My cat's decided it's better to poop on the carpet instead of in the litter box :(

One of my cats Luna has been getting worse and worse in not using the litter box to poop and I’m not sure what I can do anymore. We have super clean litter for her, that we immediately scoop. She pees in there just fine. But when it comes to pooping she just goes on the carpet within a 10 foot radius of the box.

She seems perfectly healthy and normal. No behavioral issues. But what used to be a once every few weeks thing has now become an every single day problem. Does anyone have any idea or suggestions for me?

Also, what’s a good spray for neutralizing cat poop smell? The stuff I’d used just doesn’t work well at all.

I’ve used this stuff:

YMMV of course. The cat might poop anyway because they don’t like the smell of the cleaner or because of completely different reasons. Usually it’s a health reason, so checking with your vet if you can is probably a good idea.

In my case my older, dying cat was peeing everywhere, which is, imo, much, much worse and this worked pretty well. My new cat is a smell detective and he’ll try to bury anything that smells remotely off, which is a great way to destroy ones carpet quickly. He’ll even bury the spot that cat treat was sitting after he eats it. That stuff made him stop once it finished working (of course he tried to bury the cleaner as well because it smelled different, but afterwards he ignored it). And that was on pure cat piss, which is a nightmare to get out.

Oh man. That’s a total nightmare. I had the same problem once before and tried everything to correct the behavior to no avail. I ended up having to rehome the cat because my house was getting destroyed. Not fun.

Anyway, some things to try:
* Try a different brand/type of cat litter
It’s possible she doesn’t like the smell/texture. Buy a variety and try different ones. Try an odorless cat litter if you can find it. Not odorless as in it’ll mask the smell of the poop. Odorless as in, the litter itself has no smell.

* Try using plain ol’ dirt/soil
Replace the cat litter with some fresh dirt from your garden (or a neighbors).

* Try using a covered litter tray
You can buy them with little covers and door where the cat goes inside to do its business.

* Move the tray to a floor with a different surface
Do you have a room with a floor surface other than carpet?

* Extreme suggestion if everything else fails:
If all the above has failed then you can try putting a large amount of tinfoil on the floor underneath and surrounding the litter tray. Most cats hate the feel/sound of tinfoil so they’ll actively avoid it. Of course this also runs the risk of making them avoid the tray entirely.

Good luck! - I don’t envy you this particular problem.

Random cat story:
I’ve always loved cats and been the temporary or full time owner of many through the years. In the UK of course that means that they’ll mostly hunt mice/shrews/rats. I came downstairs one morning in bare feet and stepped on a severed mouse head. Its brains oozed between my toes! :)

I had several cats whilst living in Cambodia. The fun thing there is not mice/rats but lizards and giant cockroaches. You’ve not lived until your cat brings you a giant cockroach as a present :D

When I had the litter box on the main floor bathroom (didn’t fit well cause the bathroom is too small), she wouldn’t poop on the linoleum, but when I’d put a fluffy bathroom mat on the floor, she’d start pooping on that. I had to deny myself bathroom mats when I had it up here. I had to move the box out of there eventually because I couldn’t handle all the litter that ended up on my barefeet and in my socks.

I actually did try foil, but she just starting pooping further and further away to avoid it stepping on it. I’m at my wits end. I can’t give her up, because she has a brother she grew up with here and I love them dearly, I just don’t understand why she does this.

And it’s odd. It’s not like she can’t handle the litter boxes because she pees in them just fine.

They do that when they don’t like the current litter box situation. Are there other areas in the house you can put a litter box in? Get a different litter box with completely different litter and place it in a completely different part of the house. Show the cat where it is and hope it works. But keep the old one where it is as well just in case.

Create a 10 foot zone around the box , and coat it with cat litter. :)

This is always a sign of other problems, at least from what I have read (when I got cats again 5 years ago, I did a lot of reading up on them). Other cats sharing the same box, something in the area the cat doesn’t like, stress, or just the cat decided it doesn’t like the litter. Does the cat have choices on where to go?

Try changing litter brands and moving the box. Are you filling the box enough? Should be something like 4" deep (I use about 30lbs per box). Also how many boxes vs cats do you have? You need as many boxes as cats, +1. So two cats means you need 3 boxes. I don’t follow this rule, I have 2 cats and 2 boxes. I noticed they mostly use the box that has the freshest litter. Also are you cleaning the boxes completely about every month or two?

Do a Google search, there are tons of articles on this subject.

Good luck.

My carpet is beige and my cats have never not used their littler box, but between hairballs, throwing up my spider plant they won’t leave around, or just random sickness (last month won cat at a bunch of can food, and 10 minutes later threw it all up), I noticed my carpet is ruined. There are little marks all over the place where I couldn’t get it completely out. Probably time to get the carpets cleaned. I also need to get one of those little hand held spot steam cleaners.

It’s just part of owning a cat I guess.

My problem cat was an extreme case. Sometimes the behavioral problem just cannot be corrected no matter what you do. At one stage I had litter trays of various shapes and sizes in every room of the house. Nightmare :)

We find this works best for us:

How old is your cat? Toward the end of her life, our 24-year old did exactly the same thing–peed in the box just fine, insisted on pooping on the floor. And in hiding places, so we wouldn’t see it until it started to stink up the place. Some of it was pretty wet and I have yet to completely get it out of the carpet–we are hoping to just replace that entire room. We just tolerated it and chalked it up to senility.

this. I had 2 cats and 2 litter boxes. Always. Some suggest even 3 litter for 2 cats, but I never had the space for it. My old cat started peeing and pooping when she had it enough with life (she became deaf and blind 2 years before). At the end she refused food.

Old cats seems to be a common theme. Growing up we had indoor/outdoor cats. When they got older (~15) they started using the carpet in the house, while they had a box and could go out any time they wanted. It must be an old age thing. Did you say how old your cat is @jpinard?

For what it’s worth, I have a cat who would pee right in front of the cat box until I discovered that he really wanted the litter to be shallow (<1"). If I overfill it, the problem starts up again. So they can have different preferences.

Cats! What can you do… if my cat does not like the food I just poured in, she walks slowly backwards, away from the food tray… lol

She’s 8.

Food is a subject that drives me nuts with mine. One day they like it, the next they don’t. Trying to change their food is asking for trouble. Not to mention one of mine is getting way too big but when I cut back she drives me insane.

Our cats when I was growing up used to drag in kills all the time. They caught snakes, little rodents (moles mostly), and sometimes a small rabbit. Bloodthirsty killers they were!

Cats own you! You should have learned by now

One of our two cats will sometimes poop on the carpet in the entry way, in front of the front door. Far away from the litter box. And once he does, he seems to smell it no matter what odor removers we use and decide that is his new place to poop. No matter how clean the litter box is.

We purchased a spray from Amazon called Dumb Cat and sprayed the carpet with that (after carpet cleaning the carpet) and of course make sure the litter box stays clean (remember cat’s noses are MUCH more sensitive than ours.) Now he’s happily back in the litter box. Cats are weird.