My 6 month old cat defecates on the leather sofa

by Dee
(Frisco, TX, US)

My 6 month old kitten occasionally likes to defecate on my leather sofa. Most of the time she uses her litter box.

I am using the Breeze system and pellets instead of clay litter because of the awful tracking of litter. We've been using the Breeze system for 3 months and only two weeks ago did kittie decide she liked the sofa.

What can I use to deter her from using this alternate spot as her bathroom?

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear that your kitty is having problems. Her litter box should be more attractive to her than a leather sofa, so let's explore what might be wrong.

Intermittent problems like this can sometimes be triggered by:

A medical condition.
Stress (with various causes).
If your cat deems the condition of the box or litter unacceptable at the time she needs to use it.

Medical problems may include urinary tract or kidney problems (this is obviously counter intuitive, since the problem presents as a defecation issue), bowel problems, including constipation, worms or other parasites, irritable bowel, and viral or bacterial infections.

Anxiety inducing stress may come from almost any source, including a change in routine or schedules, number of household members, lack of exercise or attention, and interaction with other pets.

To help reduce stress, increase exercise levels, increase the amount of attention she gets, but don't force things if your cat wants to be alone. Keep routines rock solid and don't make any major changes in the house.

You can also try products such as Bach's Rescue Remedy and Feliway to help reduce stress.

Some cats develop a preference for using one box for defecating and the other for urinating. Other cats just don't like a dirty
box (dirty in a cat's opinion) and need it to be cleaned more often.

We've seen this type of behavior in many cats and some cats will even complain until the box is cleaned, then happily use it. Many people might call it picky or snobbish, but keep in mind that in the wild, a cat would never restrict their bathroom habits to one tiny area.

To a cat, going to the bathroom is a big deal, and involves more than just elimination. There are scent and territorial implications to signal other cats, balanced against a potentially dangerous signal to predators. A cat's nose is working overtime to make sure everything is just right.

For most cats, it's important for them to cover up their droppings, and one reason why so many cats spend extra time in the box sniffing and swishing the litter. If the litter isn't just so, this can trigger a cat to reject the box.

I get that you don't like the litter being tracked around the house and I don't either, but one way to test if the problem is related to the box or the litter would be to add another box to the house, preferably the same kind of box and litter that was used before the problems started.

Assuming it's not a medical condition, working through the above should help to get your cat back on track. In the meantime, you might want to cover your sofa with plastic for easy clean up, and you could try any number of deterrents to keep her off the couch when you're not using it (double-sided tape, citrus, and so on).

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

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Oct 27, 2016
Leather smell
by: Carlene

Maybe it's something to do with the smell of the leather that makes the 6 month old baby defecate on it. Sometimes leather has certain smell to it and that's what gives the little baby kitten the urge to defecate on the leather sofa.

Mar 27, 2018
Possible Solution?
by: Jaimee

Hi there! I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with this - it seems to be a common issue. We've certainly dealt with it before, having two cats in the house.

Some of our problems and solutions were: not enough litter boxes (this was explained also in another answer) but I think what really drove our cats to use the sofa (or our bath mat was another place they liked to go) was that the litter was in a high traffic area. It was right in front of our bathroom sink and we were always going in and out - and I can tell my cats hated that. That could also be a problem?
I hope you find a solution - poor sofa!

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