It may be fun to see your silly cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box, but not at all on your carpet. Sometimes it is as ordinary as a behavioral problem, but it indicates your little friend feeling unwell if occurring frequently. The situation may get worse, even life-threatening, without proper attention. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to identify possible causes and take necessary measures to prevent the phenomenon from worsening.

Why is my cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box?

As cats get older, they tend to miss their litter boxes and urinate elsewhere. Therefore, your old cat pooping outside the litter box isn’t as worrying as kitties.

Health problems

Diarrhea or constipation can be culprits in this case. The urge to go may be so overwhelming that your pet can’t wait to make it to the litter box. In this case, there is no need to worry since the abnormal habit should be temporary.
Seal a sample of cat stool in a plastic bag and bring it to the vet’s clinic for a thorough examination. He or she will check for the presence of blood, hair, or mucous. If they rule out the possibility of physiological problems, they will go on to detect any abnormality in the cat’s behavior.  

Behavioral issues

If your feline friend feels distressed, the chance is that he will reject the litter box.

The litter box smells bad

As clean animals, cats will turn their noses at litter boxes if they produce unpleasant odors or doesn’t meet their hygienic standards. Even those litter trained for a long time prefer another area to pee to their containers if they aren’t pristine enough.

Your litter might be the problem

Cats have diverse tastes in the type, texture, and smell of their litter. In general, they are fond of clumping litter with a medium or unscented texture.
You can put a few boxes with different types of litter for your pet to choose their favorite. Change the depths of litter to check whether it works.

The box is in the wrong location

The location of the litter box can bother your furry pet. He tends to avoid crowded areas to do his own things. Near a door and somewhere in your house that many people go back and forth are just two of them.
Additionally, having other cats around during litter box visits may intimidate your pet. It’s necessary to put the box somewhere that facilitates an easy escape. If possible, make sure there are boxes in different locations so that cats have broader options.
The situation becomes more severe if your cat is suffering from dementia. Wondering where to urinate is likely to create considerable confusion. Thus, your cat peeing and pooping outside the litter box is unavoidable.

The living environment changes

Sudden changes in the surroundings or routine can have considerable effects on the pet. For example, you deliver a new baby, adopt another cat or animal, or one member moves out, making your cat stressed. As a result, the disorder pooping habit serves as a way of the feline marking his territory.
When he is used to the new situation, the phenomenon will disappear.  

You’ve recently adopted a kitty

It takes an adoptive cat a few weeks or months to feel comfortable in his new house and reveal his personality. Therefore, he may hesitate to use the litter box at first. Everything takes time, so be patient.

The box is too small

The size of the litter box shouldn’t be too big or too small. An ideal measurement is at least 1.5 times as long as the cat’s body. He can comfortably maneuver within that space.
Don’t go for a cramped litter box. It prevents your pet from turning around and digging, causing difficulty for his bathroom routine.

Long-haired cats with furry butt syndrome   

Cats with long hair may run into trouble when going to pee. They don’t like having remnants stick to their coat so that they will poop elsewhere.
Solving the problem is easy. Keep their fur clean and smooth by trimming around their bottom with functional grooming scissors.

How to do with your cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box?

Clean the box

The very first step you can do is to remove clumps from the litter box on a daily basis and clean it thoroughly. Use the mixture of warm water and mild dish soap to scrub the empty box, rinse and let it dry.
Finish the cleaning by pouring a fresh supply of unscented litter so that your pet can know where to pee and poop. Be careful with scented litter because it can’t attract finicky cats.
Remember to wear a face mask and rubber gloves to repel the invasion of litter dust and microscopic bugs. If you’re expecting a baby, never bother yourself with box cleaning. Leave the job in the hands of other family members for fear of contracting toxoplasmosis.

Clean up the mess

After your cat has gone to pee in the wrong location, clean all the area thoroughly to eliminate the odor and distract him from coming near the same spot. Identify all the problem areas with your nose and a black light.
For fresh urine, it’s easy to blot it up with cloth towels or paper. You can clean hard surfaces with household cleaning solutions. Rinse affected towels or bedding in the washing machine while rugs and upholstery are fit to clean by a bacterial or enzymatic cleaner. Strictly follow the instructions of the manufacturer to maximize its efficiency.

Pay attention to the box location

If you find your cat keeps coming near a specific area such as its latrine or bath mat, close the door or set up a baby gate to block his access.
Choose a quiet and private spot to place the litter box. Keep it away from the food and water bowls to encourage your furry friend to use it.
Increase the number of litter boxes. If possible, never let different cats share the same litter box. It will be ideal if you prepare one box for each cat plus one more. For example, three litter containers will satisfy the requirements of two cats.  
Put the boxes in different places; otherwise, one of the cats may try to shy others away and dominate all the toilets. If your house has multiple stories, it’s advisable to keep at least one box on each floor.

Train the pet to use the litter box

Try to play with the pet more frequently within the vicinity of the litter box. Leave some toys around it to help him become familiar with the container and use it more comfortably.
Everything should be step by step. The cat should have his own time to explore the new urination place. Never use treats to encourage him or drop him inside. These tactics will turn out counter-productive in scaring your feline friend.    

Block the access

If you can’t stop your furry friend from taking a leak in a particular space, try spraying the area with a kitty-safe deterrent or using aluminum foil. In this way, you will decrease the attraction of the inappropriate location to the cat.
Alternatively, you can make the litter box look like that area. For example, if he likes defecating on tiled surfaces, keep the bottom of the litter box bare.

Change the litter box

Enclosed types are favorable in terms of their ability to contain mess and odor besides blending in with household decorating standards. However, not all cats share the same idea with their owners.
Such boxes are small, dark, and smelly. Animals can’t turn around comfortably there, feeling inconvenient to do their business.
The ideal litter box should be open, large, and has low sides so that the cat can easily step over, especially when he turns older. You can buy these boxes at pet supply stores or hand make them with plastic under-bed storage boxes.

Consult professional advice

If your cat keeps pooping outside the litter box, don’t hesitate to pay a visit to the vet clinic. The veterinarian will conduct a thorough check-up and take note of his health record to check whether the problem has medical or behavioral roots.
The three most common health issues that result in cats’ abnormal urination habits are kidney disease, urinary tract inflammation, and diabetes.
If you receive a clean bill of health, behavioral or environmental factors may be the culprit. They include the introduction of a new cat or conflicts among different cats. In this case, separate the cats and gradually reintroduce them when possible.

Final thoughts

The cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box is just a normal phenomenon. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel worried too much. Instead, carefully find out the causes and take the above-mentioned measures.  
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