My 12 year old cat poops on the carpet

by Beverly McManimie
(Franklin, KY USA)

My cat Smith is a little over 12 years old and he uses the litter box and poops on the carpet. He will do good for a few times and then he will go behind the chair, beside the bed, and this is on the carpet.

Sometimes he will go in my bathroom on the linoleum floor. He does not really have a set pattern and we never know.

We clean his litter box daily and it is not like it is full of poop or pee. Sometimes he will go in it, not always getting all of the poop inside, but I can deal with that. It is all the piles on the carpet the really stink and stain.

What can I do to stop him from pooping on the carpet? He use to go in the bedrooms and now we keep the doors closed.

I have had him a long time and not sure what to do. Just hate the smell and messes we have to clean up.

In Mr Smith's case nothing has been changed. Same type of litter, no change in food, no change in his routine. Same ole same ole stuff and location.

We have another cat, Oreo and he has never had this problem. We have had both cats for years.

If I leave dirty clothes on the floor, Mr Smith will actually pee on them.
Need help.

My Thoughts: I'm sorry to hear that Mr Smith is having problems, Beverly. One of the things to always look at are health issues.

I'm assuming he's been to the veterinarian, but at age 12, Mr Smith is getting up there, so he may have some age related ailments.

Along those lines, my first thought is arthritis... this may be why, even when he's in the litter box, he doesn't always get it all inside the box.

He may be uncomfortable in certain positions sometimes. It may even be difficult for him to climb into the box, and so he uses an easier location, the floor.

Using ramps or steps, or changing the box out for one with a lower entrance may help with this if that is his problem.

When a cat develops a location preference, placing a litter box right on the spot can sometimes solve the problem. If he's using both carpet and linoleum floor textures and several locations, however, it's more challenging.

Perhaps adding a litter box to the house would help, though. I will say that with two cats, you should have at least three litter boxes. And that brings me to another possible issue... box guarding.

In multi-cat households, even cats who appear to get along most of the time can have spats, and they can have ongoing territorial issues. Usually, they work it out, time share their space, and so on.

Sometimes, however, one cat becomes intimidated and stops using the box, or starts urinating on the floor, or on clothing or bedding. Even a stare down can cause anxiety, so it's hard to tell sometimes by looking at their behavior at a glance.

To reduce anxiety, many cat behavior experts recommend Feliway. To increase his attraction to the box, Cat Attract is often recommended as well.

Cats respond to praise, but not punishment. So, be sure to ignore his bad behavior, and praise him whenever he uses the litter box like it's the best thing he's ever accomplished in his life.

You might also want to try isolation retraining. Either a large cage or a room can be used for this.

The last thing I'll add is that he may have intermittent constipation. If his stools are hard and dry at any time, sometimes like pebbles, that's a key indicator. You might want to talk to your vet about adding pumpkin to his diet or using a laxative.

Although constipation is fairly common in cats, it can be an indicator of other health problems. So be alert to that.

I hope that gives you some ideas. Please keep us updated on his progress.


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