Cat Poops Outside of Litter Box and What to Do About It

You woke up one morning and were greeted by cat poops outside of litter box. Not a beautiful sight, right? You now wonder why your well-trained cat suddenly stops using its litter box.

Cats can poop outside of the litter box because it’s dirty, it’s not enough litter, the box is too small, a change of litter, or it’s close to where it eats. Sometimes it could be a result of an underlying medical condition.

When this happens, it’s because your cat does not like its litter box and is trying to show what it likes instead. Whatever the reason is, your cat is trying to get your attention.

5 Reasons Why Cat Poops Outside of Litter Box

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There are a lot of reasons why your cat would poop anywhere in the house instead of the litter box. It’s either a behavioral issue due to stress or something more severe and may require medical attention.

Below are some possible reasons to consider:

1. Not enough litter

Maybe there’s not enough litter in the box, or it’s not deep enough. A cat’s normal instinct is to bury their poop, so the litter box should have enough cat litter to satisfy their dig-and-bury habit. Some cats also prefer fine-textured and unscented cat litter.

2. The box is too small

The box itself might be on the smaller side. As a rule, it should be one-and-a-half bigger than your cat’s actual body length. If your cat has grown bigger or has gained some weight, then you need to get a bigger box.

3. Blocked access

Make sure they have easy access to the box, and they will not have a hard time getting on and off the litter box. This is especially true for older cats who might be suffering from arthritis or any physical difficulties.

It might also be that another pet is guarding or blocking the litter box to show their dominance over the other pet.

Bullying in animals usually happens if you have more than one pet in the household. If the more timid one feels threatened, then they will avoid the litter box and look someplace else to poop.

4. Changes in the litter box

Your cat may have sensed something different from the litter box. Cats like routine and familiarity in their daily lives.

They usually spend at least 20 seconds digging and turning inside the litter box before they do their deed, so there’s something off with the litter box if they defecate elsewhere.

5. Close to where it eats

Check the location of the box as well. Cats don’t like their litter box close to where they normally eat their meals. Choose a quiet spot where there’s less foot traffic that may distract your cat while doing its deed.

6. It needs cleaning

Your cat will also ignore the litter box if it smells bad or dirty. Make sure to scoop out your cat’s daily droppings.

Frequently clean the litter box by taking out all the cat litter, washing it with warm, soapy water, rinsing with clean water, and thoroughly drying it before putting a fresh batch of cat litter.

Why is my cat pooping outside of the litter box all of a sudden?

Cats can be very picky about where they poop. If the box is dirty this is probably the problem, it could also be from an underlying medical condition.

Why is my older cat not using the litter box?

Older cats can be very sensitive to changes in the household, so they could be stressed or extra sensitive to a dirty litter box. Try to stay calm, as they are not doing it for revenge or out of anger. Check with your vet if you are worried about a medical condition.

How many times should a cat poop a day?

There’s nothing like knowing your cat is healthy. Cats should poop at least once a day, a deep brown is a sign of a healthy poop. It should not be too hard or too soft.

Some Tips and Tricks to Solve Your Problem

As a rule, you should provide each of your pet their own litter box. An extra box should also be placed in a location where your cat can access it without a problem. It is also advisable to put at least one box on each floor for multi-level houses.

Remember to clean and disinfect the place where your cat eliminates, ensuring that there are no traces of any poop smell left.

If your cat can still smell its poop or pee, that will serve as a signal to the cat that it’s their territory and it’s okay for them to poop on the same spot.

Most of the reasons we have mentioned are behavioral and may be due to tension and stress. Let your cat have enough playtime and provide enough vertical spaces to help relieve any stress it might be feeling at the moment.

Possible Medical Conditions of Your Cat

If you have done all the things we suggested you do, and your cat is still avoiding the litter box, you might need to go to a vet and have your cat checked for any medical issues he might be suffering from.

Your cat may be suffering from constipation and will link the pain of eliminating with the litter box.

As mentioned earlier, your cat may be suffering from some physical disabilities, like arthritis, which makes it hard for them to perch on the cat litter and defecate.

Same with humans suffering from arthritis, moving is a bit painful on the joints.

Another possible medical problem that your cat may be having is inflammatory bowel disease.

Your cat will feel some discomfort when the intestines start cramping, and it may be too severe at times that your cat can’t make it to the litter box anymore. UTI or urinary tract infection is also common for cats.


When your cat poops outside of litter box, don’t reprimand it too quickly. Be vigilant and observe its behavior for you to get to the bottom of the issue.

The same goes for peeing anywhere your cat likes to do.

No one knows your cat better than you. A regular visit to the vet is also advisable to ensure that your cat is always in the pink of health.