why does my cat poop outside of the litter box
Your cat may diligently urinate in the box but what do you do if she decides sheâd rather leave her solid deposits somewhere else? It can be very confusing for a cat parent when the cat faithfully uses the box for one function but refuses to use it for the other. Even if youâre absolutely certain that the problem is behavioral, you need to have your cat examined by the veterinarian to make sure there isnât an underlying
problem. There are a number of medical issues that could be causing your cat to feel uncomfortable about pooping in the box. If she experiences constipation, for example, she may associate the box with her discomfort and attempt to go somewhere else. If your cat is older and has arthritis, it may be difficult for her to perch on the litter substrate in order to eliminate solids. If you have a covered litter box, she may feel cramped in there while perching in position to poop. There are a number of intestinal problems (inflammatory bowel disease for example) that commonly result in cats defecating outside of the box. The cat may experience cramping and the discomfort causes her to try to eliminate wherever she is at the time. She may also become so uncomfortable that she canât make it to the box. When you take your cat to the veterinarian, try to bring along a sample of her stool so the veterinarian can run some tests and also examine the appearance (for signs of blood, mucous, hair, etc). If you re unable to bring a fresh sample, the veterinarian will be able to get one but it s much more comfortable for your cat if you can bring one along. Just make sure it hasn t been sitting in the little box too long. You can also take the sample, seal it tightly in a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator although for many people this is an unacceptable option. Keep in mind that the veterinarian doesn t need a huge sample. He/she needs just enough to do some testing and also to be able to examine the consistency of the stool. Donât overlook the very important first step of visiting the veterinarian if your cat is pooping outside of the box. I have lived with a cat who had inflammatory bowel disease and know how much pain he mustâve felt when his intestines starting cramping. I also have a number of clients who have cats with intestinal problems. Getting your cat diagnosed and on appropriate medication (and in some cases, prescription formula food) as soon as possible will be most important. There are some cats who donât like to defecate in the same area used for urination. For some cats it may be that urination has more territorial connection or it may just be a quirky feline instinct. Regardless, a simple solution you can offer is to make another box available for defecation. Donât place the box right next to the original box or itâll just be regarded as one big box and your cat will still not poop in it. In many cases you can put the in the same room (depending on the size of the room), but in other cases, youâll have to locate the second box elsewhere.
Your cat will certainly let you know when the location pleases her. It typically takes a cat a bit longer to defecate than urinate. In a multicat household where there is even the smallest amount of tension, it may be too for a cat to hang out in the litter box long enough to poop. If the box is covered, wedged in a corner or hidden in a closet, this truly reduces the catâs potential. She may feel itâs to poop in another location that allows her to have a better view in case an opponent is coming. The location she chooses may also give her a better opportunity to get out of there more safely. The solution in this case may be to provide uncovered boxes and to make sure there are enough boxes located through the house. Don t place them in hidden, cramped areas that may cause your cat to feel trapped or confined. In many cases, all you ll have to do is remove the lid from the box. Covered boxes are often to small and low for a cat to feel she can comfortably perch on the litter for defecation. They also limit the cat s escape to just one way in and out. Should another cat come by, the one who is in the litter box can be vulnerable to an ambush. Some cats, for whatever reason only they seem to know, have a substrate when it comes to the feel of the litter for defecation versus urination. Perhaps it has something to do with the amount of time they spend in that perching position for pooping. If you think that might be the case, offer another litter box with a litter that has a different texture. In general, cats prefer a soft, sandy texture when it comes to the litter substrate. A cat may decide that the box is too dirty if there is any waste already in there. She may urinate but then feel itâs now not clean enough for her to then use for defecation. Understandably, you canât stand over the box 24 hours a day with a litter scoop in your hand in order to remove waste the nanosecond it touches the litter. Just make sure youâre scooping at least twice a day and have more than one litter box so there will be a greater chance that kitty can find a clean patch of litter for defecation. Want More Information? Your veterinarian should be your first stop whenever there is any kind of litter box problem. Have your cat examined and if she gets a clean bill of health, talk with your veterinarian about your specific litter box set-up. If youâd like more specific information on litter box issues, refer to any of Pamâs books including. Note: This article is not intended as a medical diagnosis. Consult your veterinarian about any changes in your catâs litter box habits. Observe the cat and notice if he is straining to go and/or crying out. He may claw out a space in a potted plant, choosing clean dirt over a soiled litter box. Or he may squat on your carpet or floor because he associates the sensation of digging in litter with uncomfortable elimination.
If you confine him to a closed room with a clean litter box and he ignores it, he may have no control over his actions. This signals that illness, not behavior, is the culprit. The cat is in pain, and your vet needs to determine why. A thorough checkup will reveal whether Kitty has a urinary tract infection, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, arthritis, kidney, liver or thyroid malfunction or other illnesses that may affect his litter box habits. If illness, minor or serious, is the cause, medication or treatment should relieve his pain and distress. Whatever has pushed your cat out of the box, getting him back on track will take patience. If anxiety created the problem, set up a quiet retreat for the cat to do his business in a room or area with minimal household traffic. Provide a large-enough litter box -- or two -- with the kind of litter your cat prefers, and change it frequently, even several times a day if necessary. You may decide to confine him for a few days to establish a new, calmer routine. Inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, diarrhea or urinary tract infections will abate with medication or treatment, so if one of these caused your cat's problem, he should return to using his litter box as his discomfort eases. Longer-term conditions, such as arthritis or kidney problems, may mean making adjustments: Be sure the cat's box is low enough for him to get into comfortably, and offer more than one box to accommodate more frequent usage. Always keep the litter boxes clean by washing and disinfecting them weekly and quickly removing soiled litter. 10 Litter Box Tips, Part 1 By September 27, 2014 Jackson took the time to write about the issues that cats and people have with litter boxes. á He has a lot of valuable stuff to share! Hisá 10 Tips on Litter Boxes will be split into two separate blog posts. á Here s Part 1. In my experience of visiting the homes of frustrated, had-it-up-to-here cat guardians over the past 15 years, I can tell you that there are there are actually two ends to the problem, so to speak; your catÁs problem, and your problem. Your cat can be experiencing physical dis-ease which makes the litter box a decidedly unfriendly place. He or she could also be reacting to environmental stress/anxiety, which can include problems with other cats or dogs, children, feral cats outside threatening their territorial security, etc. Of course IÁm painting the problem with a large brush, but you get the idea. Then thereÁs your problem. You hate pee and poop around the house, naturally; but you also hate litter boxes. You canÁt stand the idea of multiple boxes, donÁt want to look at them in your main living space, resent the constant scooping and, perhaps, you just donÁt want to be reminded that your animal companions are actually praised for relieving themselves in the most sanctified of places, your home. With this in mind, the following tips are just that tips.
There is a deeper commitment to actually sharing space, that must happen before problems are solved. Remember, if your catÁs litter box habits arenÁt exactly stellar, he is raising a red flag, trying to tell you that all is definitely not right in his world. And itÁs your job, as the human who loves him, to make things right. Put on your cat detective hat and letÁs think outside the box (and wish for inside)! 1. One box per cat +1 Yes, the formula works. At the very least it gets you thinking outside of your comfort zone in regards to your relationship with litter boxes. If you have 3 cats, itÁs just not fair to ask them to share one box and yes, I mean even if youÁre not experiencing any problems. Think of gang warfare, with members of both sides tagging the same wall with graffiti over and over. Cats often will compete for the important territorial resources in much the same way. 2. Detective work begins with a vet visit If your cat has suddenly stopped using the litter box ALWAYS rule out physical problems first. Avoidance of the box often begins with the feeling that, Áevery time I go to that place, it hurts me! Á One way to tell if your cat is experiencing this unpleasant feeling is to notice what they do after they eliminate. Do they stay in the box, taking care of business by burying their waste, for instance? Or do they finish and RUN out of the box? In my experience the after-litter dash is a sign that they are running away from what made them painful. 3. Location, location, location The box must be located where it works best for the cat, not you. Compromise is a key ingredient in any human/cat relationship and this is where the rubber hits the road in that regard. The hands-down best place for a litter box is in an area that is socially significant to the cats. Sometimes that coincides with human areas of social significance. Think about the lesser of two evils. ItÁs either a litter box where you donÁt want it, or pee where you definitely donÁt want it. 4. The smell of the litter It s so important to cater to what your cat is attracted to, and, likewise what they are repelled by. A safe bet is avoiding perfume-y, dusty litter. If it offends your nose when pouring it in the box, then think about the fact you have 5 million scent receptors while your cat has 200 million. What is annoying to you can be a source of avoidance for them. á Fortunately, there are natural litters (such as one of my favorites,á World s Best Cat Litter )á where odor control is done naturally! 5. The feel of the litter Likewise to the point about litter scent, different cats prefer different textures of substrate. Some cats (and especially those who have been declawed) can be very sensitive to the pointed nature of some crystal or pellet litters, or even just the jagged feel of many clay litters. When in doubt, go as soft as you can. Click here to readá with Tips 6 10.
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