Rescue cat poops in front of litter tray

by Al

My rescue centre warned me that Ron always pooped on the floor at the window of his pod and so may not use the litter tray when I got him home. He does wee in the tray.

Sure enough, when we got him home, Ron spent a long time scraping at my hardwood floor next to the litter tray and then pooped on the floor next to his tray. This was followed up by scratching the floor again as if there was 'ghost cat litter'!

He is very nervy - I am pretty sure it is stress related. He had access to the outside at the rescue centre but he never chose to go out - basically he spent 2 months confined to his small pod (room for a bed, bowl and litter tray).

He was rescued from a home with multiple cats - neglected. I wonder whether the cats just pooped wherever they wanted and that is what he is used to?

Any ideas as to how to go about retraining him? I am interested in whether Feliway works and would like to know how to administer Rescue remedy.

Any help gratefully received!


My thoughts: Thank you for adopting him, especially since you knew beforehand he might have a problem.

Scraping the floor is a fairly common behavior, and a number of my cats have done this over the years. Jazzy does it to his food, presumably to try to save it for later.

When a cat poops near the litter box, as opposed to say, another part of the house, this can sometimes be an indication that there is something about the box that does not seem right to the cat.

At this point, he may be doing it out of habit, and it's just a matter of breaking that habit, but you'll need to think hard about how to make the box better for him.

Another possibility for cats defecating near the box is a gastrointestinal disorder, such as an infection or parasite infestation, or a holdover from pain experienced during straining due to constipation.

Are his stools loose or exceptionally hard? This can be another indication he
may have a storm brewing inside him.

I've seen this problem due to nothing more than a really bad hairball. Hairballs can be very serious and require surgery in some cases, and I mention this because I run into people all the time who don't realize just how much a hairball can affect a cat.

We know that some cats like to poop in one box and pee in another, so adding a box is never a bad idea. Other cats are so picky, they won't use a box unless it is cleaned after each use.

Keep in mind that cats can develop surface preferences. He may prefer a hard, flat surface to defecate on. This is said to be somewhat common in longer-haired kitties, but could happen with any cat. In some cases, the cat will move all the litter to one side of the box, poop on the flat floor of the box, and then cover up when done.

One solution with a cat like that is to provide a box just for defecation, with less litter than normal, mostly pushed to one side of the box.

If his problem is strictly stress and nothing medical, the first thing I'd do is increase mental and physical stimulation with toys, cat trees (tall ones), hiding places, more affection and attention, and scheduled playtime to burn off any anxiety or excess nervous energy.

You can get a Feliway diffuser or two and place them where he frequents. I've had mixed reports of success with Feliway from readers for cats with anxiety or stress related behavior problems.

If he responds to catnip, I would get some and give it to him a couple of times a day, and You can add a couple of drops of Bach's Rescue Remedy to his water daily. Jackson Galaxy also has some herbal products you could try.

With proper nurturing and the combination of some of these things, it could be just a matter of time before he decompresses enough. It can take a cat up to six months to get fully used to a new environment.

I hope that helps. Please let us know how things turn out.

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Jan 12, 2017
My Rescue cat poos there too!
by: Anonymous

I've had Ginji for almost two weeks now, and we have come to a compromise on where she eliminates. She says floor/I say box (pleeeease dear lord. Please). I deduced that she likes the floor because it's flat, always clean and doesn't get stuck in her mid-to-long bum fur. She now has 2, only lightly fragrance-d litter boxes (by mixing all natural clay clump with some arm&hammer) filled-up to one inch, in two locations, cleaned twice daily. This arrangement has almost fixed the problem in that she pees in the box consistently, and poos there mostly. By that I mean, most of the poo, most of the time. I have seen her run out of the box after using it, with part of a poo falling onto the floor when she sprints down the hallway.
So now the question is: in/on which part of her bum (inside or furside) is the tardy turd sticking?

Dec 12, 2016
My little girl likes tile floors to poopy on
by: Anonymous

I have the same issue.My little Cleo has three clean litter boxes. She will pee in them, but likes to go poopy on our tile floor. Usually near a box. Not always though. She, once in a blue moon, will go in the box. Feels like Christmas! Never goes on the carpet. In fact, if we put a piece of carpet to catch the litter in front of her box, she won't pee in the box. Or she jumps really fax to avoid the carpet. Yet she will walk on the carpet & lay on it. Her feces are hard, but she does not cry out when she goes. So not sure what to think of this. I have added water to her food to see if that helps.
I have changed litter box types, gradually tried to change litter, etc. to no avail. It is frustrating, but at least she is not peeing everywhere. We have had her five months and she was a stray. Thoughts?

Sep 01, 2016
Glad he's being social
by: Kurt (Admin)

I'm glad to hear that Ron is settling in a bit. Giving him choices for the litter box is a great idea. I will say that some cats do not like pellet-type litter, but if he's got a clay box near it, it doesn't sound like that's the issue.

You might try placing a litter box right on top of the area where he poops on the floor, if that's possible, and see if he uses it or if he changes his behavior.

Aug 20, 2016
by: Al

Ron is making great progress with socialising with me- he sat on my lap twice today and he was lounging around in a relaxed way. He has been with us a week and we are keeping him in our lounge. He is very active in the evenings and he gets lots of play time. To answer your questions- I have been changing the wood pellet litter tray daily so I don't think it's a cleanliness problem! He also has an empty tray, compost tray and clay litter box. He has 4 box options but the floor is still favourite. His faeces are soft and very smelly but not diarrhoea. I will try putting a small amount of litter up one end of the empty tray - I will try anything! Thanks for your support

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