Cat pooping outside litter box for 2 months

by Candy
(Ocala, Florida)

About 2 months ago my cat started pooping outside his litter box yet he uses the litter box to urinate. This problem is driving me crazy.

I keep his litter box clean at all times. I love my cat but I cannot put up with this very much longer.

Please, I need some advice on how to conquer this problem.

My thoughts:

I'm sorry to hear that your cat is having problems, Candy. The longer these problems go on, the harder they can be to solve, so I would take steps right away to fix it.

Sometimes when a cat has trouble with defecation but not urination, it's either a physical issue, or a preference issue.

When was the last time he had a check up, and has the vet been consulted about his current problem? If he has a physical problem, we can't solve anything until that's patched up.

Here are some ideas:


Does he seem to suffer from constipation? Constipation (intermittent or chronic) is very common in cats. Your vet can prescribe some remedies, or you can try other ideas, such as adding un-spiced canned pumpkin to his food. You can read more about constipation in cats here.

Location preference

Has he developed a location preference? Does he go in the same spot every time? Or, does he have several favorite spots?

Step 1) Clean up all traces of the "mess" and use an enzyme based cleaner. If he can smell it, he'll return to the scene of the crime.

Step 2) Place a new litter box, with his favorite litter, right on top of the spot where he goes.

The box

Is the box hooded? Try removing the hood or cover. While some cats seem to prefer the privacy of a covered litter box, others don't like it and it traps in the smells.

He may have decided that it's OK for peeing, but not so great
for pooping.

Also, plastic boxes can absorb odors and even though you clean it often, it may be time for a new box.

Multiple box preference

Sometimes simply adding another litter box, filled with the litter he usually likes, in a spot he appreciates, can solve the problem. Some cats like to urinating in one box and poop in another.

Isolation / confinement retraining

The old stand-by. When all else fails, confine him to an area and keep him there until he's back on track. I've written about this a number of times here, and this Petfinder page is must reading, but here is a very specific litter box retraining plan.

More thoughts

Did anything change in his life (or yours) just before this started? Is he stressed?

I recommend you also read through the top reasons cats don't use the box.

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

P.S. I could be wrong, but you seem to hint here... "I love my cat but I cannot put up with this very much longer" that you might need to give him up if you can't solve the problem.

I hope that if it comes to that, that you'll rehome him. Bringing a cat with a litter box problem to a shelter can be a death sentence.

I would urge you to work with him, though, and not give up on him, just like you would work with a human child who had similar problems.

If you do finally decide that you can't care for him any longer, please come back here and leave a comment so that we can spread the word and try to get him rehomed.

If you take him to a shelter, and it is not a no-kill facility (you need to be certain as most facilities don't broadcast how many animals they destroy), he may not last. I would hate to see that happen.

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Oct 11, 2012
I have a similar problem
by: Kim

Candy, I'm sorry your kitty is having litter box problems. I have a female 12 yr old cat that poops outside the box also.

She started doing it a few years ago and the vet discovered she had plugged up anal glands, and after expressing them, she went back to using the box. But it happened again, and eventually she seemed to start doing it to "punish" me when I don't give her her "required" amount of attention!

So now I just live with it. She does it once or twice a week, and I just clean it up and don't stress over it.

The vet can find no other reason that she does it, so I'm pretty sure it's simply a behavioral issue. I hope you find a solution and can keep your cat!

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