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Cat pooping outside letterbox--worse following a move

February 25th, 2012, 08:23 PM
I have two cats, a 6.5 yo male and 7.5 yo female (both spayed or neutered). Both were shelter kittens. The male has had a hard time with litter boxes since the beginning.

2005-2011: we had a boudha dome litter box with swheat scoop litter (lid on). The male would often not cover his poop. Maybe 4-5 times a year there was some poop on the litter mat outside the opening.

July 2011: we relocated to Toronto. The cats were in their carriers (with breaks) for the 9 hour drive. We bought a new litter box that has a hole cut j to the top lid. Female adjusted without a problem. Male started pooping on top of the lid.

Oct. 2011: we moved across town to a different place. Husband bought a typical rectangular litterbox. Male pooped in living room instead of the bathroom with litterbox. We put up babygate (son is now 3, never antagonizes cats), and took lid off box. Now we're lucky if male poops in box. Sometimes it's covered, usually it's just outside the box. I'm pregnant and really disturbed by the poop. We took down the gate two weeks ago and male pooped in living room 4 times in a row. Gate is up and poop is just outside of box or some is on the lip and the rest on the floor.

So this is a longstanding issue that has gotten much worse following the move. My mom is coming in a few weeks to help with the baby and she HATES cats. I would love to figure this out soon.

Thanks so much in advance!! Sorry for typos, phone is such a pain to type on!

February 26th, 2012, 09:22 AM
Hi Cleo, sorry that you are having so many troubles with your kitties. A few things that I have learned here on pets that you might try: more litter boxes, maybe get a litter box that is not so high to step into perhaps your male is having trouble getting into the one you have. I do not know kitty stuff very well but sure hope that you find some solutions.

February 26th, 2012, 11:12 AM
Sometimes just the stress of an event can throw your kitty off.

My cat got spooked while in her litterbox. She stopped using it and became scared of everything. It took her a good month before she started to come around.

When your cat poops outside the litterbox pick up the feces and put it in the litterbox. Also, make sure you are using an enzymatic cleaner to clean the spots.

And pbpatti has some good suggestions. You should have as many litterboxes as you have cats. Maybe if, if you have the space, get another Booda dome as it seems the problem was managable then (I have 2 Booda domes. Occassionally I will find pieces of poop on the mat outside, but I believe that is just from one of the cats flicking it onto the stairs and it rolls down onto the mat). Taking the lid off the litter box can definitely help, a lot of cats do not like not being able to see whats going on around them. Also, if you made any made any changes to the type of cat litter you use, that could have set off the move to going outside the box.

February 26th, 2012, 11:32 AM
How often do you scoop the litter box?

Are your cats declawed (a common cause of litter box avoidance)?

Definitely get more boxes, at least 2 more, and make sure they're the largest ones you can get. Under-the-bed storage boxes work great. Put one in a different part of the house if you can.

Buy some Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract ( litter or their Litter Attractant (

A Feliway ( diffuser might also help with any anxiety aspects of the behaviour.

What do your cats eat? Constipation can play a huge role in pooping outside the box (cat associates painful defecation with the box), and diet is the biggest factor in constipation. If you're currently feeding only dry food, it would be a really good idea to get more moisture in his diet by switching to wet.

Some links for you to read:

March 1st, 2012, 05:54 AM

perhaps your cat dislikes the litterbox being in the bathroom, it is often a very humid environment, and the smells can linger too much to a cat's liking... cats have better sense of smell than us, so maybe the smell of the litter box keeps him away. It could also be that there are too many smells in the bathroom, some cats do not like the smell of soap or other things we humans find pleasent...
Perhaps your cat needs a lot of privacy when he needs to use the litter box, have you tried putting the box somewhere that is very quiet; where there is not much 'traffic' around.
Perhaps experiment with different litter box fillers, some cats prefer a certain type...

It could be a good idea to 'reward' your cat evreytime he does go in the litter box, a bunch of hugs and kind words, or a little food treat can be used as positive reinforcement...

How is the poop? Hard, liquid? perhaps he has diarhea and just ''can't make it in time''? Perhaps he is constipated and just happy to ''get it out''.
Did you consider a visit to the vet to rule out any other issues he may have?

Please keep updating on the situation!
And best of luck with your cat