General Question

theladebug's avatar

How can you stop a cat from going to the bathroom outside of the litter box?

Asked by theladebug (217points) March 15th, 2009

My sister got a cat in December, and he has decided that he will poo anywhere he feels like in her house (mostly in closets), even when the litter box is perfectly clean. Any ideas on how to stop this behaviour?

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11 Answers

theladebug's avatar

Also to note: he did not have trouble using the litter box until about the last month.

augustlan's avatar

If this is a recent behavior, I’d take him to the vet for a checkup.

Computergenius's avatar

When you say the litter box is “clean”, did they really clean it or just scoop it? I find it necessary to dump out all the used litter and let 1/2 a gallon of vinegar soak in the empty cat box for 20 minutes before I rinse it, dry it, and refill with new litter.

Computergenius's avatar

Every two to three weeks.

Foolaholic's avatar

When my cat stopped using the litter box, it turned out to be a urinary track infection. Because of the pain he was feeling, my cat decided that said pain stemmed from the place where he was having it (i.e. the litter box). By avoiding the box, he thought he was avoiding the pain, so he started relieving himself all over the basement.

jrpowell's avatar

I agree with Foolaholic. I have seen this question pop up all over the place. And a UTI was the normal culprit.

syz's avatar

Your sister first needs to make sure that there are no health issues involved. She should take the cat into the vet for an exam (you don’t mention where she got the cat, so if his vaccination and health situation are unknown, it’s a good idea anyway).

If everything checks out physically, then she’s going to have to retrain him to use the box appropriately. She needs to start by purchasing several inexpensive litter boxes and set one up everywhere that he eliminates. They need to stay in these horribly inconvenient (at least for your sister) positions for at least several days. She should then start gradually moving them towards the ultimate position – gradually meaning moving them just a few feet and then wait 2 or 3 days. Repeat over and over until they reach where she would like him to use the box.

She should keep in mind, however, the place that she has decided she would like the litterbox to reside may not be acceptable to the cat. If it is too close to his food and water, if it is in a high traffic area, if it’s in a room that’s scary, noisy, or smelly, or any other number of reasons, he may not be able to adapt. She may need to be flexible and find a happy medium for the two of them.

miasmom's avatar

Is the litter box beside his food? Because sometimes they don’t like where it is located also, is it in an area where they can have privacy? Just like @syz said. :)

theladebug's avatar

Thanks for the answers everyone! I will check with my sister to clarify the details but from what I understand he is not urinating in strange places only #2. I will recommend she takes him in for a checkup, and give her some of this feedback.

The litter box is not near his food but in my nieces room (which I must admit is a rather scary place!) I will make the suggestion of moving the litter box to see if she can get him to “go” where she wants him to.

theladebug's avatar

Oh and she DID move the litter box from the basement to the first floor of the house awhile back so my theory is that he does not like the change :)

miasmom's avatar

@theladebug that could be true, from what I’ve read, you should slowly move a litter box to a new location…baby steps, rather than a sudden big change for them.

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