Much as we love our cats, it can be quite unsettling to turn a corner in our home and be stopped in our tracks by a feline dropping. When it comes to their litter box, cats can be understandably particular. If you can identify the source of the problem, you can get your cat to deposit her waste in the box again. There are several main reasons why your cat may suddenly change her behavior, including issues with the litter box, stress, or medical problems. Let’s take a look.
If your cat suddenly begins to poop outside of its litter box, it is strongly recommended that he or she be taken to your vet immediately. Your cat may be suffering from diabetes mellitus, kidney or liver disease, feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), vision loss, and a number of other diseases may also cause your cat to stop using the litter box and increase the number of times your cat feels the urge to go. Visiting the vet and getting any medical conditions treated can resolve the unwanted litter box behavior and get your cat back to being her healthy, happy self.
Problems with the Litter Box
If your cat used to go in the litter box, but suddenly stops and decides to go elsewhere, the problem may be the litter box itself. Your cat may dislike the litter due to its texture, and many perfumed litters may actually discourage your cat from the using the box. The location of the box can also be a factor. Cats simply don’t like pooping near their food, and many cats are often shy and like to evacuate in private.
Poor sanitary conditions of a litter box may also be the cause of a cat going outside of the litter box (would YOU like it your toilet was only flushed once a week?). You should scoop your box at least once a day and preferably 2-3 times a day. Cats will not use their box if it is not cleaned regularly, and may decide to go in the laundry basket or closet corner if they find it dirty. If there is more than one cat in a household, this may be an issue of sharing litter boxes, as some cats just don’t like to use the same litter box as others. There are even cats who refuse to urinate and poop in the same box.
Cats often start to have problems making it to their litter box as they grow older. Adding litter boxes so that your cat is never far when the urge hits may help stop your cat from pooping on the floor. If they can make it to their box, but can’t easily get in or out, they simply may choose to stay out. Introducing a box that has lower sides may be an easy fix.
If the problem is litter box related, there are a number of tips and tricks that may stop your cat from pooping on the floor. Drs. Foster and Smith from PetEducation.com state that if it’s an aversion to the litter, switching brands, trying litter that has a different texture or smell, or changing to a clumping litter may help. Adding litter boxes to various locations around the house and seeing if your cat responds may indicate that it’s a box location issue. If you find your cat pooping out of the litter box, but the poop is nearby, the box may simply be too small for your cat. A bigger litter box can accommodate bigger felines. If your cat is refusing to use the box due to the presence of another cat, adding another litter box so that each cat has his or her own should reduce the number of unwanted floor droppings.
One cat litter that could get your cat back to using the box is Precious Cat Cat Attract Litter. If your cat has an inappropriate elimination problem, it may be worth a try.
Increased stress or nervousness may also cause a cat to inappropriately eliminate. Cats are very sensitive to routines, and often don’t respond well to change. Moving is not only incredibly stressful to you, but also to your cat. Their daily routines, such as feeding time and litter box cleanup time may be impacted due to moving activities, and unknown people coming through the home can cause stress. Changes in the family structure may also affect your cat.
To reduce stress from moving, keep your cat in a safe room, such as a bedroom, with her litter box, food, and any comfort items for the few days. This should help your cat get acquainted with its new home. If you can continue to feed and scoop the litter at the times the cat is accustomed to, they will feel more secure.
Have You Tried Everything and Your Cat is Still Pooping on the Floor?
Note that once a cat starts pooping or peeing on the floor, they will be attracted to that location. Always make sure to clean up the spot with cleaners that are not ammonia based, as anything with ammonia will just add to the attraction. You may also need to retrain your cat by keeping them in a confined area with their litter box, food, and home comforts. If you can’t resolve the problem, contact a qualified veterinarian for further advice.
The ASPCA reports that up to 10% of cats develop elimination issues. Let’s prevent our beloved kitties from being one of those 10% by educating ourselves on why it happens. Remember, if you keep your litter box clean, have it in an appealing location, and use appropriate litter, you greatly increase your chances of a long and happy relationship with your cat!
- http://secretsofcats.com/behavior/peeing-pooping-problems.html (Secrets of Cats Blog)
- http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2174&aid=158 (Pet Education)
- http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/pooping-outside-the-litter-box/ (Pan Jonson-Bennett, Cat Behavior Associates)
- http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-articles/litter-box-problems (ASPCA)
- http://therealowner.com/cats/why-is-my-cat-pooping-on-the-floor/ (Sharifa McFarlane, The Real Owner)
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