New female cat pooping in my bathroom sink

by Marcie Cole

I got my cat one week ago. She's three years old. She has been hiding under my couch ever since.

I put the litter box in my bathroom. She gets up on my bathroom sink and does her business there. I guess I rather have her do it there than on the floor.

The litter box is right under my sink. Any suggestions what I can do? Thank you, Marcie.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear that your new cat is having problems. Many adult cats have trouble adjusting to new environments. Usually, as they learn to trust, things get better.

Obviously she comes out from under the couch at times. I'm assuming she comes out to at least eat, drink, and use the sink to do her business.

If she were my cat, here are some things I'd think about:

If it were the bathtub, I'd try placing a litter box in the tub, but that's not going to work for the sink. Instead we need to take away the sink as an option while encouraging her to use the box.

Since stress is high, we need to do the best we can to make her feel more relaxed. We also need to either make sure the box is more to her liking, or put her in a situation where she has little choice but to use the box.

Encouraging her to use the box...

Is she too skittish to allow you to pick her up? If she's not too skittish, can you place her in the litter box after each meal and after activity? This is how we normally get kittens to use the box and it might help in this case as well.

Making the box (and litter) more to her liking...

Are you using the same litter she used where she was before you got her? Assuming she was at a shelter, for example, use the same litter as the shelter.

Bathrooms are often crowded spaces. I would consider whether or not the litter box was placed in such a way that would make her feel trapped or cornered. Cats like escape routes.

Is the box covered? Use an uncovered box instead. Many cats don't do well with covered boxes.

Removing stress and taking away other options, such as the sink...

I'd consider setting up a room just for her while she gets used to the new home. This is a best practice anyway, as many cats are afraid in their new surroundings, and small spaces are easier to get used to.

In the most extreme of cases, you can use a large cage, much like the size they use at shelters. In those situations, the cats are in very confined quarters, and usually have little choice but to use the litter box.

Consider using Feliway to calm her, and Cat Attract in the litter.

After she's on a good schedule, using the box consistently, you can allow her the freedom to explore the rest of the house.

Keep in mind that many cats have been known to avoid the litter box (and sometimes use the sink instead) when they have an infection or other urinary tract problem. I've received many stories from readers where this is the case.

I hope that helps. Please keep us updated on her progress.

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