My cat poops outside the litter box
I have a Maine Coon cat 14 years old. She started about 2 months ago pooping outside the box.
The poop is about 8 inches outside the box on the bathroom floor.
She knows she is bad when she does it but continues to still do it.
Once in a while she will poop in the box. Any solutions?
With a generic and intermittent problem like this, I think this is probably a good time to point out some key thoughts with regard to solving litter box problems:
1. Remember that, in an ideal world, your cat wants to use the box. Cats are tidy creatures and have a strong instinct to bury their feces and keep things clean. If your cat is not using the box, something is not right in her world.
She may have associated pain with using the box, or she may have a physical problem of some kind that is preventing her from using it. This problem (or pain association) may come and go.
2. There are both physical and emotional causes for litter box problems. As long as a physical cause is at work, you'll never solve the problem. First, get a clean bill of health from the vet.
3. All house cats will suffer from constipation at some point in their lives. For some felines, it can be an occasional occurrence, but not serious. For others, regular constipation can lead to a serious bowel disorder called megacolon, or simply cause litter box mishaps. The major cause of constipation in cats is hair balls
. This can be made worse if your cat is dehydrated.
4. Impacted anal glands are fairly common and will cause bowel trouble. This turned out to be Cinnamon's problem with "scooting marks."
Your vet will need to relieve the pressure, and the procedure may need to be done more than once.
5. Stress, in various forms, is often at the root of a litter box problem. Until you uncover (and remove) the source of the stress, the problem will continue or recur.
6. Always praise, never punish. When your cat uses the box, praise lavishly. When your cat doesn't use the box, don't punish. Your cat won't understand the punishment, and it just adds to the stress. Remember, she wants to use the box, but she can't.
7. Clean the area thoroughly with a cleaner that removes all of the odor and its source. The instinct to return to the spot will be strong until the source of the odor is gone.
8. Any life changes are suspect. Cats like to keep to a general routine. Any disruption in their routine can throw them off their box habits. This includes changes in feeding schedules, type of food, the addition or deletion of a family member (including other pets) in the house, different litter or box type, home
remodeling, or even a change in your
work or sleeping schedule.
9. Exercise, attention, and toys. Less active cats, especially overweight kitties, may have more constipation issues.
Increasing your cat's exercise levels has been said to help with constipation, as well as burn off pent up stress.
Extra attention and affection can reduce stress, and more toy play can help give your cat the "hunt and kill" satisfaction that she craves. I recommend, among others, Da Bird...
10. Help your cat groom. Grooming is a major activity for cats. It's estimated that cats can spend up to one-third of their waking lives cleaning themselves. A FURminator
can dramatically reduce the amount of fur that ends up in your cat's gut, and around your house. Added help with grooming is more and more important as your cat gets older.
11. Diet. If you've changed your cat's diet, that can lead to constipation. Any diet changes should be made slowly or you risk upsetting your kitty's stomach. Remember that excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration, which leads to constipation, which leads to litter box problems.
If you're feeding dry food, mixing in a hair ball formula may help, although reports are mixed on this. Hair ball treats, which usually contain a laxative can help. Many cat owners have reported much less in the way of vomiting and constipation issues when feeding a premium wet cat food.
12. Hair ball remedies may help. Your vet can prescribe a few, such as lactulose.
13. Isolation retraining is sometimes the best method for getting a cat back on track, once any physical issues have been ruled out. Basically, you restrict your cat to a section of the house. Set her up with a bed, a litter box, food, water, toys, the works. Then ease her back into her regular routine after the problem is solved.
14. Get professional help. Your vet needs to be brought into the conversation for the physical aspects. As I've said, if you don't fix a physical problem, you'll never resolve things. If you're having trouble with the emotional side of things and you've tried everything, it may be time to call in a pet psychologist or cat therapist.
Solving box problems can be difficult when there are many variables. Try to reduce those variables and maintain a stable environment until the problem is solved. Try to think back to the 6 month period prior to the time the problems started. Were there any major changes in your cat's life? Any indications of problems?
Don't go changing litter types and boxes and food at all once, or you could make things worse. Make one change at a time.
I hope that helps to give you some ideas and good luck with her. Let us know how it goes and what works for you.
P.S. Please add your thoughts in the comments!