My cat poops and pees on carpet

by Sheila
(Tinley Park , IL USA)

My 9 yr. old female cat has recently started peeing and pooping on the carpet in my dining room instead of using the litter box. I don't know what to do to get her to start using the litter box again. I keep it as clean as I can with 2 cats. Help!!!

My Thoughts:

Cats can develop a preference for texture and/or location at any time. Two of the most common causes of inappropriate elimination are stress and unresolved medical conditions. Either of these factors can cause your cat to stop using the litter box.

When a cat suddenly stops using the box completely, we want to look at either a stress trigger, or a medical problem. If it's a medical problem, then nothing will change until that problem is addressed by your veterinarian.

For the stress trigger, it can be anything from a disagreement with another animal in the house, to a neighborhood cat that is marking and scenting outside, to disturbing noises.

Cats are sensitive creatures. I've mentioned this on here before but one of my readers couldn't solve her litter box problem with one of her cats until after she found out that her son was punishing the cat with a squirt bottle. This was a form of punishment that this particular cat did not respond to. Once that stressor was gone, so was the box problem.

So, what changed in your cat's life in the last 6 months leading up to the start of the problem? A move, new furniture,
house remodeling, people moving in, people moving out, pets coming in, pets going out, and so on.

Did someone in the house change schedules? Sometimes a change in the routine of the humans in the house can mess a cat's own schedule up. Too much noise at the wrong time, coming and going, loss of companionship at certain times, and so on.

With 2 cats, you should technically have 3 cat boxes. I realize that this is not something that people are always willing to do, but increasing the number of boxes may solve the problem. This is especially true if the problem started due to a dispute with another cat in the house.

No matter what, you've got to clean the area that she's been using thoroughly, preferably with an enzymatic cleaner that gets rid of the source of the odor. If not, her instincts will bring her back to the spot over and over.

If you can, block the area off. If you can't, lay something down on top of it after cleaning so she can't go there again. Make the box more attractive if you can (you can try Cat Attract). Make sure you're using the same litter from before the time that the problem started, and the box is in the same location, nothing blocking it, etc.

In extreme cases, isolation retraining may solve the problem.

I hope that helps. Good luck with her and let us know what's happening with this,


If anyone else has a specific suggestion, let's hear it!

Comments for My cat poops and pees on carpet

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Mar 16, 2015
by: Beshamin

Just a free Tip. The best thing you can do to make that not happen again is by removing the carpet for a while. That way he would never do that again. Try this, it might actually work for some of them.

Jun 02, 2011
Separate them
by: Kurt (Admin)

@Anonymous with the 6 year old cat,

I'm sorry to hear that your cat is having problems. Any change in the household or in your cat's life can certainly cause litter box problems to start up. But, the first step is to rule out a medical condition. Once that's done, we assume it's behavioral.

So, let's assume that it's due to your daughter starting to infringe on your cat's space. I'm told that when I was a baby, my dog didn't like it when I started crawling either. That was his space.

You have to be committed to fixing the problem. You have two children here, and one of them just happens to be covered in fur. She's in distress. You can relieve her pain. I'd like to see you commit to making that happen.

My suggestion would be to separate them and allow supervised meetings and slowly integrate them, just as you would when introducing two cats or a cat and a dog. Rub your daughter's scent all over everything at cat's nose level.

What I have found is that in many houses, the cat is not given enough stimulation and praise. There are no pieces of climbing furniture, or not enough toys or interactive playtime. Or the cat has no area to call her own, no good hiding spots. I don't know if any of that is lacking in your home, but you have to cater to your cat's needs in these ways.

Be sure to give your cat plenty of love and attention during this time.

In addition to the above, you can try Feliway to see if that reduces your cat's stress level. It has been known to work. Cat Attract litter may help as well.

I hope that helps. Please let us know how everybody gets on.

Jun 01, 2011
Help needed for similar problem
by: Anonymous

My 6 year old cat is doing the same thing. My 10 month old daughter started crawling. I guess this might be stressful for the cat. I don't know what else I can do. I can't keep the cat if she keeps doing this. Does anyone know of what I can do next? I am at the point where I am contemplating getting rid of the cat. I can't have my infant daughter crawling on the same carpet.

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