7 year old female cat pooping on the carpet/rugs/blankets

by Anonymous


My 7 year old female cat had good litter box habits, but started pooping on various carpets throughout the house in the past couple of years.


I got her to stop using the two rugs that she started on and she used her box with no problems for awhile.

I also have a male cat that has very good litter box habits.

Initially I only had one box, which they both used fine. I scoop twice a day.

I got a second box, which worked for awhile. When she started pooping on the carpet on a daily basis, I got a third box and put it in a different location, but not in an area that she never visits.

Again, okay for awhile. Then she started pooping on the rug under the box, and then on the carpet next to the box when I removed the rug.

I've cleaned this area several times. I've tried the Cat Attract litter... did not work.

I've started trying isolation training. She is locked up in the evening, based on her poop schedule, and allowed out during the day.

She has used her box consistently for the past week until last night, then she pooped and peed on her sleeping blanket, which is next to her food dish.

She's been to the vet and is healthy. Our household routine has not changed, we are monotonous people.

Sorry this is so long, but I am trying to be detailed and hope someone can help me. My husband is ready to take
her back to the pound.

My Thoughts: I'm sorry to hear that your kitty is having problems. It seems like each time you try a remedy, you get some relief for a while.

It also sounds like she has a texture preference for soft surfaces, such as carpet or blankets. Some people (including one of our readers) have had success in these cases by placing towels in a litter box and allowing the cat to use that.

It's somewhat odd (but may or may not be significant) that she would urinate and defecate on a blanket close to her food dish. Usually, cats will avoid that.

I'm wondering if she's stressed by something, and there's always the possibility of an undiagnosed medical condition, but that will take some investigating by your vet.

Is it possible that she and your male cat are having some disagreements? This can throw a sensitive cat off pretty easily.

If you can make it happen, isolation retraining 24/7, with lots of attention and praise would be something I'd want to try. For stress reduction, Feliway or Rescue Remedy may be a good option.

If you can't resolve this with the help of your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist and decide you need to give her up, please make sure that you select a true no-kill rescue organization or shelter.

A 7 year old cat with a litter box problem that ends up at a shelter is likely not to survive long.

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

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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.

-Kurt

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One year old female cat defecating on carpet

by Glenn
(Port Saint Lucie, Florida)

My year old female cat is defecating on my carpets and not in the litter box which she used to use.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear that your cat is having trouble, Glenn. That's not a lot to go on, so I have some questions.

When a cat goes off the litter box, it's often due to either medical problems or some stressor. So the first question is... does she check out OK medically?

Constipation is a common problem. If she's having hard, pebble-like stools or seems to be straining to go, she may have been thrown off by constipation. Does she seem to be constipated (or was she right before this began)?

Other than medical problems, we look for a stressor that has led up to the problem. Almost anything can be a stressor, but we usually look for some change that took place right before the problem began.

For example:

1) Did you change the litter box, the placement, cleaning schedule, type of litter, etc.?

2) Were there any additions or subtractions to the family (including pets), or changes in schedules or routines?

3) Are there any other pets in the house? Is she possibly having problems with one of the other pets?

4) Does she get enough exercise and playtime? Has she been sluggish or overly reclusive lately?

5) Does she have a place in the house (hopefully multiple locations) where she can be alone, undisturbed?

6) Have there been any other life changes (changes in diet, guests staying over, noisy holiday celebrations)?

If the vet certifies her as medically OK, I would increase her exercise level by having regular play sessions twice daily.

Did you try placing a litter box right on the spot that she's using? That may work. Otherwise, isolation/confinement retraining may be a good option, along with Feliway.

I hope that helps and please use the comments if you can shed any more light on her situation.
-Kurt

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Cat with renal failure going on carpet

by Kim Waters
(Liberty Twp, Ohio USA)

I have a 13 year old cat that has started using the carpet in front of our fireplace to poop, and he has only peed once there. I have taken him to the vet and the vet said he has Stage 2 renal failure, but said he has no infection.

We have a total of four cats in our home and they have all lived together for a long time (many years).

My boyfriend of 28 years has banned him from the downstairs. The poor guy is living in our guest room with carpet covered in plastic. I bring him out when I get home from work and he stays out until bedtime.

Please help me with any ideas of what else to do. I hate that he is shut up in that room away from his feline brothers and his humans.

Please help!!

Thanks,

Kim Waters

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is sick. It's not uncommon for cats with renal failure to defecate and/or urinate outside the box.

Since your cat is ill, it may be hard to get him back on the litter box full time, but it's worth a try.

Renal failure can lead to dehydration which causes constipation. This can cause straining and pain when defecating. The pain causes your cat to associate pain with using the litter box to defecate, and so your cat avoids the box.

Ironically, cats with renal failure may also have diarrhea, and it may alternate with constipation. In addition, these symptoms can occur in older cats that are otherwise healthy, so it's hard to tell if the renal failure is the only thing at play here.

In any case, all this makes things tough on your cat with respect to his bathroom habits. If your cat's stools are at any time hard, dry, and/or pebble-like, that's a sign of constipation.

Fixing the constipation may not be enough, as once the association is there, your cat needs to work things out and get over the negative association to get back on track.

You're keeping him isolated already, so I'd say isolation retraining is worth a shot. I'd try setting him up for success in that room with all the amenities and a litter box, and see if he'll start using it regularly.

Once he's back to his regular box habits, you can try reintegrating him back into the household.

I hope that helps and please let us know how it goes.
-Kurt

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Cat is defecating on my livingroom carpet

by Anita
(Euclid, Ohio USA)

I went out of town for 2 1/2 weeks. I took my cat to my cousin's house while I was gone.

Now that I brought her home, she has decided to defecate on my livingroom carpet.

I have done this before when travelling. I took her to my cousin's house and took her home with no behavior changes. I believe she is urinating in the litter box.

I have never had a problem with my cat's behavior before.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. I'll start with the usual caveats.

1. If your cat has a medical problem, you can't fix the situation by looking at behavioral issues.

2. Cats are very territorial. They love a routine, and they hate change. Taking a cat out of its usual environment can put a lot of stress on the cat and is always a risk.

It can take several weeks or more for a cat to readjust.

I'm curious to know if his diet remained constant while you were away. That may be a factor.

I'd also wonder if he perhaps had a bad experience while using the litter box at your cousin's house.

In any case, assuming he's healthy, I'd consider keeping him in a single room while he acclimates to the house again. I'd also consider Feliway, and I'd be sensitive to the fact that he may be feeling insecure.

He's been displaced, and his scent isn't as strong in the house as it was before. I would lead him around the house and see if you can get him to rub his cheeks all over everything.

I hope that helps and please keep us updated.

-Kurt

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Blind cat poops on the carpet when I'm not home

by Rebekah Mathew
(Chandler, AZ)

I got Stevie last October. He's only a year and 4 months old and he's blind.

When I got him home he would poop in his litter box, no problems. I left for the weekend to go to Vegas to see family, and when I got back was when he started pooping on the carpet.

I moved places and he continued. I switched litters and he was doing really good and going in the litter box for awhile and then he stopped and it's been on the carpet since.

He only does it when I'm not home, but will go in the litter box when I am home. I've started to give him treats when he goes in the litter box but that still doesn't do anything. He still goes on the carpet.

I don't know what else to do to get him to stop. He knows where the litter boxes are cause he pees in them all the time, so can't really say that since he's blind he can't find them.

I do have another, older cat but there's never been a problem with the litter box for him.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having issues with the box. It sounds like your extended absence stressed him out, and now he might be experiencing anxiety when you're not around.

In extreme cases, and with a proper diagnosis, your vet can prescribe medication for anxiety, but I would first look into reducing his anxiety through other means.

I've posted about the litter box and reducing anxiety in cats here. Rather than repeating all that here, please click that link and have a read.

Also, if a cat is pooping outside the box on a particular type of surface, such as carpet, one of the suggestions from Dumb Friends League is to place a similar material under the litter box.

So, if your litter box is on a hard surface, you'd place some carpet underneath. This may not help in this case, especially if the reason he's doing it is because he's stressed and anxious because you're away, but I thought it worth mentioning.

Another tactic that I've mentioned a number of times is to place a litter box on the exact spot your kitty is using to defecate. See if he uses the box.

I hesitate to mention this one, however, because I'm not sure that moving things around or adding or taking away things is ideal when dealing with a blind cat. I have no experience with a blind cat, so your judgement will have to prevail.

I hope that helps and please let us know how it goes.

Thanks,
-Kurt

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Oct 23, 2016
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blind cat
by: Anonymous

Maybe you could crate him while you are gone, with a litter box of course

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My cat keeps pooing on the carpet

by Neetu
(Essex)

My Kitten, approximately 6 months old, keeps pooing on the carpet in the lounge. When we first brought him home he spent most of his time in our lounge and was peeing and pooing in his litter tray.

Recently, he has started pooing behind the sofa on the carpet, the rug. So we kept him out of the lounge and let him have free reign around the rest of the house.

We then let him out in the garden, as we thought that may help and he would poop in the garden. He seemed fine, but today again instead of using his litter tray he came and pooed on the front door mat. I am very confused and do not know what to do, please help. Many thanks.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear that your cat is having issues. If he's got some sort of medical problem, only your vet can help you there. Bowel problems can sometimes be difficult to diagnose without a more extensive exam and testing, but assuming the vet clears him as healthy, here are some ideas...

If he seems to have a favorite spot, one "trick" is to place a litter box right on that spot and see if he uses it.

Some cats like to poop in one box and pee in the other. Do you have two boxes? If not, I would try that. I would also make sure the boxes are squeaky clean and use the same type of litter that you used when he was consistently using the box.

Can you identify a trigger? The way you describe the problem, it sounds like it's intermittent. Is there a recurring pattern here?

Was there some change in his life just prior to this problem starting? A stress point? If you can identify the change, stress point, or recurring pattern, that may give you a clue as to what is setting him off.

Do his stools look normal? Constipation can often cause painful straining, resulting in a negative association with the litter box.

In extreme cases with healthy cats that don't seem to have a particular trigger, isolation retraining can be a remedy.

I hope that helps and please keep us updated on his situation.

-Kurt

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Nov 21, 2014
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cat pooping on the carpet
by: Darci Scott

My parents went through that with our cats Taz and Squeaky. Squeaky is about 6 yrs. old and Taz is a little over a year old. Taz is a very large cat. He came from a feral mom and dad. The mom is so tiny and as sweet as can be. We're not really sure who the dad is but their is a very large cat sometimes seen near my brothers garage where Chester stays. Chester is spoiled rotten and has plenty of room to play. My dad and brother thought Chester was a boy. After taking "Chester" to the vet for what we thought were intestinal problems and an extremely swollen stomach, we found out that Chester was not only a female but that she was pregnant. She had 5 babies. My parents adopted one of the feral kittens.

Taz is the only one to use the litter box, but Squeaky and Taz hate each other and they are both extremely territorial with everything. Squeaky would come in the house and poop behind my mom's lounge chair in the living room. He doesn't do it any more. I think that Squeaky was angry that there was an imposter in the house and he wanted to mark his territory to show Taz who was here first and who the boss was. Taz uses the litter box and also goes outside. Squeaky is more of an outside cat. He now goes to the bathroom outside.

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My 12 year old cat has pooped on the carpet 3 times

by Jenny
(UK)

Jasmine is nearly 13 years old and never had any problems before. She has only ever used her litter tray in an emergency as she always likes to go outside.

On the first occasion, the door to the room her tray is in was shut by mistake and she didn't meow to get out she just pooped at the side of my chair.

Three nights later she did the same but the door to her tray was wide open and again she didn't ask to get out.

Last night I was watching TV when she appeared through and she was quite unsteady on her legs and very strange.

She then went to the same place and pooped. She is very nervous going to the vet and gets very stressed so hoping to get some ideas before I go there.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. If she's unsteady on her feet and acting strange, the best thing you can do for her is get her to the vet as soon as possible.

I know it's hard to think of putting her through the unpleasantness of a vet trip, but it's what I'd do if she were my cat.

I can't diagnose her condition, but I do know there are a whole range of things that could result in unsteadiness, strange behavior, and inappropriate elimination. Given her age, she's subject to ailments like kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism.

In general, as cats get older, they may have a harder time controlling their bowels, and this can result in accidents. If this is happening to Jasmine, she may need more litter boxes spread around the house so that she's always close to a box.

Acting strange and unsteadiness, however, are not a normal part of the aging process or a behavioral problem. She needs to be seen by a vet right away.

Please let us know how she gets along.
-Kurt

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Apr 07, 2017
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Old Lady
by: Anne

My dear sweet 21 year old female cat, Lily, has been sort of wobbly and stiff for several years. She makes a lot of small poops now and only one out of three make it to the box. We confine her to the kitchen where it's easy to clean and are still able to enjoy each others company.
Thirteen seems a little bit young for this behaviour though.

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Ragdoll cat pooped upstairs on bedroom carpet

by Anonymous

My Ragdoll cat is nearly a year old and has recently started to poo on the upstairs carpet. I have recently moved out, so he just lives with my ex-partner.

I try to still see him but worried he is on his own too much and this is the reason why?

My thoughts: I think it's very possible that your absence has had an impact on him and could be the main cause, if the following things are true:

He's been checked by a vet and given the all clear. These things often turn out to be medical in nature.

Nothing else has changed with respect to the litter box, litter, schedules and other aspects of his life. For example, is the litter box being maintained the same as before?

I've said many times how much cats hate change. Major life changes, such as in the case of your moving out of the house, can have a big impact on a cat's life.

Obviously, if you could spend more time with him, that might help. He may just be feeling off because of the turmoil, disruption in his routine, or lack of attention.

Perhaps if your ex-partner were to be sure to pay more attention to him, that would do the trick. If that's not possible, it would be good if you can work something out where you see him more often.

I hope that helps and I hope he gets back on track quickly.
-Kurt

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Female Siamese cat is pooping on clothes and carpet

by MK
(FL)

We have two older male tabbies, fixed. We have a young female Siamese and a white moo cow looking kitty female both UNFIXED. They were my daughter's cats. So four cats.

The female Siamese is pooping in the dining room on clothes and carpet. She will pull papers down off the table and go on them. HELP.

She has lost weight and cries after pooping and peeing in the dining room. Her eyes are bright and coat looks good but she does not gain weight. She plays and is active.

How do I get her to stop pooping in the living room and dining room. HELP.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. Getting her fixed may help.

Also, if she used to be your daughter's cat, I'm not sure if maybe she had a hard time with the transition. If so, isolating her for a while may help, so you can reintegrate her into the household slowly.

If she's lost weight and is too thin and not gaining weight, or losing weight but eating a lot, she may have an illness, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism. The only way to know for sure is to take her to the vet.

She may also have lost weight due to stress, which is also a big factor in litter box problems. Reducing her stress levels may help, and again, isolating her with her own litter box may be revealing.

From the behavior you describe, she may have a problem with her urinary tract. In any case, I think the weight loss is concerning, and along with the other factors, I think a medical professional's opinion would be advised.

If she were my cat, I would call the veterinarian and get her checked out with this problem in mind.

I hope that helps and please let us know how she comes along.
-Kurt

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Pees in box, poops on carpet

by Anonymous

Rescued a lovely 8 month old male. Does great urinating in litter box, continues to poop on carpet.

I use cleaners to absorb smell to decrease association.

He still poops on carpet but in different places. What to do?

My Thoughts: As usual, a call to the vet is the first step. He may be constipated, have impacted anal glands, or some other medical condition.

If he checks out medically, then he may just need 2 litter boxes. Some cats are not happy urinating and defecating in the same box.

He may not like the type of litter. Generally, most cats have a preference for a soft, sandy textured material. If the litter is not of a fine enough texture, this may be the issue.

He may not like the amount of litter in the box. If the level of litter is too low or too high, some cats will avoid the box. Most experts recommend 2 to 3 inches of litter.

He may not like the surface that the box is placed on. If it's on a soft surface, try placing it on a hard surface, and vice versa.

If it's a hooded box, he may be OK with it for urinating, but not defecating. Covered litter boxes tend to trap smells, and this may turn your cat off to using the box. Some cats, however, seem to like the privacy.

If that's not it, then he may have developed a preference for defecating on soft texture (carpet) at some point. Try isolation retraining in a room that doesn't have carpet.

An explanation of isolation retraining can be found near the bottom of this page on cat litter box training. Scroll down to "Retraining... Can He Be Helped?"

I hope that helps.
-Kurt

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May 15, 2009
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Pooping on carpet
by: mary

We have 2 cats and 1 is 17 years old. Recently he began only pooping on the carpet near the pan, but always peeing in the pan.

Long story short, the vet found arthritis in his last vertebra and treated him with a cortisone shot. This seems to have helped a lot, but occasionally he does a repeat performance.

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Small hard stool next to bed, on carpet during the night

by Janet J
(Lansing, Il.)

My cat was born outside, part feral. He was brought inside and never had a problem using his box. Last summer he had the expensive and successful surgery for a blocked urinary tract. He has been fine since then.

The last few months, he will leave 1 small turd next to our bed. There are 2 outside cats we do care for, and have for years.

Is he mad at us? He gets much love and TLC. Help! He seems to like his outside friends.

My thoughts:

I'm sorry to hear that your cat is having trouble, Janet. Without a veterinary examination, it's difficult to say, but my first suspicion would be constipation.

Small, hard stool is often a sign of constipation. There are a number of possible causes for constipation and several of these may be at work here.

Constipation is often due to excess hair in the gut. Long haired cats are especially prone to this but this problem is not exclusive to longhairs.

It can also be due to a dry food diet, combined with the fact that many cats don't drink enough water.

Assuming it's constipation, there are treatments, but a diagnosis is required first. If he were my kitty, especially given his history of urinary tract problems, I would give the vet a call.

I hope that helps. Please let us know how he makes out.
-Kurt

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Jun 01, 2013
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Hard poop ...
by: Nadine

I'd call the vet for a definite diagnosis. Furballs, or a piece of yarn can cause problems in a cat's stomach. With your cats history, the vet can check with an exam. Good luck.

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My 14 year old cat poops on my carpet

by Stephanie Pyne
(Countryside)

My 14 year old cat has started to poop in the house, on the carpet. We have cleaned it up, stuck her nose in it, said nothing, stroked her. We have tried everything, but she persists. Vets visit has no physical ailment. Help!

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear that your cat is having problems. Punishment doesn't work, so I wouldn't attempt that.

There are two possibilties that immediately come to mind. One, your cat may have an undetected health problem, or two, something else isn't quite right, either in your cat's life, or with the box and/or litter.

Perhaps there is something going on the vet missed. How extensive was the exam and testing? Did the vet do a full blood panel? At age 14, your cat is increasingly at risk for diabetes, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism, to name just a few of the more common problems.

Some other possibilities are arthritis or intermittent constipation, either of which could cause your cat to associate pain with bowel movements.

Or, perhaps your cat is truly physically fine, and just saying, "There's something wrong with my box (or the litter)."

Has anything changed in this area? Has anything changed in any other area of your cat's life? Any changes in the house? Diet? Routines?

Are there animals outside the house that might be upsetting her?

Have you tried placing a litter box directly on top of the area where she's going on the carpet? Have you tried adding another litter box?

I hope that helps and please keep us updated,
-Kurt

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Cat has never used litter box

by Sandy
(Claremont, NC USA)

This female cat was a kitten I kept when my other cat had babies. I kept all the kittens. This is the only one who has never used the litter box.

She goes on the carpet. I have tried to train her. I thought instinct would tell her to go in the box, but never in her life has she. She's about 10 months old now.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having so much trouble. Most kittens start using the litter box after watching their mother or other cats, and they take to the box rather easily.

I'm not sure why, of course, but it seems as though your kitten developed either a surface texture preference for carpet, or a location preference, or both.

As always, we're assuming a health issue isn't getting in the way of using the box regularly, or in this case, at all.

I don't know how many cats you currently have, or how many litter boxes, but it might be advisable to add one more box and see if anything changes.

If she has a favorite spot or spots on the carpet she repeated uses, try placing the new litter box right on top of that spot and see if she goes for it.

You could add some Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract to the litter as well to see if that entices her.

In case this is stress related, you might try Feliway.

Have you tried placing a piece of carpet in a litter box to try to get her to go in there? You might be able to get her to go in a box that way, and then get her used to using litter from there.

You could also combine that idea with isolation retraining, confining her to a room or a large cage. Once she's using the box successfully, you could allow her access to the rest of the house and begin moving the box inch-by-inch to a new location.

Since this has gone on for a long time, it may be difficult to get her to change and she may be tempted to revert back if given the chance. You may have to start over a number of times.

I hope that helps and please keep us updated on her progress.
-Kurt

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Female cat is pooping all over carpet after two years

by Janet
(Blue Springs, MO)

After two years of faithfully using the cat box, our cat is now pooping all over the carpet. My story is that we had a 5-year-old cat. Then we added a second cat about two years ago.

The older cat is definitely the alpha and can be very territorial and grouchy. About a year ago we also got a new puppy. Now he is full grown.

About two months ago, our new cat started pooping upstairs and downstairs all over the carpet.

She may be a little more stressed since the dog gets much more of the attention, and the alpha cat has become a little more grouchy. She continually hisses, growls and literally goes after her, sometimes nipping at her.

The alpha cat has also taken her place on the blankets on our bed, so she is somewhat the third-party.

But why all of a sudden the pooping all over? It’s staining our new carpet and causing more stress on us than the cat. She sure doesn’t seem to get it!

I just came home from work and found another pile downstairs on our carpet. I feel so bad because I yelled at her for about 10 minutes, causing more stress on my health than her's.

They have a self-cleaning litter box that we keep very clean, and as I stated, she was faithful to use the cat box for a year and a half. What's up?!

We got this cat named Maggie Mae at a no-kill shelter here in Kansas City. I sure don’t want to have to return her. She is sweet and affectionate, and it would break my heart to have to return her.

Tears right now are streaming down my face. Does anybody have any hints or answers?

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having so much trouble. Cats hide their discomfort well, and unless you look for it, you can miss signs of stress.

I'm assuming, of course, that she's healthy and your vet can find no medical cause for her problem. If she's got bowel issues, it'll be nearly impossible to solve this with a behavioral approach.

That being said, I think Maggie Mae has a lot of stress to deal with. It's been building up all this time.

Let me restate some of the key points I took away from what you wrote above.

1. The dog is getting attention that would have been reserved for her.

2. She's being badgered by your other cat, the territorial grouch.

3. The grouch has stolen her spot on the bed, so she's probably feeling a bit like an outcast.

4. She only has one litter box, and she has to share it with her aggressor.

I suspect she's been holding it in all this time. Whatever signs she may have shown were missed, but it's finally reached a breaking point for her.

It's now impossible for you to miss the signs, because it's a pile of poop on your carpet.

Sometimes all it takes to make you poop on the carpet is for an aggressive housemate to stare you down while you're trying to use the box.

Some of our readers would say that pooping out in the open like that is a cry for help. She's pleading with you to make a change that will give her some relief. I don't go that far in attributing human qualities to cats, but the result is the same.

Your cat needs stress relief, and now you know it. Unfortunately, yelling at her doesn't help her and won't resolve the situation.

In fact it just creates more stress. As frustrating as the situation is, I'd avoid yelling if possible.

Instead, your cat needs options. She needs more attention, more exercise, more playtime, and a place where she can get away from the other animals and be alone when needed.

I would recommend adding another litter box to the house as well. If we follow the one-plus-one rule, a two-cat house should have three boxes.

You can often get away with fewer than that, even a single box, when all is well. But, when things go wrong, adding a box is often the answer. This is especially true if you have an aggressive cat in the house.

In addition, I would look to see why your other cat is so grouchy and being aggressive. When you place multiple people and multiple animals in a confined space, sometimes nice cats become not so nice. Sometimes cats that tend to be moody become even more moody and aggressive.

Your alpha cat also needs her own space, and possibly more attention and exercise as well. For both cats, I would look at attempting to calm everyone down with Feliway.

I'd also try "happy" activities, like treat time, feeding time, and playtime with the cats near each other but not necessarily too close. You don't want them to feel like they're competing and start a fight. If need be, use a divider, like a door, with one cat on each side.

In extreme cases, where two cats aren't getting along to the point where it's causing problems, sometimes separating them and slowly introducing them all over again can be helpful. I'm not sure you're at that point yet, but time will tell.

Please let us know how it works out with them.
-Kurt

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Jun 16, 2018
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Thanks!
by: Kurt (Admin)

Thanks, Jolie66. I try to think like a cat whenever possible. :)

Jun 16, 2018
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Great Solutions, Kurt!
by: Jolie66

I'm so glad you answered this, Kurt! All your ideas are cat-intuitive. Thank you for being so in tune with the feline species!!!!

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Cat poops on carpet

by Notmyrealname
(McHenry, IL, USA)

We have this cat named Layla. She's an adorable creature, but she often refuses to poop in her litter box. She knows she isn't supposed to do this, because she won't do it if we are watching her, and she always pees on her litter.

We clean the box constantly, and we've even picked her up and placed her in the box in the middle of a go. She keeps pooping outside the box. I don't get it, anybody have advice?

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. I've mentioned this a lot, but some cats develop a preference to pee in one box and poop in another. If that's the cause, adding an additional box often solves the problem.

Has she been checked by your vet with this problem in mind? Some readers have found that when their cats intermittently refuse to use the box, it's a reaction to a medical problem that flares up.

Does she have hard stools? Loose stools? Sometimes a bowel problem, like hard or loose stools, can throw a cat off the box. Hard stools can indicate constipation which can cause straining and pain, which in turn can cause cats to associate the litter box with pain.

Did anything change right before this started? Any additions or removals of family members? Any changes in routines? How about a change in diet? Are the litter box and the food bowl in the same locations they always were?

Readers have noted that sometimes seemingly subtle changes to us can mean big changes for their cats.

These issues tend to be harder to solve if they go on for a long time. If nothing rings a bell, you might want to try isolation retraining to see if that helps get her back on track.

I hope that helps and please let us know how it goes with her.
-Kurt

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