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Why is My Cat Suddenly Pooping Outside the Litter Box?

Why is My Cat Suddenly Pooping Outside the Litter Box?

Cats are not like dogs, and they can be pretty particular about potty issues. Sometimes they’ll miss the litter box simply because they’re lazy, and if that’s the case with your furry friend then don’t worry.

However, if your cat is missing the box often, you should take a moment to think about why is that happening. Examine your cat’s behavior and physical health to figure out what’s exactly going on.

Before we go there and assume that your cat is sick, let’s take a look at some other reasons which are pretty straightforward and easy to miss.

Minor issues


  • Dirty litter box – A cat’s litter box should be cleaned at least every three days – thoroughly. Try this – Make sure that your cat’s litter box is as clean as a whistle and see what happens or get a self-cleaning litter box. If your cat starts using it again, that was the problem.
  • Small litter box – Your cat’s litter box simply might be too small for her. Your cat grew, but the litter box hasn’t. Try replacing it with a bigger litter box and make your cat feel comfortable.
  • Location – Maybe your cat can’t easily get to her litter box, and that’s why she chooses to do her ‘’business’’ elsewhere. Put the litter box in an easily accessible corner of your bathroom and see what happens.

Image of annoyed cat

  • The litter is too deep – Housecats usually prefer no more than one or two inches of litter.
  • Smell – Have you recently changed the litter in your cat’s litter box? Have you purchased that expensive litter for your best friend? Then that’s probably the real problem. Cats can get used to a particular litter, and they might dislike the smell of the new one.
  • Negative association – Has something happened to your cat while she was using the litter box? Did someone scare her or accidentally kicked her? If something like this has happened with your cat, then she might seem hesitant to return to ‘’the scene of the crime’’.
  • Traveling – If you and your cat recently came home from a road trip, give her some time to relax and adjust. Cats are beings who love consistency, and your road trip made a significant change in your cat’s life.

Health issues


  • ArthritisCats who have arthritis might find it challenging to get in and outside the litter box or to pose like they used to.
  • Constipation – Cats with this problem might decide that the litter box is not the place where they want to relieve themselves simply because it was painful for them the last couple of times. Check whether your cat is constipated and if the answer is ‘’yes’’ then take her to the vet and implement more wet food into her diet.

image of sick cat

Final word


Every cat is different. As we all know, cats are creatures who don’t like being bossed around, and they sometimes just want to do whatever they want. Before you start worrying about your furball check give her some time and see if anything changes.

About The Author

Tracy Moser

I am a passionate pet owner. Cats are my favorites and my cat Jasper gives me inspiration to write great articles.

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