There are a number of medical issues that could be causing your cat to feel uncomfortable about pooping in the box. If she experiences constipation, for example, she may associate the box with her discomfort and attempt to go somewhere else. If your cat is older and has arthritis, it may be difficult for her to perch on the litter substrate in order to eliminate solids. If you have a covered litter box, she may feel cramped in there while perching in position to poop. The cat may experience cramping and the discomfort causes her to try to eliminate wherever she is at the time.

She may also become so uncomfortable that she can’t make it to the box. If you’re unable to bring a fresh sample, the veterinarian will be able to get one but it’s much more comfortable for your cat if you can bring one along. Just make sure it hasn’t been sitting in the litter box too long. You can also take the sample, seal it tightly in a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator — although for many people this is an unacceptable option. Keep in mind that the veterinarian doesn’t need a huge sample. Don’t overlook the very important first step of visiting the veterinarian if your cat is pooping outside of the box. I have lived with a cat who had inflammatory bowel disease and know how much pain he must’ve felt when his intestines starting cramping.

I also have a number of clients who have cats with intestinal problems. There are some cats who don’t like to defecate in the same area used for urination. For some cats it may be that urination has more territorial connection or it may just be a quirky feline instinct. Regardless, a simple solution you can offer is to make another box available for defecation. Don’t place the box right next to the original box or it’ll just be regarded as one big box and your cat will still not poop in it. Your cat will certainly let you know when the location pleases her.

It typically takes a cat a bit longer to defecate than urinate. The location she chooses may also give her a better opportunity to get out of there more safely. The solution in this case may be to provide uncovered boxes and to make sure there are enough boxes located through the house. Don’t place them in hidden, cramped areas that may cause your cat to feel trapped or confined. In many cases, all you’ll have to do is remove the lid from the box. Covered boxes are often to small and low for a cat to feel she can comfortably perch on the litter for defecation. They also limit the cat’s escape to just one way in and out.

Should another cat come by, the one who is in the litter box can be vulnerable to an ambush. Perhaps it has something to do with the amount of time they spend in that perching position for pooping. If you think that might be the case, offer another litter box with a litter that has a different texture. In general, cats prefer a soft, sandy texture when it comes to the litter substrate. If your cat is defecating on the floor or other hard surface and won’t go in the litter box no matter what type of litter you use, try an experiment and set out an empty litter box. If she continues to accept that you can add gradually increase the amount.

A cat may decide that the box is too dirty if there is any waste already in there. She may urinate but then feel it’s now not clean enough for her to then use for defecation. Understandably, you can’t stand over the box 24 hours a day with a litter scoop in your hand in order to remove waste the nanosecond it touches the litter. Just make sure you’re scooping at least twice a day and have more than one litter box so there will be a greater chance that kitty can find a clean patch of litter for defecation. Your veterinarian should be your first stop whenever there is any kind of litter box problem. Have your cat examined and if she gets a clean bill of health, talk with your veterinarian about your specific litter box set-up. Pam’s books are available at bookstores everywhere, through your favorite online book retail site and also here on our website.

Note: This article is not intended as a medical diagnosis. Consult your veterinarian about any changes in your cat’s litter box habits. Please note that Pam is unable to answer questions posted in the comment section. If you have a question about your cat’s behavior, you can find information in the articles on our website as well as in Pam’s books. If you have a question regarding your cat’s health, please contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a replacement for your cat’s veterinary care. Permalink to How Often Should My Cat Poop? How Often Should My Cat Poop? Very informative and well written article! When I first got my cat, she started pooping outside the litter box because it was too small. We got a bigger litter box and voila. We are not using the lids. Extra-Large litter boxes cost 4 times that.