Why is my Cat Pooping Outside the Litterbox in Branson, MO?
If your cat has been pooping outside the litterbox, you’re probably feeling frustrated and worried at the same time. After all, this behavior isn’t exactly normal, and it could mean something is wrong with your pet.
If you find yourself worrying about your cat because of his/ her habit of defecating outside the litterbox and you don’t know what to do or where to turn, we’re here to help. In the article below, you’ll find information about some of the most common reasons why cats may stop using the litterbox.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are some of the most common causes of inappropriate elimination behaviors in cats. If your cat is pooping or peeing outside the litterbox and you know there’s been a recent stress event in her life, this is probably the reason why. Bringing home a new baby or a new pet, moving to another home, or taking a job with a very different schedule can all negatively affect your cat’s stress levels.
Most of the time, this problem will resolve itself with time and comfort from the owner. However, for very stressed or anxious cats, you may need to talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medication or all-natural supplements.
Location of the Litter Box
It’s important to place the litterbox in a location in your home where your cat feels safe going to the bathroom. Don’t put the litter in the middle of a busy part of your home, and don’t keep it too near any areas where your cat may feel intimidated—such as near your dog’s bed.
Additionally, keep the litter far enough away from your cat’s food and water dishes that they can separate the two areas.
Also, it is important that if you have a multi-level home you have at least one box on each level of the home.
Cleanliness of the Litter Box
If your cat feels like they litterbox is not clean enough, they may try to tell you this by pooping or peeing somewhere else. If you don’t scoop it regularly and it’s not kept clean then this could be the underlying cause of your cat’s behavioral issues. Many cats will not use a box that has even one piece of fecal material already in it.
Make sure to scoop your litterbox at least once per day—or more often if you have more than one cat. Dump out the litter and clean the box thoroughly once a week (again, more often if you have multiple cats). This way, the litter will stay fresh, and the box will remain clean.
There are also companies that can send you new litter and boxes on a monthly bases to make this process easier and affordable. We recommend the Kitty Poo Club as one option. They have many types of litters that you don’t have to scoop any urine, just scoop the solids and stir. There are also some litters that are made from only all-natural material so no chemicals or odors get around your cat. You get a new box every month so you don’t have to clean anything. You just toss our the old and put in the new!
If you have multiple cats in the same household and they are all sharing a litterbox, this could be the root of the issue. Many cats simply do not like to share their litter with others.
If you have more than one cat, the general rule of thumb is you need one box per cat plus one. So that means if you have 4 cats you need 5 litter boxes.
Dislike of the Litter or the Box
If you have just recently switched to a new type of litter, then this could be the cause of your cat’s bad litterbox habits. They may not like the new litter and may feel unpleasant when using it. The smell, texture, or both could be troubling, causing them to poop elsewhere.
Some cats are equally as picky about the litterbox itself. Your cat needs to have enough room to turn around in the litterbox without bumping into its sides. Some cats prefer a box with a cover, while others want more room to move.
Again, this is another reason we recommend litter subscribing companies because they can send a new type of litter every month until you find the right one for your cat.
Finally, litterbox issues may be a sign of constipation or diarrhea, urinary tract infection, physical malfunction or even underling organ dysfunction. Any of these problems can turn into more severe problems if left unchecked. If your cat is very constipated, they may strain and try to poop outside the litterbox, even if nothing comes out. On the other hand, if your cat is sick, they may have diarrhea in other locations throughout the home. Sometimes having diarrhea can look a lot like being constipated because the cat strains to defecate but nothing is produced. So many owners mistakenly think their pet is constipated when they in fact have diarrhea.
Diarrhea and constipation are usually related to larger problems. Cats with these symptoms may have intestinal parasites, viruses, bacterial infections, cancer, liver disease, or any number of other illnesses, from mild to severe. Your veterinarian will need to diagnose your cat to provide accurate treatment.
Shepherd of the Hills Veterinary Clinic Can Help
As you can see, some of the causes of pooping outside the litterbox are serious ones, but some are mild. It’s up to you to watch your cat’s other habits and check for signs and symptoms of a more serious problem. If you think your cat is sick or is otherwise dealing with a major issue, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible for a full checkup.
The vet can let you know whether your cat’s litterbox behaviors are related to a health problem. If so, the vet can give you some suggestions for treatment or maintenance moving forward. To talk with the veterinarians at Shepherd of the Hills Veterinary Clinic about your cat call 417-337-7389 or book an appointment online!
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About Shepherd of the Hills Veterinary Clinic
Founded in 2018 by Dr. Amanda McGinty, we are a full-service animal hospital with a passion for pets and a commitment to community. We offer high-quality, competitively-priced care for Branson-area cats, dogs, rabbits, and pocket pets. At Shepherd of the Hills Veterinary Clinic, we want to provide the best healthcare possible, so we are fully equipped with state-of-the-art imaging and laboratory testing. In addition to carrying the latest technology, we value education and best-in-class care. Therefore, we are Fear Free certified, and Dr. Amanda utilizes a holistic approach using up-to-date modern medicine in addition to herbal and alternative therapies.