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eternal_serenity's avatar

Help! My cat started pooping/peeing outside the litterbox! What should I do?

Asked by eternal_serenity (494points) September 18th, 2010
7 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

I ran out of litter one day and used a different low-grade brand just until I could get some more. The low-grade litter was only in the box for 1 day, and one of my cats refused to use it and pooped and peed outside the box all night. The next day I bought the litter I normally use but he still refuses to use the box. He always goes right outside of it. I’ve showed him the litter (the kind he’s used to) multiple times and it’s not working. I’ve never had problems with him not using the box before, and I’m not sure what to do. For the past couple days he has started urinating in the box again but is still pooping right outside of it.

Here’s a little more info:
– I have 3 cats…the other two are still using the box fine
– All the cats are about 2 yrs old and have never had problems sharing boxes
-I have 3 different boxes in different spots in the house
-I have been cleaning the “accident” spots with nature’s miracle so the cat doesn’t go back to it

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zzc's avatar

Try completely (avoid anything with a strong smell) cleaning and refilling the box with the usual litter. The new stuff may have had a smell, or even texture that the cat didn’t like. Some are very particular about their litter. . . .just like the material they prefer to use to scratch on or to sleep on. Most do not like change and can get upset when things are suddenly not to their liking. Good luck!

jerv's avatar

Agreed; cats are very fussy and one bad experience can lead to a life-long behavioral shift. The important thing to remember here is that you are dealing with an intelligent being with a totally alien thought process.

Since he is now urinating in the box, it seems to me that it was more of a textural thing as it takes a bit of digging to cover up after dropping a deuce whereas a mere spritz may not be worth burying so he doesn’t have to stick his paws into the litter that was so nasty last time he did. It also seems to me that once he figures out that you are using the regular litter again, things will be back to normal, but you might want to clean the box thoroughly as @zzc suggested.

For future reference, cats do not like change that much. Switching cat litters of foods may seem like no big deal to us humans, but can literally traumatize a cat. Even rearranging furniture can cause some issues. This is why my wife and I have occasionally cut back on our food budget for the week to buy the usual brands; it’s easier to borrow lunch money from a co-worker for a couple of days than deal with a cat (or five!) that won’t eat, that pukes all over the place, or just wont use the litter box for weeks.

That0neguy01's avatar

Lol cats are complicated. its like what @jerv said. for example my cat used to ALWAYS sleep at the food of my bed at night. we changed sheets just for one night cuz mine were being washed, and she didnt like them and didnt sleep at the foot of my bed or on my bed at all. even after we changed back the next day, shes never slept there with me. cats are friggin picky lol. if i were you i wouldnt be asking on this site, and try to find a local animal veterinarian or somebody more experienced with animals/cats to tell you how to solve this. good luck!

Moegitto's avatar

There’s only two explanations I can see here. The first being that cats really are that picky, and it will take some time for your cat to eliminate the thought of the new litter out of it’s mind. The second, less likely but more serious reason, is they might have a UTI. Just throwing all possibilities out there, but looks more like the cat is just in a bad mood from having it’s habitat changed.

zzc's avatar

I agree with @Moegitto, it’s probably the change of the litter. If your cat was doing this, and you hadn’t changed anything, the cat might be trying to tell you something is wrong with him, like a urinary tract infection, and you should head to the vet.

krose1223's avatar

Talk to a vet. I bet they would have the best answers. You never know, it could be some bladder thing.

jerv's avatar

I have had cats with UTIs and they all used the box (or tried to, or yelled while doing so) without missing, so I doubt that’s it.

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