When your cat has started pooping in the house and is otherwise in good health, there must be another good reason. Alarm bells should ring with cat owners as it’s a sign that something is seriously wrong with your pet.
Many pet owners ask the question “why has my cat started pooping in the house?” First of all, you need to realise that your cat isn’t being naughty although it’s certainly not a very nice habit. Felines generally only foul in the house in cases of extreme anxiety. The process of a cat pooping in the house is also known as the term “middening” in the feline professional world. Of course, this inappropriate elimination could also be caused by medical issues. It is certainly a good idea to try to discover the reason behind this peeing and pooping behaviour as a way of solving the problem. Inappropriate elimination issues can affect both male and female cats and older cats too.
Why is my cat pooping in the house?
First of all, cats communicate by using scent markers. Just like they urinate to let other cats know they are around, so they poop too. However, this is certainly a more extreme way to mark their territory and to tell other cats to keep away. Generally, a cat will poop in the house only when she feels insecure and anxious. Remember your cat isn’t being naughty, so please don’t shout at her. Above all, it’s important to take control of the situation and remain calm.
Trying to decipher the actual cause of why your cat has been pooping outside the litter box and in the house will require some detective work on your part. Individual cases can certainly have different causes, such as:
# A new cat or kitten has joined the household (or perhaps a new baby)
# Several cats living in the same home causing litter box problems
# Anxiety when separated from you – when you go to work or leave the house
# Older cats peeing and pooping in the house rather than in the cat litter
# Moving home causing anxieties
# Male cat marking his territory
# A strange cat entering the house through the door or cat-flap
# Change in diet or foodstuff
# Inappropriate elimination related to a medical problem
Any of these reasons could give your cat reason to foul in the house. Take a look at your own home situation carefully. Because some cats are upset at the slightest thing, there are many possible triggers.
Normal toilet behaviour in cats
At around the age of 5-7 weeks, a tiny kitten will first learn to use a litter tray. By 7-8 weeks they should be able to cover their poops and wee in the litter. Almost all cats squat low down to urinate while in contrast, they raise their posture to poop. Felines are very private pets preferring to do their toilet duties in secluded locations. For this reason, litter trays need to be placed away from their sleeping, feeding and drinking areas. It may be necessary to move the litter box.
Cats marking their territory
Territory marking is a different routine to regular pooping. There are several different ways that a cat marks his environment.
No 1. Rubbing – when a cat rubs his face against you, other pets and furniture, he is spreading pheromones secreted from facial glands.
No 2. Scratching – Glands between the footpads deposit scent onto a surface
No 3. Spraying urine – for various reasons, sexual, territorial and reactional
No 4. Middening – or pooping and leaving faeces in deliberate locations. Purely for the purpose of marking his territory and not just emptying the bowels.
Try to give consideration to the day that your cat suddenly stopped using the litter box. If it seems like you can identify the cause or trigger, solving the problem will be so much easier.
How to stop a cat from pooping in the house
Once you have recognised that your cat is fouling in the house, for whatever reason, it’s important that you resolve the problem so it doesn’t continue and drive you mad. There are several different factors that you can look at in your home.
Clean the litter tray frequently
Cats are very fastidious pets and as they get older, this becomes even more obvious. Always ensure that their litter box is kept clean and empty the faeces often. It’s best to clean the litter box every day especially if he is peeing and pooping there. Some cats are quite quirky and he may just not be happy with the amount of litter in the box. It’s a good idea to change this just to see if it actually does make any difference. Likewise, some felines don’t like using a tray with high sides. Resolve these litter box problems and you are well on the way to solving the problem.
If it’s related to a health condition
A senior cat with arthritis might have an issue actually climbing into a litter box. There comes a point though, when he may build up a behaviour habit, as he knows it will cause pain. Similarly, he will refuse to do toilet duties here and instead the cat prefers to poop in the house. Make that that it isn't medical issues that are causing this pooping outside the litter tray.
Provide a safe place for your kitty
Cats love nothing more than to withdraw away from the world at times, particularly older cats. Provide a place, preferably at height (a scratching tree is ideal). This will certainly reduce the cat’s anxieties and to give him a feeling of control.
If you have multiple cats
Every cat should be given the solitude to carry out eating, sleeping and toileting duties in peace and quiet. It’s a good idea to give each cat a separate feeding station and do likewise with litter trays.
Give plenty of playtime opportunities
A bored cat can quickly become a stressed cat. Set aside time every day to play with different toys. Stimulate the cat’s predatory and natural hunting abilities.
Human interaction is very important
Always provide predictable, consistent and positive actions when with your kitty. Be kind to him and create interactive bonding sessions. Even more important is to initiate and stop any cosy, hugging sessions on your cat’s terms.
Try not to disrupt the cat’s sense of smell
In their environment, a cat will sense an odour which is made up of many things. Other pets, furniture, people and virtually anything in the home. A cat can very easily become stressed by any change in this collective odour. Consider your feline pet when you introduce any new smells to the home. These can be new furniture, new cleaning products and perfumes.
When you think that you have done everything you can to prevent your cat from pooping in the house, it’s time to consider your next step. If you have:
# Taken measures to reduce the cat’s stress levels
# Provided an environment that is conducive to felines
# Made any significant changes in the home
# Had the all clear from the Vet that it’s not related to a medical problem
Now it’s possibly time to consider the help of a feline, behavioural therapist for behaviour modification. If your cat is pooping in the house, then there is something seriously going on in his world that needs a solution.