Cat Pooping Outside the Litter Box?

Cat Pooping outside the litter box interview Hallmark Channel

Cat Pooping Outside the Box

Cat pooping outside the litter box

Ask Our Cats Exclusively Doctor and Certified Cat Behaviorist:  Why is Your Cat Just Pooping Outside the Box and Not Urination, You Ask?  It’s usually not about the litter box or a habit that has formed.

At least 80% of the time the instigating factor has nothing to do with the the actual litter box.  Your cat is also most likely not middening (unfortunately, there is a lot of incorrect behavior information about cat middening online).  Schedule a defecation behavior consultation and learn how feline evolutionary biology, gene-encoded behavior and multi-factorial internal factors and external factors play a role in your cat’s defecation behavior.  View 274 solved case study reviews and defecation testimonials.  To begin completing the Feline Defecation Behavior History Form, please begin the scheduling process through the clinic website or call the clinic at 503-267-8888.  Receive the reduced consult fee if you participate in our feline study.

21 Most Common Scientific Feline Behavioral Reasons Your Cat Is Pooping Outside the Litter Box (most cats have two or three reasons for not pooping in the box due to causality and cognitive factors).

1.) Four Popular Litters That Create a Conflict for 100% Litter Box Usage (based on feline evolutionary biology)

2.) Untraining From the Litter Box (part of causality)

3.) Being “Hunted”

4.) You Have/Had Guests in Your Home

5.)  You Recently Were On Vacation

6.)  Dietary Changes (brand, schedule, or calories)

7.) Territorial Dispute

8.) Time of Day in Relation to Mood State

9.) System Moisture Level Issue

10.) Feline Hierarchy Conflict

11.) Current Medical Reason(s) or Past Illness

12.) External Noise Factors

13.) Your Cat Also Goes Outside

14.) The Cat Flap

15.) Litter Substrate Cleanliness

16.) Resource location Issue

17.) Urination Motivation Separation Conflict

18.)  Food Location Conflict

19.) Resource Number Issue

20.)  Anxiety About Defecating

21.) Negative Association with Litter Box

There are more reasons than what’s listed here, but we have found these are the most common causes for cat defecation outside the litter box.  Did you know that cats typically do not form a habit for pooping in a specific location (even if they are pooping in a specific location).

Just a Few of Our Cat Behavior Pooping in the Litter Box Successes:

Your Cat Might Need an Oxford-trained Animal Psychologist to Get The Poop Back in the Box.

The first “Cat Behaviorist” in the United States and founder of the clinic, Mieshelle Nagelschneider is the recipient of the Golden Purr Award in recognition of her contribution to the science of cat behavior. Learn more about her studies in animal behavior and animal welfare through Oxford University, The University of Edinburgh – The Royal School of Veterinary Studies, and her experience at Harvard University that has enabled her to help her cat owners understand science behind their cat’s behavior in over 30 countries. Cats are still underserved in the United States even though they have become the most popular companion animal.  Around the world, lack of behavior care and animal welfare is also a major concern.

Our Cats Exclusively Behavior Team Provides Scientific Diagnostic and Treatment Modalities That Change Your Cat’s Defecation Behavior Long Term.
  • Effective behavior plans begin with a clear understanding of how the cat’s brain functions and what their physiological needs are.
  • Behavior modification strategies once the defecation behavior has been analyzed and understood.
  • Strategies that take into consideration cat brain memory and how it relates to the learning process that may have contributed to forming a habit for the behavior is required to end the defecation behavior.
  • Addressing possible social conflict and social learning in the cat’s environment to stop the behavior (external factors).
  • Depending on the reason your cat is performing the defecation behavior, behavior strategies that involve sensitization and habituation may be applied.
  • Associative learning can be an important part of your cat’s behavior plan depending on why the defecation behavior is occurring.
  • Classical conditioning strategies can also be an important component to ending the behavior.
  • If your cat is middening (this would be extremely rare for a house cat) hierarchy structuring strategies and territorial stressor reduction would also need to be implemented as part of the behavior plan.

2019 Defecation Testimonial: “I’m already having much success with (behavior plan removed). All of her stools have been in the box since I started it. Should I send in a picture of a stool covered with litter? How (behavior plan removed).  I’ll send a photo (behavior plan removed) and an update on her behavior to the link. Thanks so much for all of your help. Ann H.  Costa Mesa, California 

Mieshelle Educating Veterinarians Around the World on a “Perplexing” Defecation Behavior Issue Case Study:
Cat behaviorist gives answers why your cat is pooping outside the litter box
Mieshelle Nagelschneider lectures on feline evolutionary biology and why cats poop outside the box around the world and at the Annual Veterinary Behavior Convention in Toronto, Canada. Veterinarians, shelter staff, cat owners, and Humane/SPCA Society CEO’s learned how to solve the most perplexing and unusual of all cat behavior issues: Defecation outside of the litter box. “In the Business of Saving Lives” International Humane Society and SPCA Behavior education Convention, Toronto, Canada (keynote speaker) 2014.

During your phone or video consultation with Mieshelle (or in-home consultation locally with the veterinarian Dr. Jim Shultz DVM), learn what is causing your cat to defecate outside the box.  At least 80% of the time the instigating factor has nothing to do with the the actual litter box.  Your cat may look like he’s just pooping for no reason at all, but if he’s in the 80% majority, there are specific reasons for the behavior. Mieshelle can tell you not only why this “behavior anomaly” occurs, but how to solve it during your consultation.

Pooping outside of the litter box is not a common cat behavior issue as compared to urination.  Compared to other common cat behavior issues, the defecation issue is far too complex and unique to find specific and effective help online.  Popular cookie cutter advice such as just “adding a litter box” or other litter box changes usually fail or give temporary results (usually lasting 1 to 2 weeks).

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box

Nagelschneider Cat Defecation Fact: Kittens generally defecate outside of the litter box for the same reasons adult cats do.  (Mieshelle For Parent Magazine).

Learn How to Stop Your Cat From Pooping on Your Bed, Floor, Sofa, or Just Outside the Litter Box.

The “Cat Pooping Outside the Litter Box” consultation is one of our most common consultations. The defecation program is a one-hour phone or video consult with two 30 minute follow-ups during the 4 week program review period. See why we have hundreds of defecation testimonials. During a defecation consultation, the clinic goes beyond the obvious facts and gives intelligent solutions to solve the most “perplexing” of all cat behavior issues.  Dr. Jim Shultz conducts in-person consults locally only on a case by case basis.  You will also need to email in stool photos prior to your consultation and for the fecal scoring chart observation even if your cat’s stool appears normal to you.

Cat poop on the bed

cat pooping outside the litter box

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box and on Bed?

Cat Poop on Wall-to-Wall Carpet?

cat pooping outside the litter box

Cat Poop on treadmill

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box on Area Rug?

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box on Treadmill?

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box?  In your defecation behavior consultation with our Cat Behaviorist you’ll learn and we’ll also show you:
  • The (behavior method removed) and why your cat’s evolutionary biology and “social glue” may be crucial in solving this and other behavior issues.
  • Why your cat is just pooping outside of the box (urination is not an issue unless your cat also has a urinary issue this will be included in your behavior plan) and how to remedy this issue.
  • Why cats prefer to poop on the owner’s bed or sofa?
  • Why cookie cutter advice is not appropriate for this very special behavior issue (i.e. simply adding a litter box is not going to get you the response you’re looking for).
  • How your cat’s innate instincts directly affect his litter box needs and how you can make the multi-faceted yet simple changes to meet these needs (but this is just one component of a comprehensive behavior plan).
  • The retraining process to ensure your cat defecates in the litter box every time. If your cat falls into the 80% diagnosis and that problem is addressed, then your cat may begin defecating in the box right away (even if your cat hasn’t pooped in the box for 5 years).  The majority of cats begin defecating in the box within 2 to 4 weeks.
  • The latest behavior modification techniques to undo any habituated behavior your cat may have retained (this is the part of the plan many owners leave out and why they fail at remedying this behavior issue).
  • Why social tension between cats and why it can be the cause of litter box issues and what to do about it (hint: it’s not about the box!).
  • The latest scientific strategies to address dominance or scent tension with the litter box.
  • What 4 popular litters to avoid that are top of the list for creating litter box aversions! You will be surprised.
  • Depending on when you schedule your phone consultation, you have the option of taking part in our cat behavior data survey study to help cats just like yours.
Daisy’s Phone Consultation Testimonial: 

Cat Pooping Testimonial:  “Daisy is doing so much better — I’m absolutely amazed.  And you can quote me on that! ;).  The week is packed, but on Saturday, I’ll look into the (advice removed).  If she continues to do fine, I may only do the (advice removed).  A huge thanks to you, Mieshelle, and the staff at the Cat Behavior Clinic!” Susan C.  Long Beach, New York – Skype and phone consultation client

Another 2018 Review — My Cat is Now Defecating in the Litter Box. I am so very grateful for all your assistance and I am sure Gracie is very thankful as well! I am hopeful that we can keep little Gracie on track. I am still extremely thrilled that Gracie has been pooping the litter box all week thus far!!! It’s a miracle!!!  Thank you so much! Charlene R. Ontario, Canada

Cat Pooping on the Floor Testimonials: “It’s week 4 and Grady has been pooping in the litter box perfectly every time! I can hardly believe it! Since week one of (behavior advice removed) and also the (behavior advice removed) even when we went out of town over the weekend which is typically a disaster, we returned home and he’s been PERFECT. It’s really amazing that just those strategies solved this. Seriously, I almost wanted or expected it to be more complicated. All I can say is, thank you, from all of us. You have another testimonial now and I have an early Christmas gift. Cat poop in the box. Who would have thought… Kind Regards, Michael K., San Francisco, California

April 2017 Cat Pooping on the floor testimonial:  I started (behavior advice removed) Bella only (Behavior advice removed) as on Wed. morning, 4/5/17. Her 1st poop (photo ending in #417) all other photos are of her poops – ALL IN THE LITTER BOX, NONE ON THE FLOOR FOR EACH DAY THEREAFTER.  Thank you,  Abe G. New City, New York

Testimonial: “I just wanted to follow-up on Tolstoy’s progress with pooping outside the litter box. The short version is he is pooping in the litter box now…yeah!!! A bit more detail of what’s been happening the last 3 months is that we did start him (behavior advice removed) and he started pooping in the box…it started with 70% of the time, but after about a week, it became 100% of the time. We’re now on about 3 weeks of consistent litter box use. We are thrilled. Thank you so much!! Let us know if you want to do another Skype meeting. We may not have time for the Skype meeting for a couple of weeks, but wanted to start on the (behavior advice removed) if possible. Thanks! Karen H. Cambridge, Massachusetts

September Defecation Testimonial: OMG, thank you, thank you, thank you. I have a cat that never defecated in the litter box. In fact he was my daughter’s cat and she couldn’t handle it any more, so she gave him to me. Tried everything – – multiple boxes, etc. No health issues. Friday after work (behavior advice removed). When I arrived home, I immediately (behavior advice removed). WITHIN HOURS no more defecating outside the box!!!! AND he covers his urine too, something he never did. Just urinated on top of the litter and walked away. Now I have to scoop down into the litter to find the urine and feces. I am telling everyone I know and my relatives and friends are amazed because they all knew about Capers and his out of box experiences (sometimes in the middle of the night stepping on it when they got up to use the bathroom, icky). Just wanted to extend extreme accolades! Barbara K. Forest City, California

May 26th – testimonial: Hi there! I just wanted to let you know that Reuben is now pooing in his litter box! YAY! for the past 2 weeks. I got something from (behavior advice removed). He has stopped biting as much but I’d like to use the last bit of my time to talk to you about that if we can organize a time. Thanks so much for all your help with this! It’s a huge relief. Andrea P. Toronto, Canada

Defecation testimonial just in: Mieshelle, I just wanted to let you know that everything is going perfectly now. It’s been 10 days and he has been pooping in the litter box every time! I can’t tell you how relieved we all are that we don’t have to clean up poop every day. After 4 years of daily poop patrol, we almost don’t know what to do with ourselves. Our seven year old daughter wants to be a cat whisperer now too! Thank you for giving us our lives back! Munchkin is clearly a happier cat which like you said was a big part of the problem. His happiness alone was worth the consultation. C. Cooper and family — Brooklyn, New York

Testimonial just in: — “Poop in the box for first time one day after consultation!”  Mieshelle, Sammie used the box! This is photo of today, and the only thing we’ve done so far is (advice removed). So excited! C. Scott, Illinois (see Sammie’s poop in box photo below).

Cat Pooping outside the litter box solvedTestimonial: — Poop in the litter box for first time 2 days after consultation. “Cooper has actually been going in the box and photos are below”. Sherry R. Jupiter, Florida (See Cooper’s litter box photo)

Cat pooping outside the litter box

If your cat is pooping outside the litter box (no urination issues), you may have already gotten advice such as, “Add a litter box.” Whether your cat is pooping on the wood floor or carpet, pooping on the bed or house furniture, or just pooping everywhere, litter boxes are occasionally just a very small part of a real, long-term solution. Our behavior programs, The C.A.T. Plan,  includes not only training the cat back to the box, addressing environmental stressors and circumstances (this includes the social hierarchy structuring), but also un-training your cat from the unwanted behavior.

That’s how we solved this cat’s (Taffy) problem (note: cats are never spiteful or bad; they don’t have this level of cognition). IMPORTANT: Taffy is NOT bad, and he is not just “pooping”. He’s in the 80% and a descendant of the African wildcat (just like your cat).

From Taffy’s owner after day one of initiating just one piece of the behavior plan: “I expected a nice surprise when I opened the bedroom door, but there was nothing!” T. Whalen  Oakdale, New York 2009

Still asking, “How Can I Get My Cat To Defecate in the Litter Box?”

The cause of your cat’s behavior is critical to understand fully. Is the problem related to territory? How can you be sure that your cat is defecating rather than marking in a territorial behavior called middening? How do you know a secondary problem hasn’t developed like a habit for location or a substrate preference? Identifying the problem(s) makes all the difference between wasting your time and money and getting a real and lasting cure.  Mieshelle Nagelschneider cat behaviorist and Dr. Jim Shultz DVM are here to help.

Testimonial for:  Cat Pooping Outside the Litter Box?

Cat defecating on the floor testimonial for April 14th, 2013 “Tater” — Cathy S. Fredricksburg, Virginia

Here is a further update on Tater: 2 weeks since consultation. We continued all efforts described from week 1 update and he continued to poop outside of the box. Now with the (behavior information removed). However, on Friday night he used the litter box and then again on Saturday night!! Unbelievable, he has not used the litter box in back to back poops in years! We still went forth and (behavior advice removed). We also (behavior advice removed).

Even if you take steps to cease the unwanted behavior, any favorable results are likely to be at best temporary without a plan to Attract your cat to a new behavior. This is where our behavior modification techniques are also crucial to long-term success. We’ll show you how to implement these. The techniques alone are priceless and they are not one-size-fits-all. This is also why you really do need to schedule a consultation with a behaviorist if you think you’ve tried everything and still have no success.  You are not alone — we have even had licensed vets as our clients for the infamous pooping issue!

And then there’s the big one, the Territory: how to create an environment that makes sense to them (after all, we are keeping them in captivity), so that your cats have all the resources they need and in locations that make sense to them for minimal behavior problems. We’ll explain how to set up your cats’ environment to help them structure their social hierarchy the way we do our own cats — a big part of why our clients have lasting success with this issue.

If you schedule a consultation we require a photo of where the defecation is occurring (stool included), litter box areas, feeding areas, and perching and resting areas.

More Testimonials for Solved Cat Defecation Behavior Issues:

“After the phone consult with your cat behaviorist, I immediately (behavior advice removed). It took 5 days to address the actual real problem (yes, she was right), and Sage began pooping in the box like nothing ever was wrong. Mieshelle’s advice is precious and I’m just so glad I called you folks. I thought I was the savvy cat owner working at the shelter all these years, but now I know there is a lot to know about cats!! My vet even looked at me like I was crazy, so he will learn this knowledge soon to help other cats. I think many cats are taken to the shelter for this exact problem and it’s like a silent killer — so sad.” Kind Regards, Karen S. – New York, NY 2011

“I must say that we can’t be anymore happier than we are right now! The vets and staff are amazed that you have fixed this cat of ours. He has been going to the vet for the last 3 years with test after test and now he is no longer ruining our house with urinating and defecating thanks to you! Thank you! I only wished I had called you sooner. I would have saved myself and kitty Jasper a lot of agony, car rides, and money!” Law M. – Napa Valley, California

“Just started the techniques…amazingly, Jerry has used the litter box to defecate! Of course this is AMAZING, since it hasn’t happened in 8 years. Thank you!” Erin A., Reston, Virginia

Hello Mieshelle,  I’m writing to give you an update on Lucy. The wonderful news is that she used (defecated) her box today! After I spoke with you, I made (behavior advice removed) and I got the (advice removed) her temperament does seem quite improved. I also (advice removed). She does like to have (advice removed) those activities when things are going well, so perhaps that is why. She has even slept in the bed a few times which she had not been doing. I think that’s about it for now!  Thanks very much, Hilary P. Brooklyn, New York 2012

To The Cat Behavior Clinic – Well, here is another testimonial for you! I honestly thought Buster would be that one case that you would not be able to solve. I guess I was wrong. Not only has he been pooping in the litter box every single time for going on 5 weeks, he now sleeps on the bed with the other cats where previously he was that odd cat out. I guess you could say I am now over my cautiously optimistic stage and feel like I have a normal cat household, FINALLY!! I didn’t realize how much this problem bothered me until it had completely disappeared. I know this might sound a little cliche’, but I feel like I finally have my life back! Also, on a side note, my co-workers are no longer snickering at me for hiring “the Cat Whisperer”, but asking me for your phone number! Thank you for all that you do. 2013 is now going to end on a “poop-free” note! What a relief… Regards, Stephen M. New York, NY

Just to let you know that all has been WONDERFUL with the cats! No pooping and no more peeing going on upstairs! … Anyway, thank you for saving us!!!”

R.W., Rock Island, Illinois

“Well, it’s been about a week that Hurley has been using the box to defecate. I am EXTREMELY pleased with the results so far.

“There have been no accidents. He goes right in the box. You get another testimonial from a happy client!”

Bill G., New York, NY

“So far Avery has been accident free for almost 3 weeks. I am so excited. Thanks to you! We haven’t had to confine him either. Thanks….”

Lisa N. Alabama

October, 2013: Dear Cat Behavior Clinic, It has been two weeks since we had our consultation to address Cadbury’s persistent non-litterbox pooping and we are *delighted* to report that he has not missed the box since initiating the behavior modification recommendations made by Ms. Nagelschneider. The change in behavior was immediate. In addition to using the box, we have observed (information removed) since implementing the (advice removed) changes. Thank you for your time and help. If there are any further developments we will let you know, but it seems that the underlying issues causing the problem have been successfully addressed. Regards, Mike & Barbara S. (And M&M, Cadbury, and Kokio), Townsend, Massachusetts

January 2014: Mieshelle,

As much as I didn’t want to say “you told me so”….YOU TOLD ME SO! I’ve had cats all my life and never thought anyone could tell me anything I didn’t already know, but you proved me wrong (several times over, I might add) and I have a happier cat family to prove it — and most importantly, the defecation issue was solved in 3 days..! The vets couldn’t help me or all those cat behavior books. but your advice made sense and I’m just wishing I would have called you sooner! Thank you for your astute knowledge and all the work you do in saving cats lives! Dave C. Los Angeles, California
 
 

We’re constantly receiving testimonials for solving cat defecation issues. Ready to get some real solutions for the long-term? Book a consultation now.

Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box? MADDENING MIDDENING, OR JUST A STOOL AWAY FROM HOME?

By Mieshelle Nagelschneider – Random House Publishing

Sometimes a stool is not just a stool. Stools left around the walkways of the home or on a favored sofa or other elevated areas might be a form of marking done by your cat to delineate territory. This “middening,” which usually begins only when the cat enters into social maturity, is to simple defecation as spraying is to mere urination. Middening comes from a little-known English word that derives from the Old Norse term for a dunghill or manure pile. If you type middening into a search engine, it will, maddeningly, try to correct your spelling. “Was it maddening you were looking for?” Just say no. The fact that the search engine thinks you can’t spell, and won’t give you much information on middening in any event, is an indication of how rare middening is, at least indoors (free-ranging outdoor cats midden as much as half the time, but in housecats it’s much rarer). But when it does happen, middening can be synonymous with maddening!

More-dominant or confident cats may midden to send territorial messages. Middening is not only a strong visual signal, visible from a distance, but, because the anal sac secretions that lubricate feces are so foul smelling, it’s a very strong olfactory signal as well. Because cats who are middening are trying to send a message, they usually deposit their midden in very prominent locations so it’s not easily missed by other cats, (aka the competition): in hallways or the frequently walked paths of household cats, near doorways leading outside or to favored rooms in the house, on elevated locations, and near other important pieces of real estate about which a cat may feel competitive. Cats may defecate (rather than mark) in these prominent listed locations as well,but it’s more common for them to defecate in less prominent locations like the corner of a dining room. Typically middening is done away from the core territory of the nesting area’s food and cat beds.  However, a dominant cat who wants to deter other cats may even midden territorially in front of litter boxes or food bowls. You’ll know your cat has tried to cover the stool if you find it buried in clothing or bed linens left on the floor, or if you see claw marks on the carpet near where he left the feces. Cats will not cover a stool if they’re leaving it for marking purposes. They want it to be seen! That said, there are some cats that don’t try to cover their defecation even when they are not intending it as a message. So when you find an uncovered stool by the front door, it can be difficult to know for sure what your cat’s intent was. This is when you need a behaviorist!

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For Clinic Guarantee and Efficacy:  If after evaluating your completed behavior history questionnaire the Clinic determines a consultation would not be appropriate for your defecating cat, the clinic will not hold the consultation and return your consultation fee.