The Science Behind Your Cat Pooping on the Floor – Cat Behavior Clinic

Schedule with Cat Behaviorist and New York Times Acclaimed Feline Behavior Science Author, Mieshelle Nagelschneider.

Why is Your Cat Pooping On the Floor?

Oxford-trained, Certified Cat Behaviorist and Veterinarian at The Cat Behavior Clinic Explain the Reasons Behind the “perplexing” Defecation Outside the Box Issue.

Luckily, Cat Defecation Issues Are Uncommon Because it Has Many Cat Owners, Veterinarians and Behaviorists Perplexed.

Mieshell in floral dress talking on TV show | Mieshelle Nagelschneider | Cat Behaviorist |

Cats defecating outside of the box truly is the anomaly issue among all cat behavior issues.  Often times it begins suddenly without obvious instigating factors.  The problem with the problem being uncommon as compared to urination issues, is that veterinarians and behaviorists have virtually no knowledge how to address this issue.  There have been few studies on cat behavior to begin with, and absolutely no scientific research studies on domestic cats defecating outside of the litter box or wild felid studies with regard to defecating in the wild.  Read more here on our cat pooping outside the litter box page.

Gene-encoded Cat Pooping Behavior

Almost every behavior a cat performs is for a reason, and that reason is for survival. Cats have evolved this way over thousands of years.  The cat with the best survival skills, nature selected for over a very long period of time and this is where the word “instinct” comes from — also know as gene encoded behavior.  Cats use pheromones, urine and stool to communicate messages in their environment.

Image of Cat feces | The Cat Behavior Clinic | Mieshelle Nagelschneider | Cat Behaviorist

Even though an uncommon behavior issue as compared to other cat issues, our clinic has helped thousands of cat owners for over two decades get the poop back in the box.

Of course, we want the cat poop back in the box just as much as you do, but we also want cat owners we work with to come away with profound cat behavior knowledge as to why their cat is behaving the way that it is.  Even understanding a little bit more about feline cognition, learning and memory, and feline evolutionary biology can go a long way in helping your cat with other issues that might someday arise.  Understanding why your cat behaves the way it does can help you ensure your cat feels as happy as possible in its environment, and this equates to fewer behavior issues.

How is Cat Poop on the Floor a Survival Instinct?

Unless your cat is middening (marking territory with stool), it’s not a survival instinct (at least not directly).  In fact, the opposite effect can occur. Because stool is not only a strong visual signal to other animals that might be in the environment, it’s also a strong smell signal and can attract a predator or a competitor cat.  If anything, your cat came equipped with an innate behavior pattern  to cover its stool that has been encoded in its genes.

A Few Basic External Factors that May Be the Reason for Your Cat’s Pooping Behavior

  • Abnormal development
  • Social environment
  • Observational/social learning
  • Litter boxes or substrate issue
  • Litter box location issue
  • Your cat has somehow become untrained from defecating in the box (not a habit for the floor – these are two very different scenarios).

Internal Factors that May Cause Your Cat to Leave Poop on the Marble Bathroom Floor

  • Anxiety
  • Genetics
  • Olfactory modality
  • Physical issue
  • Homeostatic adaptation mechanisms to specific situations or stress

Most often we see the combination of both external and internal factors be the cause for for cats deciding the defecate on the floor.   You can scheduling a Phone Consultation to address this issue with your cat.

Contact the clinic phone at 503-267-8888 to schedule a three-part Zoom or phone consultation program to address your cat pooping outside of the litter box issue.

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