Why my cat pooping outside the litter box

Why my cat pooping outside the litter box

If your cat is having trouble using the litter box, there could be any number of reasons why. In this article, we'll explore 10 of the most common reasons why cats may start pooping outside of their litter boxes. Addressing these issues can help get your cat back on track with using the litter box correctly.

Why is your cat pooping outside the litter box

1. Your cat has an upset stomach

If you notice that your cat is straining to poop, this could be a sign of constipation. If the stool is hard, she may attempt to get rid of it by squatting in another area. A lack of access to a litter box or one that is not properly cleaned can trigger this change in behavior.

2. Urinary tract infection

Cats will avoid using a dirty litter box and may opt to go outside of it instead. In addition, cats with cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) often associate pain when urinating with the litter box, and will start pooping elsewhere.

3. Your cat is stressed

There can be many reasons why a cat becomes stressed, including changes in the home environment (a new pet or baby, for example), moving or sudden loud noises. When cats are under stress, they may not want to use the litter box because it is associated with a negative experience.

4. Your cat is sick

A sick cat may not feel like using the litter box, instead preferring to find a place where she can rest comfortably. If your cat has been vomiting or has diarrhea, she may start pooping outside the litter box because it is difficult for her to get to the litter and squat.

5. Your cat is being bullied

If there are other cats in the home, one of them may have started to bully your pet by using her litter box and not allowing her access to it. In this case, your cat will stop going in her litter box and find a new spot where she can go without stress or disturbances.

Why my cat pooping outside the litter box

6. Your cat is newly returned from the shelter

When your newly adopted cat comes home, she'll need some time to adjust to her new surroundings. During this period of adjustment (two to three weeks), you may see changes in her behavior, like pooping outside of the litter box if it is kept clean. Once your cat begins to feel comfortable in her new home, she'll start using the litter box again.

7. Your cat is experiencing depression

Pooping outside the litter box may be an indication that your cat is sad or depressed. Just like people, cats can go through periods of depression and grief when a loss (like another pet in the family) occurs and may not feel like using the litter box.

8. You're cleaning the litter box too often

Cleaning the litter box too often (every day) can actually be a deterrent for cats and make them stop using it. Cats prefer a clean litter box, but not one that is so clean that it doesn't smell like urine. Aim to clean the box once a week and add more litter if needed.

9. You're not cleaning the litter box often enough

Conversely, if you're not cleaning the litter box often enough, your cat may start pooping elsewhere. A dirty litter box is a major turnoff for cats and they'll go where it's more comfortable to poop.

10. You're using the wrong litter box size or type

Cats are very particular about their litter boxes and it's important to make sure you have the right size and type for your pet. If you don't, she'll find somewhere else that she can go, like an open space in your home where she doesn't have to crouch to go to the bathroom.

How many litters a year can a cat have

In addition, you need to make sure the litter box is in a quiet location that's easily accessible and not hidden or hard to find for your cat. You should offer one litter box per cat plus an extra one, and make sure they're all at varying heights to prevent any accidents from occurring if your cat is unable to jump up high.

How many litters a year can a cat have

Many people are curious about how many litters a year a cat can have. The answer to this question is that cats can have as many as 12 litters in a year. However, most cats will have an average of four litters in a year. This number may vary depending on the health and age of the cat, as well as the time of year.

The average litter size for a cat is usually around four kittens. However, some litters can have as many as eight kittens, while others may only have one or two. Kittens are typically weaned from their mother at around six to eight weeks old, but they will stay with their mother until they are around twelve weeks of age.


If your cat is pooping outside the litter box, there may be a specific reason why and addressing that issue can help get her back to using the litter box correctly. If it's a behavioral problem, like not feeling comfortable in her current environment, you may need to make some changes to help your cat feel more at ease. 

If it's a health issue, like a UTI, you'll need to take your cat to the veterinarian for treatment. In any case, it's important to be aware of the reasons why cats poop outside the litter box so you can address the problem as soon as possible.

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