Cat poops on litter mat instead of in box

by S.B.
(New York)

My cat all of a sudden started pooping right outside the box on the litter box mat. He is 10 years old and has never had any problems with the litter box before.

He has been doing this now every night for the past month. I added a second box, and I clean both daily, but the problem still persists.

Nothing has changed in our life or routine, so it seems to have no cause we can find. Thanks for any help you can provide.

My Thoughts:

Have you seen him do this? Does he actually squat and make an effort to go right on the mat?

I ask that because Frankie is a medium-long haired cat, and she will leave "presents" for you in various places.

What happens to her is that her hair is so long that it wraps around her bowel movement and even though she used the box, some of it remains attached. At some point, it comes loose.

If you've actually seen him purposely do this, then there is obviously some sort of litter box problem going on. If he's urinating in the box, and he doesn't seem to have a mobility problem otherwise, then I'm guessing it has nothing to do with that.

It may, however, have to do with some sort of constipation issue, impacted anal glands, or other health problem.

Some cats with constipation will visit the box many times within a short period of time, swish around a bit, and then leave the box. Teddie does this when she's constipated. So if you see this behavior, it could be that.

She usually has resolved this issue on her own, but sometimes she needs a little lactulose to help her out. You might want to read up on feline constipation a bit.

Also, some cats will poop outside the box as a marking behavior. This could be triggered by almost anything, including a cat outside the house that you've never seen but is bothering your cat.

You've already gone to 2 boxes, so that's not it, and you're cleaning regularly, so that's good. I'm assuming when you say that nothing has changed that you've covered all the bases there.

I would of course, suggest that you make a call to the vet. If it's a physical problem, you can't fix it by guessing. If it's impacted anal glands or constipation, there is a course of treatment.

I hope that helps some and good luck with this,

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