What Do I Do with Cat Pooping Around the House?

Updated on October 11, 2010
L.F. asks from Saint Paul, MN
18 answers

I have a 13 year old female cat. Over the past 6 months, she has started pooping/peeing in places other than her box. The vet cannot find any medical reason. We've tried different boxes, litter, etc. Until recently, we could close the doors on the places she would "go" other than her box, and she'd use her box. But her new favorite spot is in my 4 year old daughter's room. We can't keep the door closed all of the time. First of all, 4 year olds just don't always remember to close doors. Also, my daughter will only sleep at night if her door is open. I don't know what to do. I have a baby that crawls all over. I can't have cat excrement on the floor! At the same time, I can't see anyone wanting to adopt this problem cat. She isn't very friendly either. So, honestly, who would want her? I would feel very guilty putting her down, though. I adopted her from a shelter and I feel like I have an obligtion to take the bad with the good. Also, how would I explain it to my 4 year old?

What would you do?

I guess one more thing I should mention is that I can't really make her an outdoor cat. She doesn't have front claws. And in her old age, she doesn't really like being outdoors. I'm sure she would just meow at the door for hours.

What can I do next?

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answers from Sioux Falls on

I recently had a similar problem only with a younger cat. We got a second cat at a shelter, paid over $300 to have him declawed, neutered and microchipped and then he started peeing on my 4 year olds bed. We tried keeping the door closed but like you said it can't always be closed. I was washing the bedding every single day. We loved the cat, he was very sweet but after about two months i was done. he had to go. I took him back to the shelter and they did tell me he would be put down as they would not adopt him out knowing that he has this issue. I felt horrible about it as i do feel that when you take in a pet you make a commitment to take care of them for life but i just had to put my child first in this situation. I didn't tell my child that the cat would be put down, only that he would go to a new home.



answers from Sioux City on

I have a similar problem except my cat is younger. So if you find something that works, please share it. I have tried so-called scent removers that don't work and I've even tried bleach to no avail. There is a product that is highly reccommended, but I lost the name. I think it's something simple, like Stink Gone or something like that.

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answers from San Antonio on

My husband would say to put her down. I would probably agree with him, especially if the vet has no other thought on the matter and the cat is 13 yrs old.

Could you put two or three litter boxes around the house? If your yard is fenced in, could the cat just stay outside during the day? Maybe put a little bed outside for the cat to sleep in?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I've had cats my entire life plus I foster for a local cat group. I'd suggest adding another litter box in your daughter's room or keeping the cat in only part of the house. I had one cat who was 17 and she started to have litter box issues. I tried putting out 2 additional boxes in the locations she was peeing in. It didn't work. So I ended up giving her a room of her own and moved in food, water, and a litter box. That seemed to work well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I sympathize, as I've been struggling with this same battle with my 10 year old female cat. My cat has had issues with peeing/pooping in the house off and on for years, but removing all throw rugs stopped the problem in the past. However, when I was about 8 months pregnant, she resumed peeing in the corners by our front door and nothing stopped her. I used the Feliway plug-ins (pheremone plug-ins to soothe cats) in the past with success, but not this time. I started using non-scented puppy training pads to protect the hardwood floor and make clean-up easier, but that wasn't actually dealing with the problem. It finally stopped when I placed Airwick I-Motion automatic air fresheners in the corners she peed in. The noise and spray scared her away and after a few months of using them regularly, she stopped peeing. Now, we just deal with her pooping by the front door and on my daughter's foam playmat at night. My cats are closed off in our laundry room with a cat door into the garage where their cat boxes and food are during weekdays, because I have a home daycare, so I felt really badly closing her off (and my male cat by default) at night too, but it has been the only solution. I bought a 40" gate which my female can't jump over (she has a bum leg) but my male cat can. She now spends her nights in the laundry room/garage, while my male roams free and still has access for food/litter if he wants it. We left her out last night as a test and woke to poop this morning. While my situation isn't the same as yours, I'm sharing my story anyway as a way to let you know you're not alone. I would try multiple cat odor sprays and deterrent sprays (I had some success with "Dumb Cat") and also try the Feliway plug-ins and spray. The Feliway stuff is expensive, but if it works, it's worth it. You might just have to confine your cat at nights and teach your daughter to close her door during the day. It's not an ideal situation, but it's better than death for the cat.
I WOULD NOT recommend putting a litter box in your daughter's room, as it will just teach the cat that that's an appropriate place to go to the bathroom, on top of the fact that a 4 year old should not be living in a room with a cat box. If that was an acceptable living situation, why not just let the cat continue to poop in her room?
I wish you lots of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I am going through the same problem with my cat who is almost 15. But he just pees and poops in the basement, but I still can't stand it. I took him to the vet and they suggested cleaning out the litter boxes daily, which I do and he has 4 of them, and changing his water daily. Since they couldn't find any medical problem, which was $300 worth of testing for, the vet said he probably has high anxiety due to the lack of attention. So he is now on anxiety medication, fluxotine, sp? It's a daily medication. He's only been on it 3 days, but he hasn't gone outside of the litter boxes in the last 2, as far as I can tell. I don't really know where he's peeing because I can't find it, can just smell it. Yuck!!!!
But if this doesn't work, I may have to put him down. No one will want a 15 year old cat with behavior problems, even though he is very sweet and affectionate. I do worry about my 5 year old and how she would react though.



answers from Portland on

I've had several friends who've noticed similar behavioral changes with older cats – no real explanation besides age. You might try putting an additional litter box in your daughter's room, placed, if possible, right where the majority of "events" have occurred. If that helps, add an additional box in another room or two if the problem persists in other areas, as well. Which may, of course, present the new problem of your baby getting into the boxes….

You might try placing the cat with someone else. My daughter had a similar aging cat problem, and did find an older woman who was happy to have her. Not guaranteed, but you never know. If your daughter wonders where kitty went, explain that you adopted her out because it wasn't safe for her or the baby to have cat messes around.

Hope you find a solution.



answers from Cedar Rapids on

Our 18 year old female cat has also been doing this for a few years now. We used to live in a home with mostly tile, so it wasn't a big issue. But we just moved to a brand new house we built, and I wasn't prepared to surrender my house to my cat. We "built" her a room in the basement with a screen door so she could see out and watch what was going on. She hasn't peed/pooped outside the box since. I know it might be impossible to build your cat her own room, but having an enclosed space of her own may make her feel more secure and in control of her environment. If you can give her a room or a spare bathroom or something along those lines, that is worth a try. I also switched to Cat Attract litter (available at PetSmart) in a new litterbox that wouldn't have any possible undesirable smells. I just couldn't bear to put her down for something that wasn't really her fault, so to speak. Good luck.



answers from Rapid City on

My cat is 14 years old and as cranky as they come. Not friendly at all to anyone but me and my sons. I have noticed a lot of hair balls which some looks like poop, are you sure that isn't what your's is doing? I put hair ball meds in her food and that seems to help. I also changed her from dry cat food to canned and only feed her one can in the morning. She thought she was starving for a while because she was use to having dry cat food available to her all day. She lost weight which was ok since she was overweight anyway and the vet says she is healthy.

You could try a baby gate on your daughter's doorway when she is in bed, to keep the cat out, then teach her to close the door when she isn't in the room to keep the cat out.

Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

There is a product called Feliway that is a calming pheremone for cats. It can help cats adjust to stressful situations and can also help them with litterbox habits. I would give this a try if you haven't already - you can buy a diffuser and use it in a room where your cat spends the most time. We saw a dramatic change in our cat when we started using this - and after a few bottles of the solution we found we didn't need to use it anymore - the change stuck. We use a similar product for our dog and it has helped us through some rough times with her also.

Your vet should have this available or you can buy it many places online. I think Chuck and Don's might carry it as well but you should call ahead and ask.



answers from Minneapolis on

theres not really alot you can do.in cat yrs shes about 100,so you put up with it or put her to sleep.sad but true...good luck



answers from Chicago on

We had a similar issue. We used Cat Attract brand litter in combination with Rescue Remedy, a bach flower essence oil. We gave it to her on her food.

You could also try a cat deterrent like peppermint oil. Put a few drops on the carpet in the doorway of the room. Cats dislike peppermint.



answers from Milwaukee on

We just had the same situation with our 8 year old cat. The problem became so exhausting that I had to surrender her to our humane shelter. I had put this off fearing my 5 year old's reaction. We explained to him that the cat was sick and that was why she was making "messes" everywhere. We also let him know that if the doctors could make her healthy we could keep her but that she may have to go live somewhere else. In the end, the doctors could not find a physical reason for her wetting. It was determined that she simply had a behavioral issue and she could not be put up for adoption. I did decide to euthanize her as she clearly was miserable in our home and it was only going to get worse with our newborn. Plus because her behavior had changed so greatly, I feared how she may react to our brand new baby girl! We were very honest with our son about the cat's demise. We told him that the doctors couldn't make her well and that she went to live with God in heaven. He accepted this with very few questions and there weren't even any tears! I wish you peace with your decision. I know it is difficult, but remember your child's safety is most important!



answers from Dallas on

Hello L.,

Cats and dogs don't like the smell of lemongrass oil. how about you get some lemongrass oil (healthfood store) fill a spray bottle with water and add about 1/2 teaspoon of lemongrass oil. shake the spray bottle and spray an old towell (5 - 10 times, I guess) and put that towel in your daughter's room where the cat peed/pooped. I'd also lay a towel by the entrance to your daughter's room and spray some of the lemongrass water on it too so the cat won't even go in the room. hopefully she has not lost her sense of smell and that will send her back to find her littler box. another idea is to put a very small amount of catnip by her litterbox. good luck! ~C.~



answers from Omaha on

When a cat changes it's normal procedure's, such as you discribed, it normally means they are under a lot of stress or jealousy. It could be that with your daughter now crawling and taking a lot of attention the cat is feeling neglected. Also the age of your cat could be signed of dementia, they do get it just like humans. Two options, try paying more attention to it or have it put down. I had to put down one of my cat's because his habits changed and no matter what we did he would do the same thing. While I cried for days about it I thought of the relief the poor kitty was getting at no longer being confused about life. There is also a kidney condition that fixed cats sometimes get that causes them to excrement where they are. I would double check with your vet or seek a 2nd opinion.



answers from Minneapolis on

Sorry but for both of your children's sake I would put the cat down. There is no way I would want that smell in my daughters room and with a crawler, I can't imagine how you would feel if you saw the baby with the cat's stuff in his/her mouth -yuk! I understand how hard it can be to loose an animal but the kids come first!



answers from San Francisco on

LV - your cat probably started peeing outside of the box because you had her declawed. It's an awful thing to do to a cat - as evidenced by the fact that after having a cat declawed it is quite common that they develop "bad" behaviors such as not using their litter box. I think declawing is one of the least humane things you can do to a cat and can't fathom how someone who considers themselves a cat-lover could consider such a thing... Really, if you love animals you don't declaw them... if you want a fluffy thing for the kids to play with and value your nice, expensive sofa more than the cat and/or don't have the patience or love to find alternative methods to keep a cat from scratching furniture - my methods have never failed - then you shouldn't have a cat in the first place. And I shudder to think of how you'll fail to care for that little animal in the event it becomes ill and in it's old age... Try scratch boards (there are many kinds - cardboard, carpet, etc.) and double-sided kitty tape. But please don't declaw your cat - and if you do, well you'd better be prepared to embrace the consequences - having a depressed cat dealing with post traumatic stress :(



answers from Duluth on

hmm. this is hard because its probably not the cat's fault either; shes old! lots of old mammals lose control of their bodily functions.
some animals tolerate a diaper. you could give it a try.
or talk more with your vet about OTHER reasons, other than medical ones, that your cat is doing this, and ask what other owners of older cats have done.
OR, ask him about previous cat owners whos cats became old.

anyway, point is SOMEONE has had this happen to them, and there are ways to get more information. look online for a random search like "older cat pooping in house" or something like that. see what you can get.

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