6 Reasons Why Cats Poop Outside the Litter Box
Why Cats Poop Outside Of The Litter Box

6 Reasons Why Cats Poop Outside the Litter Box

Are you wondering why your cat is not using the litter box? This is an important question that many cat owners ask themselves at some point and it’s important to find the answer. Luckily, if your cat is suddenly relieving itself in an inappropriate spot, the most common reasons are usually easy to identify and remedy. So, if you are struggling to keep your kitty’s bathroom habits under control, read on for some helpful advice from The Refined Feline.

1. The Litter Box Is Not Clean Enough

The most common reason behind your cat pooping outside of their litter box is that the box is not clean enough. Cats are very clean creatures, so even something as simple as not scooping often enough can cause cats to not use the litter box. Shoot for scooping the box at least once a day and see if that helps. You should also dump out the litter box every week or so, replacing it with fresh litter. There are many self-cleaning and automatic litter boxes on the market if you are struggling to keep up with the scooping.

2. There’s Not Enough Cat Litter

Most cats will prefer boxes with at least a couple of inches of litter covering the bottom, maybe even more. Cats like to do a lot of digging before they do their business. So, if the litter is too shallow, your cat may not want to use the litter box. Try adding more litter to the box regularly to see if that helps. Having more litter in the box can make scooping easier as well, as the litter won’t stick to the sides and bottom as much.

3. They Do Not Like The Type Of Litter In The Box

Another common reason cats will avoid using the litter box centers on what type of litter is being used. If you have recently changed the litter, try going back to the original kind and see if that helps. Cats tend to have a preference, so you may need to experiment with different kinds to find one that your cat prefers. Gone are the days of only clay litter, as there are many different kinds available now. Cat litter is also commonly made from silica gel, corn, nuts, paper pellets, pine, and more! Your cat may prefer more finely textured litter and not like the pellet form, or vice versa. The textures vary and your cat will likely have a preference.

Another thing to consider is scented versus unscented litter. For humans, we automatically select the highest scented litter as we want something to help with odor. For cats, though, some of these scented litters may be too strong for their sensitive noses. Cats have a much stronger sense of smell than we do and they’re much closer to the litter than we are. So, many highly perfumed litters could be too strong for your cat which could make them not want to use the box. It’s worth trying a few unscented litters to see if your cat starts using the box more often. If you prefer a scent, try mixing the unscented litter with just a little scented litter and see if that works. Believe it or not though, many unscented litters do a better job of eliminating smells.   

Related: 6 Tips For Improving The Cat Litter Box

4. The Cat Doesn’t Like The Location Of The Litter Box

If the litter box is not convenient for your cat, this could cause them to poop outside of it. Cats like to have their litter box in a quiet spot where they can be comfortable, relaxed, and take their time. If the box is in a busy or noisy area of your home, your cat may be too scared or apprehensive to use it. Try moving the litter box to a more discreet spot and see if that helps. You can also try placing the box inside of a litter box cabinet for added privacy.

5. The Cat Is Afraid Of It 

Although this is not super common, cats may be afraid of their litter box. This can occur if the cat had a bad experience in the box. A few things could cause fear such as an automatic litter box that makes a lot of noise or another cat bullying them during use. If you think that may be the case with your cat, try adding another litter box to a small room or closet. This can help your cat feel more secure and give them more peace while going. You may want to try a covered litter box as well, as some cats feel more relaxed with a cover.

6. There Could Be An Underlying Medical Condition

If you don’t suspect that any of the other reasons are an issue, an underlying medical condition may be causing the problem. It’s always a good idea to take your cat to the vet to rule out any potential health issues. Cats are good at masking any sickness or discomfort, so having a checkup is a good way to maintain their overall health. Your veterinarian can also suggest some additional steps to take, which may include medications if it’s stress-related. 

Why Cats Poop Outside The Litter Box

These are the most common reasons why cats will poop outside of their litter box. Try one or more of these tips if you are having trouble with your cat’s bathroom habits, and see if it makes a difference. Plus, don’t forget to consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions about your cat’s health.

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