How to Identify Kitty Potty Problems

Oh, what to do when your cat decides he’d rather find new, interesting places to poop than in the litter box! Misplaced poop (or large puddles of pee) usually happen due to one of two reasons: Your cat no longer likes his litter box or he likes these new pooping places much better.

“I Hate My Litter Box”

There are various reasons your cat can no longer tolerate pooping in his litter box. Perhaps it’s a simple case of not enough litter being in there or the box is too small. Or maybe there’s a deeper reason such as the type of litter is irritating to your cat’s paws or he’s had a traumatic experience using the litter box.

Surface Preference

Your cat may still use the litter box from time to time but pooping around the house is a clear indicator that he has developed a preference for another surface. Beds, carpets, and towels are preferred by most cats since they are fine-grained and softer substrates.

To combat this preference, be sure to clean all the previous soiled areas with an enzymatic cleaner (Odor Mute, Natures Miracle) and prohibit your cat from accessing these areas in the future. Use litter that has a texture more like these preferred areas by switching to fine grained and clumping litter.

Location Preference

You may have found a better location for the litter box that suits your preferences (like having it further away from your presence), but your cat may still prefer the old location and thus continues to poop there, litter box or no. Your cat may also decide he no longer likes his litter box location, even if that’s where you’ve always kept it.

Many owners opt to use closed top litter boxes to cut down on the spread of odor, but a litter box with only one way in or out may cause your cat too much anxiety, especially since he can’t see all around while going to the bathroom. Change the location and type of litter box to meet your cat’s preferences. If you’re dead set on having the box in a location of your choosing, try keeping the litter box in the old location, and slowly inching it closer to your desired location over time.

Conflicts with Other Cats

Potty problems are likely to arise if you have a multi-cat household. An aversion to the litter box may develop if one of your cats were attacked or threatened while in the litter box by another cat. Now the poor thing is too afraid to go in the litter box due to fear of more harassment. While you should try to improve the general relationship between your cats as best you can, there are more immediate solutions you can also do.

It’s best to have as many litter boxes as there are cats in the house, plus one more for good measure. Some cats simply won’t use a litter box another cat has already gone in. Make sure the cats have several escape routes and good visibility all around their litter boxes. Also put the litter boxes in different locations, one cat may feel comfortable using the litter box upstairs if he knows the other cat is using the litter box downstairs.

Follow these tips and your cat will be well on his way to regularly using his litter box once again.