Why doesn't my cat poop in the box?

She goes in the box to pee (thankfully), and she doesn’t poop all over the house (thankfully), but when she needs to drop a tootsie roll, she stands *right next *to the litter box and poops on the floor. I’ve seen her do it. Then she tries to bury it even though there’s no litter there. She is 12 years old and this has been going on for about a year now. Otherwise she’s a healthy, happy, active kitty.

We scoop daily and change the litter often. We keep the area around the litter box as clean as possible. Her sister has no problem using the box for both functions.

Any idea what’s going on here?

Take the poop and put it in the litter box. make sure to cover it with litter.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes…

Sorry. Then when you see the cat near the litter box, try to pick it up and put it IN the litter box. keep this up for a month or so every time you see it near the box.

YMMV – IANACW (I am NOT a cat whisperer)

I’ve taken care of cats who do this, or who stand partially in the box but hang their rear ends out of the box. I try to catch them in the act, and quickly place them in the litterbox to complete the poop in there. It seems to take after a few times.

Thank god she pees in the box. In that vein, though, when mine peed outside the box, it was because they had a problem (ureteral stones, bladder stones etc.). Has kitty had a check-up lately? I know here (Japan) they’ll take a look at kitty’s poo if you take in a sample–maybe call ahead of time before showing up with a baggie.

I once adopted an adult cat who had this problem and it took me months to figure out his problem: he wanted to pee on litter and he wanted to poop on a hard surface. They can strongly imprint these preferences when young. So instead of covering the whole bottom of the box with litter, I used a bigger, shallower plastic box (it may have been an under-bed sweater storage box) and only covered a third to a half of the bottom with litter. The exposed hard plastic bottom was as good as the linoleum for him and the problem was solved.

She’s Thinking Outside the Box

Also it’s recommended to have one litter box per cat plus one. So, two cats should have three boxes. That’s not always possible, but one per cat for sure. She may be an “immaculate box” pooper, and want to only poo in a totally clean box. You could try just putting a 2nd box next to the original one, that may well be all she needs. It’s one of the least expensive things to try, anyway.

I have four cats and four boxes, two and two together in different rooms. Seems to work fine.

This often indicates that the litter box is too small for the cat. Some cats prefer a larger box, that they can move around a bit to choose their spot. If there is litter scattered around outside the box, that’s another indication of a too-small box.

Yes, bigger boxes are always better! I can’t really think of a box being too big unless the cat can’t enter/exit easily for some reason. I have the jumbo high-sided ones by Rubbermaid, even those are only about $20 apeice, though I guess the covered ones might run more. Also if one box is covered, you can try a second uncovered box next to it. I know the cat in question is older and you would think her preferences are set, but kitties are notorious mind-changers.

And the scattered litter rule might work sometimes, but some cats are just freaks about burying stuff. Two of my boys are obsessed with burying not just their own poo, but each others and the other cats’ too. So the results are sometimes a little pile of litter spilled over the front of the high-sided boxes, where the only low place , the entrance, is to shoot litter over the edge easily. I have to sweep daily or it would really get out of hand! Weirdos.

I had a cat quit pooping in the box once. He got some kind of upset tum and had diarrhea for a few days and didn’t want to use his litter box anymore. I think maybe the cat litter was irritating his bum, or maybe it was just irritated and he thought it was the litter. Whatever it was, after that he wouldn’t poop in the box.

I finally solved it similarly to Parenchyma by just taking most of the litter out of the box. If I only left maybe a half-inch across the bottom of the pan then he would use the box.

We currently use one of the large storage tubs (maybe 25 gallon?) for a catbox. We cut a hole in one side as an entrance because our matriarch couldn’t make it over the side. We have one male cat who simply must pee against the side of the box and it was the only thing we could find tall enough to contain him. Next time I think we’ll get a 33 gallon, which would be tall enough to keep covered with room for the cats.

What a good idea!

I just thought of something. Is your litterbox hooded? My one cat hated the roof (perhaps it keeps the smell in? He was claustrophobic? No reading material?) so I removed it. Less esthetically pleasing for me, better ventilation for him. He wins.

That’s always true. You should be used to it by now.

You say this has been going on for a year. My cat was always perfect about his litter habits but at the age of 16 started pooping outside the box. I’ve tried everything but have had no luck. My vet has the same problem with one of her cats. My cat is a love but he has developed some odd behaviors in his old age. I suspect age may be a factor.

If it’s arthritis that is making it hard for an older cat to climb into the box, cutting down the lip of the entrance so the cat can easily walk in may help.

I haven’t caught her in the act since starting this thread, but I’ll definitely keep this in mind the next time I do!

I may give this idea a try as well.

We have two cats and three boxes; two are in the same room. So I don’t believe this is the issue.

Interesting thought. One of the three boxes is a “jumbo” – not 25 gallons (wouldn’t have room for that!), but a large-sized box. The one she chooses to poop next to is a regular-sized one, but she’s a little cat, only about 7 pounds.

The box in question did have a hood. We removed it when this started, but it didn’t help.

I hate to think this might be true, because she seems perfectly healthy in every other way. She may be 12 but she still acts like a kitten! But I suppose I have to face the fact that they’re both getting older. Could indeed be a factor. However, she has no trouble climbing in and out, because she does use the box for peeing.

Their annual check-up is in two weeks, so I think I’ll bring this up and see what the vet has to say.

Cats are passive/aggressive and evil. Mystery solved. Since the OP’s cat is 12 years old, I strongly doubt any amount of housebreaking will make a difference at this point.

No, she’s stinking outside the box.

Cat lover here, interesting thread. But I couldn’t resist the atrocious pun.