what you can do about it.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Using the Litter Box

There are several possible reasons why your cat may be pooping outside the litter box. It could be due to a medical condition, such as a bladder infection or diabetes.

Stress can also be a factor, such as if there is a new pet or baby in the home, or if the litter box is dirty or in an inaccessible location.

Let’s dig in more and get interesting facts about your cat’s strange behavior.

Medical Conditions:

If your cat is not using the litter box, a medical condition could be to blame. Common medical conditions that can cause cats to eliminate outside the litter box are bladder infections, diabetes and constipation.

If you think your cat may have one of these conditions, take them to the vet for an examination and proper diagnosis.


Stressful situations like moving house or getting a new pet can lead some cats to start pooping outside their litter boxes as a coping mechanism.

Cats stressed out
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Other stressors include changes in routine, such as having visitors stay over or leaving them alone for extended periods of time while away on holiday.

Litter Box Issues:

Cats also need an accessible and clean environment in order to use their litter boxes properly. The type of litter you use should suit your cat’s preferences – if it doesn’t then they won’t want to go there at all!

Litter box issue for cats
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Additionally, make sure that the size of the litter box is appropriate for your feline friend – too small means they might feel cramped up and not want to go there; too big means they may feel overwhelmed by its size and will avoid it altogether!

Finally, ensure that the location isn’t noisy – try moving it somewhere more secluded so that cats don’t get deterred from using it due to its proximity from loud noises (such as TVs).

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Behavioral Problems:

In some cases, behavioral issues could be causing problems with how frequently (or infrequently) kitty uses their loo-away-from-home spot!

For example, if multiple pets are present in one home, then territorial issues might arise which prevent certain animals from accessing specific areas – including toilets!

In multi-pet households, other behaviors such as spraying urine around furniture pieces may indicate dominance or hierarchy issues.

Therefore, seeking professional help promptly to address any potential behavior problems can be helpful in reducing inappropriate toileting practices.

How to Stop Your Cat From Pooping Outside Litter Box?

If you have a feline friend who has been pooing outside the litter box, you are probably feeling frustrated and unsure of what to do. As per NCBICats soil outside of the litter box for different reasons, but stress caused by conflict with other cats in the home or sudden environmental.

See also  How to Retrain a Cat to Use the Litter Box After UTI?

It’s important to understand that there are often underlying reasons(which we have mentioned above) for cats to stop using their litter boxes.

Now let’s get started on finding a solution to this problem and getting your cat back to using the litter box as intended.

Address Medical Conditions First:

Before attempting to resolve the issue of your cat pooping outside the litter box, it is important to rule out any medical conditions that might be causing or contributing to this behavior.

Consult medical condition of cat
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If you suspect your cat may have a medical condition, take them for an examination with their veterinarian right away.

Identify Possible Environmental Causes:

After ruling out any possible medical causes, take some time to investigate potential environmental reasons why your cat is pooping outside the litter box.

environmental issue make cats poop outside litter box
Duet PandG – Shutterstock

Is there too much clutter in the area where they are eliminating? Are there other cats encroaching on their territory and making them feel uncomfortable?

Making sure that all areas of elimination are clean and free from distractions can help reduce undesirable eliminations in these areas as well as encourage proper use of their designated bathroom spot (i.e., litter box).

Make Necessary Adjustments:

If necessary adjustments need to be made due to environmental factors such as clutter or intruding animals, make those changes immediately.

Even if it means temporarily relocating items or closing off certain rooms until further notice while you work on resolving this situation with your pet’s cooperation and understanding!

Also consider increasing access points by adding more accessible/visible litter boxes throughout different parts of the house so that kitty always has easy access when nature calls because after all, nobody wants accidents!

Investigate Potential Behavioral Reasons

Sometimes cats will eliminate outside their designated area not just because something external changed, but also due to internal issues like stress-related anxiety caused by lifestyle changes (new pets/people).

These internal issues can also be caused by boredom from lack of stimulation opportunities around the home environment.

Anything else causing kitty distress can manifest itself through inappropriate behavior like peeing & pooping elsewhere than intended places, such as inside a closet corner instead of in its own separate, roomy space provided for potty purposes only.

So try addressing underlying behavioral triggers accordingly whenever possible, since every pet’s needs vary depending upon individual preference levels and personality types!

Change Diet If Necessary :

In addition, if diet seems responsible, then switch up food formula accordingly.

Changing cat diet
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For instance, transitioning from a dry-type meal plan to a wet one could potentially solve digestion-related problems, leading towards normalizing elimination patterns within reason if needed.

Never ever give human-grade table scraps since these contain unhealthy amounts of additives or preservatives which may prove toxic over long-term use, thereby aggravating existing GI tract irritation symptoms even worse without warning signs visible at first glance!

Create Positive Potty Experiences :

Lastly create positive potty experiences using a rewards system for example, when a successful attempt occurs reward the pup immediately afterward using treats and praise thus reinforcing good habits associated with proper toileting practices each time he completes the task correctly.

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Eventually, the goal should become second nature once enough repetition happens during the training period. It’s worth noting though patience plays a huge role here, so don’t give up easily no matter what obstacles arise along the way.

How to Prevent Your Cat from Pooping Outside the Litter Box

Once you have identified the cause of your cat’s behavior and taken steps to address it, you can start to work on preventing the behavior from happening in the future.

Make sure you are scooping the litter box at least once a day and cleaning it thoroughly at least once a week. Provide your cat with plenty of mental and physical stimulation, such as toys and scratching posts.

If your cat has been pooping outside the litter box due to stress, you should consider providing them with some form of environmental enrichment.

Making cat poop in litter box
Adene Sanchez – iStock

This could include adding hiding spots around the house for them to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed, or setting up an outdoor enclosure, so they can explore and get fresh air.

You should also make sure there are no potential sources of conflict in your home, such as another pet or a noisy neighbor, that may be triggering their stress levels.

Finally, if none of these methods seems effective, then talk with your veterinarian about medications that could reduce anxiety levels and hopefully stop inappropriate elimination behavior associated with feline stressors like changes in routine/environmental triggers, etc.

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What should I do if my cat is pooping outside the litter box?

If your cat is pooping outside the litter box, there are a few things you can do to help address this issue. First, make sure your litter box is in an area that’s easily accessible and private for the cat. Consider adding another litter box if possible as well.

Next, check to see if there’s anything about the current setup that may be causing discomfort or anxiety for your pet (for example: noise level or other animals in nearby areas).

Finally, clean up messes with an enzymatic cleaner specifically made for cats so they won’t be attracted back to those places again by their scent. With these steps and some patience, you should be able to get them back on track!

What can I do to prevent my cat from pooping outside the litter box?

There are several things you can do to help prevent your cat from pooping outside the litter box:

  1. Make sure the litter box is kept clean. Scoop the box at least twice a day and completely change the litter once a week.
  2. Place the litter box in a quiet location that is away from your cat’s food and water.
  3. Give your cat plenty of attention and playtime to help reduce stress.
  4. Make sure the litter box is large enough for your cat to comfortably use.
  5. If your cat is pooping outside the box due to medical issues, consult your vet for advice and treatment.

What should I do if my cat poops outside the litter box in the same location?

If your cat is pooping outside the litter box in the same location, it could be a sign of an underlying medical issue or stress. It’s best to take your cat to the vet for a check-up and rule out any medical issues first.

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If there are no health concerns, then you should try changing up their environment by moving their litter box to another area of your home or providing them with more stimulation and playtime activities.

You may also want to consider using different types of litter as cats can have preferences when it comes to texture and scent. Finally, make sure that you’re cleaning out the soiled areas regularly so that they don’t associate those spots with going potty again in future!

How can I effectively clean up my cat’s mess outside the litter box?

The best way to effectively clean up your cat’s mess outside the litter box is to use a pet-safe cleaner and paper towels. “The tools you use to clean kitty’s mess outside the box will depend on the condition of her poop,” says Pam Johnson-Bennett from PetMd.

Start by removing any solid waste that is present. Then, spray the area with a pet-safe cleaning solution and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping it up with paper towels or an old rag.

After you have cleaned all the visible mess, be sure to use an enzymatic cleaner designed specifically for eliminating odors caused by animal urine or feces in order to completely remove any lingering residue from your cat’s previous visit outside their litter box.

Is there anything else I should consider when dealing with my cat’s inappropriate elimination behavior?

Yes, there are many things to consider when dealing with your cat’s inappropriate elimination behavior. Some of these include:

  • Making sure your cat has access to a clean litter box at all times
  • Providing regular veterinary check-ups to rule out any medical issues
  • Providing adequate environmental enrichment and playtime for your cat
  • Utilizing positive reinforcement techniques when your cat uses the litter box correctly.

Additionally, you may want to consider consulting a veterinary behaviorist to further evaluate the underlying cause of the behavior.


No one likes to deal with the stress and mess of a cat pooping outside the litter box. But with a bit of detective work and some environmental and behavior changes, you can help prevent this unpleasant behavior from occurring.

Take your cat to the vet to rule out any medical conditions and then make sure the litter box is accessible and that you are cleaning it regularly. Provide your cat with plenty of stimulation and their own space to retreat to when they are feeling overwhelmed.

With these steps, you can help ensure that your cat is happy and healthy and using the litter box like they should.


  1. Does previous use affect litter box appeal in multi-cat households? (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2017.02.008
  2. McGowan. (n.d.). The ins and outs of the litter box: A detailed ethogram of cat elimination behavior in two contrasting environments. Retrieved December 14, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2017.05.009
  3. tamuvetmed. “Feline Inappropriate Elimination–thinking Outside the Litter Box.” VMBS News, 4 Oct. 2018, vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/feline-inappropriate-elimination-thinking-outside-the-litter-box.

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