Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Stop a Cat From Pooping on the Floor? 6 Effective Steps

cat-litter

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

It can certainly be frustrating to have a cat that poops on the floor! You may have bought the most extravagant litter box for your feline friend, only to face the disappointment of having to clean up after they poop on the floor or other unwanted places.

New cats are unpredictable when it comes to where they will poop, and it may take some patience and training to teach new cats and kittens how to use a litterbox. However, if you have a litter box-trained cat that suddenly starts pooping on the floor, then it might be a cause for concern.

What are the reasons behind this behavior in cats and how can you prevent it? Hopefully, this article has the answers you need!

divider-cat

Why Do Cats Poop on the Floor?

cat poop on the carpet
Image Credit: schankz, Shutterstock

There are many reasons why your cat may begin pooping on the floor, carpet, or other surfaces. It is best to take your cat for a simple veterinarian check-up as soon as you notice any abnormal daily routine changes in your cat, such as pooping or urinating in unusual places. This can help rule out the chance of a medical condition that may cause your cat’s pooping on the floor.

  • Your cat is sick. If your cat has an infection (such as a UTI), constipation, or diarrhea, then they may begin to poop outside of the litter box. This can happen if your cat feels the sudden urge to go to the bathroom right where they are standing. If your cat has recently started pooping on the floor after using the litter box as normal, it could be a sign of a medical condition that affects their bowels, such as inflammatory bowel disease or colitis.
  • Your cat is in pain. As cats get older, they may struggle to use the litter box. Your cat may also be in pain from a certain medical condition such as arthritis. This can make it difficult for them to move around and use litter boxes properly. If you have a litter box that has a top entry or your cat needs to put a lot of effort into getting into their litter box to use it, then they may begin to poop on the floor instead simply because it’s easier.
  • Your cat is feeling stressed. Most cats do not deal well with stress, whether it be environmental stressors or stress caused by bodily discomfort and pain. New changes to a cat’s environment can make them feel stressed which can cause some abnormal behaviors, such as not using the litter box correctly. Cats can also get stressed if their litter box has been moved or replaced with a different one.
  • The litter box is dirty. Some cats are pickier about litter box hygiene than others. Strong odors from an unclean litter box are enough to cause some cats to poop outside of their litter box. It is best to stick to a strict litter box cleaning schedule so that your cat always has access to a fresh and clean litter box that they can comfortably use without walking on their poop and urine.
  • You have a multi-cat household. Cats enjoy having their own space, so if you have multiple cats in a household using the same litter box, it may cause some cats to act out. The litter box will become dirty faster, which may deter some cats from using it. It is not uncommon for cats to show signs of stress if they are in a multi-cat household, especially if there are not enough litter boxes to support the number of cats you have.

divider-cat

The 6 Steps to Stop Cats From Pooping on the Floor

1. Restrict Your Cat’s Access

cat fence
Image Credit: Sontung57, Pixabay

 

If your cat poops or urinates on the floor, you should cover up or restrict access to the space your cat is using as an alternate litter box. This will help prevent your cat from using that place on the floor to poop on again.

Cats will usually favor a specific spot on the floor to poop on as they are highly habit-forming. Once you restrict your cat from using the place where they like to poop, they’ll hopefully be unlikely to use that spot again.

Alternatively, you can also place a litter box on the area of the floor your cat is pooping on, to try and see if they will use it instead.


2. Add Another Litter Box

If you have multiple cats in a household, it is recommended to have several litter boxes around the house so that each cat can comfortably do their business. In some cases, litter boxes may be occupied by another cat, which can lead the other cat to poop on the floor because they feel that they have nowhere else to go.

You can place litter boxes in different areas of the house so that each cat can have their own space when doing their business.


3. Regularly Clean the Litter Box

Smelly cat poop in litter box
Image Credit: catinsyrup, Shutterstock

Cats will usually refuse to use a dirty litter box, so you must keep the litter box clean and scoop out soiled litter regularly. Some cats may not use the litter box if another cat has used it and left their scent, which can be a problem in multi-cat households. You may want to consider giving a particularly finicky cat their own litter box that only they can use.

You should scrub the bottom of the litter box weekly with a pet-safe cleaning solution and warm water to get rid of any gunk left at the bottom after you have thrown the soiled litter away.

Even if you keep a clean and tidy litterbox, you probably still find yourself with cat odors and stains around the house – but with the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray, you can permanently remove even the very worst pet stains and smells! Click here to learn more and get yourself a bottle.

At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool cat company!


4. Deep-Clean Certain Areas of the Household

Even if you think the floor has been cleaned properly after your cat has pooped on it, there may still be a smell lingering that is attracting your cat to do their business there again. You may need to use stronger cleaning products directly on the area your cat is pooping so that any traces of your cat’s scent is removed.

A cleaning solution of bleach, warm water, and vinegar will help to remove stains and smells from the flooring.


5. Try a Calming Diffuser or Collar

Feliway Optimum Enhanced Calming 30 Day Calming Diffuser for Cats

If you find that your cat is pooping on the floor because they are stressed or anxious, then you can try giving using a diffuser such as the Feliway optimum enhanced calming diffuser which can be plugged in to release calming scents and pheromones.

You can also try the Sentry calming collar for cats, which releases pheromones in a similar way to the diffusers, except it stays on your cat.


6. Cat-Away Methods

NaturVet Pet Organics No Mark! Stops Cats' Desire to Urine Mark

If there is a specific spot on the floor your cat keeps pooping on, you can use a deterrent to keep them away from this area. Most deterrent sprays are for cats who urine mark, but they work well for stopping cats from pooping in certain areas too. We recommend the NaturVet pet organics no mark spray. This spray removes poop and urine marks while masking odors and pheromones so that your cat does not poop in the area again.

divider-cat

Final Thoughts

When dealing with a cat pooping in unwanted places, it’s important to consider why they may be doing this instead of using their litter box like normal. You may want to take them to a veterinarian for a health evaluation so you can rule out any potential medical conditions, and if they’re all clear, follow the steps outlined above.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Tanya-Plotnikova, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets