Why Is My Cat Suddenly Pooping Outside Of The Litter Box?

As a cat owner, you know that your furry friend can be a bit finicky at times. But when it comes to finding little surprises outside of their litter box, it’s understandable if you’re feeling frustrated. So why is your cat suddenly pooping outside of the litter box?

There are several reasons why this behavior change may occur. It could be due to a health issue like constipation or digestive disorders, or perhaps your cat is feeling anxious or ill. It could also be a sign of territorial marking or simply a preference for a new litter box location.

To prevent this behavior from becoming a habit, it’s important to understand the root cause as a responsible cat owner. In this blog post, we’ll explore the main reasons why cats start pooping outside of their litter boxes, covering everything from lifestyle changes to medical issues.

Whether you’re an experienced cat owner or new to the game, keep reading to discover potential causes and effective solutions for dealing with this frustrating behavior. Trust us – your nose will thank you.

Reasons for Unwanted Bathroom Habits

While it can be frustrating, understanding the various reasons behind this behavior can help you solve the problem effectively. Here are some reasons for why your cat may start pooping outside of their litter box.

Dirty Litter Box

A dirty litter box can cause all sorts of problems, including your cat pooping outside of it. So, to keep your feline friend healthy and happy, it’s important to keep their litter box clean and provide the right type of litter.

Think about it – would you like to use a dirty toilet every day? Neither would your cat. A dirty litter box makes your cat uncomfortable and anxious, which could lead them to avoid using it altogether. Instead, they may find other places in your home to do their business, such as your favorite rug or laundry basket.

To prevent this from happening, scoop out any solid waste daily and change the litter completely at least once a week. Don’t forget to wash the litter box with soap and water every time you change the litter. By doing so, you’re providing your cat with a clean space to do their business whenever they need to.

If you have more than one cat, it’s essential to have multiple litter boxes. The general rule of thumb is one more box than the number of cats in your household. This ensures that each cat has access to a clean litter box whenever they need it.

Choosing the right type of litter is also crucial. Some cats prefer clumping litter, while others favor non-clumping. You should also avoid scented litters as they can be overwhelming for your cat’s sensitive nose.

Medical Issues

This includes monitoring their litter box usage. But what happens when your cat starts pooping outside of the litter box? Before assuming it’s a behavioral issue, it’s crucial to understand that this behavior could indicate an underlying medical condition.

Urinary tract infections

One common medical problem that can cause cats to poop outside of the litter box is urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs can cause pain and discomfort while urinating, which may lead your cat to associate the litter box with pain and avoid using it altogether. Fortunately, a visit to the vet can help diagnose UTIs, and medication can effectively clear up the infection.


Another medical issue that can cause cats to poop outside of the litter box is constipation. When a cat is constipated, passing stool becomes difficult and painful, causing them to associate the litter box with discomfort. Treatment for constipation usually involves dietary changes and medication prescribed by a veterinarian.


Diarrhea is also a common medical problem in cats, causing them to feel an urgent need to pass stool and sometimes not making it to the litter box in time.

Diarrhea can be caused by several factors, including diet changes or underlying medical conditions such as infections. Treatment typically involves addressing the underlying cause and supportive care such as fluid therapy and medication.

If your cat is pooping outside of the litter box, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian to rule out any medical problems before assuming it’s a behavioral issue.

Stress and Anxiety

For cats, changes in their environment or routine can be overwhelming and cause them to feel anxious or stressed out. If your cat suddenly starts pooping outside of the litter box, it could be a sign that they are experiencing some type of stress or anxiety.

Cats are sensitive creatures and can easily pick up on our own stress and anxiety. If you’re going through a difficult time, your cat may start acting out as well. Moreover, if your cat is already prone to anxiety or has a history of litter box issues, any added stress can make the problem worse.

So, how can you help your cat reduce their anxiety levels? Environmental enrichment is key. Toys, scratching posts, and perches can provide stimulation and entertainment for your cat. Additionally, using pheromone sprays or diffusers can help to calm your cat and reduce their anxiety.

If you’ve tried these methods and your cat is still having litter box problems, it may be necessary to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. However, in many cases, addressing the root cause of the anxiety can go a long way towards resolving the issue and getting your cat back on track with their litter box habits.

Territorial Marking

Territorial marking is a common reason for this behavior, especially in multi-cat households where cats may feel the need to assert their dominance or establish their own space.

But why do cats participate in territorial marking, and how can you address it? Well, it’s a way for cats to communicate with other felines and establish their territory. They use feces to mark their space, and changes in the environment can trigger stress and anxiety, leading to marking.

To help prevent territorial marking, it’s essential to provide each cat with their own personal space and resources. This includes separate feeding areas and litter boxes. By doing so, your cats will have less of a need to mark their territory.

Vertical spaces, such as cat trees or shelves, are also important for cats. These spaces not only provide physical exercise but also a sense of security and comfort for your furry friend.

Consistency is crucial when it comes to preventing territorial marking. Cats thrive on routine, so any changes should be introduced gradually. Punishing your cat for marking behavior is not recommended as it can increase stress levels and lead to more marking.

Instead, try using pheromone sprays or diffusers to promote feelings of calmness and security.

Solutions to Address the Issue

It’s frustrating to discover your feline friend’s poop outside the litter box, but don’t worry, there are solutions to this problem. The first step is always to rule out any underlying medical conditions by taking your cat for a check-up with the veterinarian. Once you’ve confirmed that there are no health issues, you can start addressing potential behavioral problems.

One of the most effective solutions is to ensure that the litter box is clean and easily accessible. As we all know, cats are fastidious creatures and won’t use a dirty or hard-to-reach litter box. It’s crucial to have one more litter box than the number of cats in your household, which ensures that there are always enough options available.

Another option is to experiment with different types of litter boxes and litter. Some cats may prefer a covered litter box, while others may prefer an open one. Similarly, certain cats may like specific types of litter, such as unscented or clumping. Trying out different options can help you figure out what works best for your cat.

If your cat still isn’t using the litter box, you can try confining them to a small area with their litter box until they consistently use it again. This can help retrain them and prevent them from going elsewhere in the house.

In some cases, environmental stressors such as changes in routine or new pets in the household can cause a cat to avoid their litter box. Addressing these stressors and providing a comfortable environment for your cat can also help resolve the issue.

Keeping the Litter Box Clean

Keeping your cat’s litter box clean is more than just a matter of having a tidy home. It’s also crucial for your feline friend’s health and happiness. As clean animals, cats prefer a pristine and odor-free environment, and a dirty litter box can make them avoid using it altogether.

To maintain a clean litter box, scoop out your cat’s waste every day and change the litter at least once a week. Think of it as cleaning up after yourself – just like you don’t want to use a messy bathroom, neither does your cat. You can also use a litter deodorizer or baking soda to help absorb any unpleasant odors and make the litter box more inviting for your furry friend.

It’s important to note that cats are sensitive to strong scents, so unscented litter is the best option. And if you have multiple cats in your household, ensure that you have enough litter boxes available.

The general rule of thumb is one litter box per cat plus an extra one, giving your cats enough space to do their business without feeling overcrowded.

However, if your cat continues to poop outside the litter box despite your efforts to keep it clean, it might be time to consider other factors such as stress or medical issues.

In these cases, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to determine the underlying cause and find an appropriate solution.

Creating a Calm Environment

If your cat is showing signs of stress or anxiety, such as pooping outside the litter box, it may be time to create a calm environment for them. In this article, we’ll explore some proven tips for creating a peaceful space for your cat to thrive in.

To start, it’s essential to provide your cat with their own territory. Cats love having a designated area where they can retreat and feel safe. This could be a separate room or merely a cozy bed or spot on the couch. By having their own space, your cat will be able to regulate their environment, which is vital for reducing stress and anxiety.

Next up, physical fitness is crucial in keeping your cat healthy and happy. Offering cats plenty of opportunities for play and exercise will help reduce stress and anxiety. Toys and scratching posts are great ways to entertain your cat and keep them stimulated. Not only will this help reduce anxiety, but it will also discourage harmful behaviors such as scratching furniture or walls.

Lastly, keeping a clean litter box is crucial in creating a calm environment for your cat. Cats are particular about the location of their litter box, so make sure it’s in a quiet and private area away from high traffic areas. Scoop the litter box at least once a day and replace the litter completely at least once a week. A cluttered litter box can cause stress and anxiety in cats, leading to litter box issues.

In conclusion, by following these tips, you can create a calm environment that will help reduce stress and anxiety in your cat. Remember to be patient with your furry friend and consult with your veterinarian if you continue to have issues with litter box behavior.

Also Read: Why Cats Poop On The Floor?


As a cat owner, it can be frustrating to find your furry friend’s poop outside the litter box. But don’t worry, there are reasons behind this behavior that you can address. Medical disorders, litter preferences, stress, territorial identification and behavioral problems are all common causes of cats pooping outside their designated area.

To prevent this issue from becoming a habit, it’s crucial to identify the root cause as a responsible pet owner. Keeping the litter box clean and providing multiple options is essential for your cat’s health and happiness. Additionally, creating a calm environment with plenty of playtime and exercise will help reduce anxiety in cats.

If despite your efforts to keep things clean and stress-free, your cat continues to poop outside the litter box, don’t hesitate to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist who can help determine any underlying medical or behavioral issues.

By following these guidelines and being patient with your feline friend, you’ll be able to effectively address litter box issues while maintaining a positive relationship with them.