My kitten poops and pees on countertops and anything off the ground

by Claire
(Florida, USA)

Do I see a fishy in the pool?

Do I see a fishy in the pool?

The kitten was from a mommy that stays outdoors. I took kitty when he was weaned from mom and kept him in the bathroom until he was comfortable.

He did his business in the shower using shreaded paper, then I gave him a litter box with paper around it, he finally went in the litter box.

Then one day after I cleaned it out, I found poop on the counter top and then pee. This is now going on for weeks and not using the litter box.

I put the litter box on top of the counter and now he pees and poops in the box, misses the box a lot, but at least its half in the box. He also peed and pooped on my computer table and sewing table. I have to keep him in the bathroom because I do not trust him and my husband will definitely get rid of him. He's about 5 months old. What gives?????

My Thoughts:

Yuck, what a mess! If he's back in the bathroom, make sure the litter box is in there so there are no mixed signals. You have to send the message "use the box."

I'll give my usual advice on making sure there are no physical problems. If your cat has a medical condition (anything from a urinary tract infection to kidney disease is possible), you'll never fix the inappropriate elimination without visiting the veterinarian. Some people don't realize that a lot of medical conditions can lead to cat box problems.

Once your cat gets off track (e.g. not peeing in the box due to an infection), then the problem can take on a life of its own and pee and poop are everywhere, even after the infection is gone.

Whatever the cause (medical, stress, territorial issues, and so on), it sounds like he's developed a preference for texture (hard surfaces), and location (higher than ground level).

The hard surface preference may have been learned when he was using the paper in the shower. It's best to be consistent and start kittens off with kitten-sized litter boxes and litter.

Many cats like high places, but I haven't found anything useful in the literature (online or offline) specifically about cats wanting to urinate and defecate up high. But, we can apply the usual rules here.

We try to remove the source of the problem (fix the infections, reduce the stress, resolve any disputes with other pets, give personal space to your cat, lots of attention, praise good behavior and ignore bad behavior, and so on). At the same time, we make the areas he's been using less attractive, try to make the litter box more attractive, and do a little isolation retraining.

If we give him what he wants, he might do what we want him to do. So, let's:

1. Make the areas he's been using less attractive.

Clean the areas thoroughly. Enzymatic cleaners and white vinegar and water are good choices to keep your cat from being attracted to residual smells.

Sheets of cardboard covered on one side with double sided tape or aluminum foil can be placed face up on counters, tables, window sills, and so on. You can also get an X-Mat, or place citrus peels (lemon especially) in bowls to keep kitty out of the area.

2. Start with a squeaky clean litter box and fresh litter. Was he using litter before you got him? Changing to paper in the shower may have confused him a bit.

Since he was used
to paper, and then litter/paper combo, I would maybe be tempted to go back to a litter/paper combo for a bit.

3. Restrict his territory (you're already doing this by keeping him in the bathroom).

If he's behaving in the bathroom (with the litter box in there, not going in the shower -- no mixed signals -- use the box kitty cat!), then choose a room, preferably with lots of light. Make sure the room has toys, a comfortable sleeping area, and food and water bowls (not near the litter box).

If this room is off the bathroom, leave the litter box right where it is. If not, then you'll have to move it to the new room where he is.

Since he seems to like doing his business up high and on a hard surface, you may have to accommodate that. The bathroom probably has a hard floor (certainly the shower does, which as I said may explain his hard surface preference). If he's behaving in the bathroom, then the hard floor might be one reason why.

Some cats don't like it if the litter box is not very sturdy. Cheaper boxes that flex too much or placing the box on carpet or other soft surface can be a problem. In these cases, you need to find a solid surface on which to place a sturdy box.

For carpeted floors, for example, you can place a slab of tile or piece of wood down and put the box on top.

Since he also seems to like it up high, you have two choices. You can try it on a hard floor, or you can set up a table and put it up on there. See how it goes.

Keep him restricted to that room for a few days and see how he does.

4. Expand his territory a little bit at a time and see how he does.

If there are no mishaps in that room, then you can expand his territory. I would keep the litter box right where it is, and place a second box in a new location as you expand his territory. Place it on a hard surface on the floor. See if he uses the new box. If he doesn't, then you may have to find a way to raise it up.

Let him use both boxes and monitor his progress. At some point in the future, you may be able to move the first box, but be prepared to move it back if needed and start again.

5. Give him lots of attention and reduce his stress level as much as possible.

6. Praise him heavily when he uses the box so that it becomes clear to him that the box is the place to go.

Additional thoughts:

If at any time during the process, he has a setback, roll back to the previous step.

Feliway has been known to help calm cats, reduce stress levels, and reduce litter box problems. The diffuser will release the scent into the air (humans can't smell it) regularly.

Cats that have been outside sometimes get used to doing their business in the grass, and may retain a strong desire to do their business outside. Sometimes placing some grass and soil in the litter box can help to encourage cats to go in the box.

You can buy Cat Attract, which sometimes gets cats to go in the box.

Neutered males/spayed females tend to have fewer behavioral issues, including litter box problems.

Does that help?


Comments for My kitten poops and pees on countertops and anything off the ground

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 07, 2011
cat pee
by: Anonymous

Papaya my cat pees only on a counter top... she has been med checked and she is ok... now what?

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Cat Litter Box Problem Issues and Solutions.