My Cat is Pooping Outside the Litter Box: 5 Superb Solutions

By Davis Wilkins •  Updated: 11/28/22 •  10 min read

Is your cat suddenly pooping outside the litter box?

It might have been easy to tolerate your cat when she used her pee to make invisible spray pints aimed at leaving the “I was here” silent messages. However, tolerating misplaced cat poop is a whole other thing.

Don’t worry we are here to help. The solution is right before you and you will get the know-how that will help you solve this problem like a real pro!

Cat owners complain about house soiling as one of the key problems they are forced to endure with when dealing with their beloved pets.

Nonetheless, the solution to your cat’s problem greatly depends on the causes underlying the behavior.

Your veterinarian officer should examine her and rule out any medical issues.

Factors why your cats poop outside the litter box

What does it mean when a cat poops outside the litter box?

1.    The litter box could be small:

The conventional thumb rule is to ensure that your kitten’s litter box is at least one-and-a-half times its body length.

 If your cat is pooping outside the litter box, your cat is likely feeling uncomfortable when sitting on the litter box especially if she recently gained some weight or has fallen victim to a growth spurt.

Similarly, there’s a chance that the kitty’s litter box is shallow or inadequately filled to satisfy her when digging to bury her poop.

2.    The litter box location is difficult to access:

Most of the seniors and aged cats will poop outside the litter box because of its location.

If your senior cat is pooping outside the litter box, she may be suffering from arthritis and joint pains.  Be sure to provide your older cats with litter boxes that they can access with ease.

Kittens may be struggling with accessing the litter box in some rooms. Consider moving the litter box if it’s located in a high-traffic area, near the door, or in a location with a lot of noise.

3.    The cat box is smelly and unhygienic:

Is the litter box clean? If not, this is a problem and your cat won’t poop in the litter box anymore.

Cats are clean animals and they like their poop litter boxes kept clean.

Your cat may turn up her nose if her conditions, particularly the smell, don’t meet her standards. She may result to use your carpet to relieve herself.

You must ensure that the litter box is kept nice and clean otherwise your cat won’t poop in the litter box.

4.    Territorial Dominance:

Do you have a multi-cat household?

If your cat is pooping outside the litter box, there’s a likelihood the cat box has become a bullying field.

Your resident cats will develop behavioral issues when a new cat is introduced to the household.

Cat bullying is stressful and she will then be forced to use alternative places to poop…even on the carpet.

5.    Litter boxes Insufficiency:

Are your cats outnumbering the litter boxes? This can trigger your many cats to look for alternative places to relieve themselves.

Your home could be suffering from an insufficiency in the number of litter boxes. This explains why your cat poops on the floor.

The rule of thumb is one litter box for each kitty plus one extra box.

The litter boxes need to be placed in areas that are easily accessible with at least one per floor if your house is multilayered.

stinking litter box with cat standing on the side

6.    Your cat could be facing medical issues:

You probably misinterpreted your feline’s new house soiling behavior with some sort of attitudinal change! Well, you could be wrong.

Why do cats poop out of their litter box? Medical problems are one of the reasons why you may need to call in your vet. They compromise your cats’ health.

Medical conditions such as constipation and diarrhea in cats cause kitties to do their bathroom activities outside their litter boxes.

These conditions make the urge to use the bathroom so sudden and extremely overwhelming that a kitty could be confused between running to the litter box and responding to the immediate call of nature.

She may not reach the litter box within the prescribed timeframe and result in pooping outside the litter tray.

An elderly cat that suddenly chooses to poop outside the litter box could be suffering from either of these medical conditions:

7.      Did you adopt a new cat?

Why does my cat poop on the floor all of a sudden?

A new kitty could take weeks or even months before adapting to the routine in your home. Cats don’t just reveal their full personalities to anyone.

 The new cat may take time to feel comfortable and adjust to the new conditions. There’s a tendency that the new cat is a bit uncertain in sharing the litter box with the conventional boss.  

How to Stop a Cat from Pooping Outside the Litter Box

It could be an uphill task to break the trait once pooping outside the litter box has started. However, these will ensure that the poor habit is broken.

However, you must rule out any underlying medical condition first before applying these methods.

1.    Clean up the mess!

Commence the process by cleaning all the areas where the kitty has pooped.

There’s a tendency that she will be attracted to this spot if you fail to wash the area thoroughly.

Launder all items that can go to the washing machine and get rid of the inexpensive rags and mats that fluffy has turned into landing points.

Use a high-standard enzymatic cleaner to eliminate the smell from those surfaces.

This will ensure that your cat doesn’t get attracted to poop on the same spot.

2.    Clean the litter boxes

If your cats poop outside the box, the first step of action is to ensure that your cat’s litter box remains clean.

“If it smells bad for me, it smells bad for kitty”.

Ensure you scoop out your cat’s litter box daily.

Frequently deep wash the cat litter tray with mild soap and warm water, then rinse and let it air dry. This will keep the box smelling fresh.

After which, refill the litter pan with a fresh supply of clean and unscented litter.

You must be extra cautious when using scented litter as it may be stressful for choosy cats.

PS:  Be keen to use a face mask and rubber gloves each time you handle your cat’s litter tray just to remain protected from the litter dust and small bugs that may have invaded.

3.    Add extra litter boxes:

Have one cat box for every cat, then include an extra one.  

If you have a multi-cat household, this is a rule of thumb.

This is an important hack on how to stop a cat from pooping on the floor.

However, the cat litter boxes must be placed in different locations just to ensure that each cat remains comfortable when accomplishing its bathroom business.

4.    Consider changing the type of litterbox:

If you suspect that your cat isn’t accessing the litter pan easily because it is a covered cat box, make the switch.

Go for an open-type cat litter tray that will be easily accessible to your cat.

If your cat is aging or has mobility issues, invest in a box that is easy for your cat to access without difficulty. The sides should be low to allow easy entry.

5.    Fix the litter box issues:

Is your kitty using a scented litter pan? Then it is time to try an unscented one. While people adopt scented litter to cover up smells, most kitties consider artificial scents very repulsive and extreme.

Since a kitty’s nose is much more sensitive than yours, it may dislike anything artificial.

There’s a tendency that your kitty may not like the texture of the litter. You need to start preempting a new kind of litter in the other box particularly when the kitty develops a preference for the alternative.

You may also reconsider the sizes of the particles used in the litter tray while assessing issues like litter clumping.

6.    Litter box training:

If you have brought in a new kitten consider toilet training. This will minimize incidences of pooping outside the box.

Have a clean litter box ready, placed in a small room such as the bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom, and confine him there until you are comfortable that he has adjusted to his environment and most importantly learned how to use the cat’s litter box properly.

If you fail to implement these steps early on, your cat may be pooping all over the house.

Home Remedies for Cats Pooping on the Carpet

Every cat owner’s nightmare is finding your kitty’s poop on the carpet.

If your cat poops on the carpet in the same spot, here’s what to do:

If your cat is urine spraying, we have a detailed post on how to tackle this and eliminate the spraying.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do cats poop out of spite?

No, cats do not poop on the floor out of spite. While it may seem like your cat is avoiding the litter pan out of spite, there are usually other factors as addressed above on why your cat is pooping in the house.

There’s a great likelihood that the physical manifestation is just a reaction to the physical stresses it’s experiencing from the environment.

Cat pees in the litter box but poops on the floor

Is your cat peeing in the litter box but poops on the floor? Frustrating, I know right?

While this is not a common occurrence in most cats, it requires your immediate attention. Why do you ask? Because if your cat is comfortable using the litter tray to urinate, then she should be able to poop in the cat box too.

This means that there could be an underlying medical condition affecting her health that makes it difficult for your cat to relieve herself in the box.

Contact your veterinary officer immediately for a proper checkup, diagnosis, and treatment.


Cats are wonderful pets to live with. However, things take an episodic turn when they start pooping outside their litter boxes.

Be careful when handling this behavioral problem lest things go crazy. The first step is to rule out any medical issue by visiting your vet.

Next, initiate the stepwise homemade remedy highlighted in this article.

Ensure that the cat box is clean, extra boxes are available, conduct litter box training where need be, and finally….

We highlighted 5 plus one bonus solutions on how to get your cat to stop pooping on the floor. Can you recall the remaining 3?

Davis Wilkins

Davis Wilkins is a dedicated cat lover, with three cats under his care. He grew up in a cat-loving family, nurturing these feline friends. As a result, he purposed to share his cat knowledge with the universe. Wilkins has been writing professionally for over four years, specializing in feline care with a keen interest in litter box care and handling. He hopes to help other feline lovers achieve their pet care goals.

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