Cat's litter box issues!

To sitters and homeowners,

Not sure if this topic is permissible on the THS Forum, but here goes.

Wondering if we can pick your brains for a moment. Our older cat, who is developing mobility issues, recently has – only on occasion – poo poo’d outside her litter box. She uses the box for pee, but has started to sometimes poo poo elsewhere. We don’t want our sitters to deal with this issue.

Yes, we’ll be talking to our vet about this.

Yes, we’ve done research on the Internet about this, as well.

But in the meantime…

Wondering if any of you who own/owned cats have had this challenge? How do we help our aging kitty to always use the litter box?

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Have you tried using two separate litter boxes? I’ve heard of some cats who use one for pee and the other for poop. Not sure if it’s an aversion that develops with age or what?

Also, I’m just thinking about the timing of the poop choices, is she doing that in a particular place? Is it further away from the litter box? If so, maybe a second box closer to that space might help?

A few other more obvious things to try:

  • keep the box super clean.
  • are you using a different litter recently? Maybe they don’t like it.
  • is it deodorized? Some cats don’t like the strong perfume smell.
  • try lid on, lid off

We sure do appreciate your suggestions, @ Kelownagurl

However, everything you mentioned, we’ve tried! And I am super clean about the litter boxes, always scoop then 2x a day and change them out every two weeks.

We have two cats and three litter boxes, so that’s covered.

Yes, we have moved “her” litter box closer to where the illegal dumping is going on! :laughing:

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I have heard of this before and you’ll be doing the right thing by going to the vet with her. It sounds like she may have dementia or an ageing condition. Good luck!

Hi @KenandMary1998 I’ve moved you question to the “All About Pets” Category to get more engagement and this article from our friends at Great Pet Care gives some good tips which may help and of course as you’ve already said, asking your vet’s advice is always the way to rule out any physical problems.

Thank you, Angela.

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Is it possible that she can’t get into the litterbox easily? I know she manages to get there for peeing, but maybe a lower-sided box would help.

I would also try Cat Attract litter, if you can get it. It really works.

Could the litter be painful for her joints? We had a family cat that did similar suddenly. It was resolved by using softer litter that didn’t bother her joints.
Just a thought.

Great suggestion about the litter. We’ll look into it. This is a sudden change of behavior for this cat, so we’re open to any ideas!

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That’s interesting. Never heard of that. We’re considering all options to resolve this new behavior. Thank you for your thoughts!

Definitely check with the vet. But in my experience, this is simply a mark of old age. I once sat an older kitty for 3 months, and she did poo on the floor quite regularly, but the owners told me she might, so I simply kept an eye out. Luckily, they were just small hard turds and easy to pick up with a kleenex, not piles of mush! Not sure I would have been OK with that.

Thank you for your response. :slight_smile:

Good news! Our older cat’s litter box issues were due to her increasingly bad mobility. So we replaced litter boxes with high sides to those with low sides and voila! She is doing her business in the right places, just like always. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and suggestions.


Thanks for posting this followup, @KenandMary1998 . Glad you figured it out!

Great news!!

@KenandMary1998 that’s great to hear. It’s funny how, as humans, we tend to do the opposite, or at least here in Canada. Many people, especially those who are elderly or less mobile, are replacing their lower toilets with higher ones, which are so politely called ‘comfort height’. :joy:

Yes, @Snowbird that is exactly what we, as retirees, are doing. Upon downsizing two years ago, we installed all new, higher toilets throughout. :smile:

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Thank you so much for the update @KenandMary1998 we are so happy for you but even more for your kitty.

Getting old comes to all of us, it can affect both our mind and bodies, the advantage we humans have is being able to tell our loved ones how we are struggling and why …

Our beloved pets can’t of course and completely rely on us to make their lives easier and more comfortable thank you for doing just that … with a little help from your friends of course :wink: :heart_eyes_cat: :wink:

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