When your cat suddenly starts pooping around the home: 5 essential tips

Until now, your cat has done it’s business in their litter tray, but for some time now it has been pooping in the apartment? There can be several reasons for this new behaviour in a previously litter trained cat. You can read about those possible causes and how to get a grip on the problem here.

These 5 tips will help you if your litter trained cat suddenly stops using the litter tray.

The is important to first realize your cat doesn’t mean to annoy or provoke you when they have an accident around the home. Rather, their accident tells you there is a problem and there will be a reason for it.

These tips can help you discover that reason and quickly solve their problem:

Off to the vet!

If your cat is already litter trained and suddenly starts pooping around the home, there could be a physical illness causing it. Therefore, the first step is to visit the vet.

Tip 1:

  • Have your cat examined by a veterinarian.
  • Request a blood test and a urine test.

If your cat is ill and has pain when peeing or pooping, they may associate that pain with their litter tray. Therefore thinking that they will avoid the pain if they avoid the litter tray.

Alternatively, your cat may not be able to control their bladder or bowels due to a medical condition and simply cannot make it to the litter tray in time.

The most common illnesses that cause accidents in the home are:

  • Kidney problems
  • Intestinal diseases
  • Cystitis
  • Urinary crystals and stones
  • Incontinence (due to illness, dementia or old age)
  • Diabetes

If your cat is given the appropriate medical treatment for it’s condition, hopefully the sympotoms will quickly subside. After a while they should return to using their litter tray again.

Buy a new litter tray

If your cat is physically healthy and still isn’t using in the litter tray, it could be down to the tray they are using.

Tip 2:

There are several reasons why your cat may decide to stop using their litter tray:

  • The litter tray may no longer suit them Has your cat had the same litter tray for many years? Maybe that it has become too small or too narrow for them? Maybe they no longer like the high edges in their old age? Or maybe they no longer feel safe in a closed litter box and would prefer an open tray? In all these cases there is only one thing to do, you need one, or several, new litter trays. In fact, it can be helpful to offer your cat different styles of litter tray, in different locations around the home. It gives your cat choice. Use our buying guide to discover the type of litter tray that best suits your cat.
  • The current location is unsuitable. A litter tray should be located in a quiet place so that your cat is not disturbed while doing their business. However, it should also not be too far away from their social environment, in the basement for example. It is also important that the litter tray is not in the same room as their food and water bowl.
  • The litter tray is difficult to reach: For example, if the litter tray is located in the basement, it may no longer be easy for an older cat to get down and up the stairs. Make sure that your cat has easy access to their litter tray at all times, this will help them to avoid accidents.
  • The environment of the litter tray has changed. Have you started using a new cleaning product? Have you put a new shoe closet next to the litter tray? These simple changes can upset your cat enough to stop them using their litter tray and start pooping around the home.

Clean the toilet regularly

Cats are very clean animals. If your cat finds their litter tray dirty, because you’ve not had chance to clean it, they might prefer to find another place to do their business.

Tip 3:

  • Clean the litter tray at least once a day.
  • Ideally clean the litter tray after each use.
  • Once a week you should also wash out the litter tray and completely replace the litter.

It is also possible your cat just doesn’t like the litter in their tray. In this case it might help to try a different type of litter, be it pellets, or shavings, or even scented litter.

Give your cat security

Cats are creatures of habit and like consistent routines. When there is change in the home, your cat may become stressed and this could be a reason for their accidents.

Tip 4:

  • Take a lot of time and give your cat extra love and attention .
  • Provide lots of treats and petting.
  • Distribute special fragrance diffusers with pheromones around the home. These are the body’s own odor messengers that make your cat feel more comfortable.
  • In particularly stressful times (a house move, new family member, renovation, etc.) you can also support your cat with Bach flowers, which are herbal sedatives. However, talk to your vet beforehand.
  • Always perform socializations with new cats, dogs, other pets or new family members slowly and gently.

There are many situations that can frighten and stress your cat.

  • A new environment. Have you moved, bought new furniture or simply rearranged your layout? Such changes can overwhelm your cat. They may just need a little time to get used to the new situation.
  • A new family member or pet has moved in. Did you have a baby or did you move in with a dog or another cat? Your cat can easily become insecure or even develop jealousy.
  • A changed daily routine. Do you have a new job or new work hours and suddenly find yourself out of the house at different times? Or do you no longer feed your cat at the same time? This uncertainty can be enough to cause your cat to have an accident in the home.
  • Conflicts within your cat family. Do you have several cats? In this case your cat may be constantly competing with the others for important resources such as lounging spots, toys or food, or there may be conflict between several cats. It’s important to keep a close eye on your cats dynamics and make sure there is enough food and comfy spots for everyone.

Clean up thoroughly after any accidents

If your cat poops outside of the litter tray, be sure to clean thoroughly.

Tip 5:

  • Clean any surface that has been pooped on very thoroughly.

It is essential that all contaminated areas are cleaned effectively. Cat urine and feaces has an unpleasant smell, which isn’t nice for the home. But more importantly cat’s have an incredible sense of smell and the smell of urine and feaces actually encourages your cat to use the same place again and again. Without thorough cleaning, the spot of the accident will be used as a toilet in the future.

For cleaning you can use specialist products or home remedies:

  • It’s important you find ALL the urine and feces stains. Smaller stains may have a weak smell to humans, but your cat will pick up on the smallest trace of the scent.
  • You can use a black light lamp to find all the stains.
  • Use vinegar or an enzyme cleaner to clean. This removes the odors.

Has your cat also ever had an accident in the home?

What worked for you?

We are always happy to hear about your experiences in the comments!


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