Elderly cat misses the litter box

by Mia

My 15-year-old female cat will put her head into the box and pee or poo outside, and then walk through the box to the other side and pee or poo (vice-versa). This is a routine for her and it happens daily.

She is obese and has arthritis in her legs, but she can step into the box with no problem. She just seems to choose to go outside the box.

I have tried different litters and different boxes. I take her outside and she will go pee and poo outside sometimes.

She gets some exercise walking around and has her routine of walking to the water dish and then going to pee outside the box. I am completely stumped on how to fix this issue.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having trouble. As litter box problems go, her behavior is odd. If she hasn't had blood work and an exam done recently, she's at that age where ailments can throw things out of whack.

Moving on to the behavioral side of things...

Does she only have one litter box? If so, I would suggest adding a second box.

Given her weight and her arthritis issues, I would test out a low-sided box. It may appeal to her more.

It occurs to me that some overweight cats have trouble cleaning themselves. It's possible she may not like squatting in the box due to that. It may be difficult to get an older cat to lose weight, but maybe you could help her work on that.

Please let us know how she makes out.

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Sep 10, 2018
similar problem
by: Betty

I have a large -18 lb. cat who also has a hip problem. She uses her litter box but does not always get all the way in it and some waste gets outside the box. I put puppy pads under the box to catch the overflow and sometimes she uses them instead. This does not solve the problem but makes clean up easy since I just have to change the pads.

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