How to Stop Cat From Pooping Outside Litter Box (Constipated Cat)

Why is my cat starting to poop outside of it's litter box?
by Updated July 19, 2020

Constipated Cat Pooping Outside Litter Box

If you're cat starts pooping outside of its litter box, it could be for a number of reasons, some which may be serious, so always bring your cat to a Vet if you're really concerned. Below I'll talk about a few of the reasons why my cat may have started to poop outside his litter box, and how I ended up fixing the issue.

So my older cat (10+ years old) started pooping outside his litter box on occassion and then started to become more frequent. The reason for this was due to a number of different factors, but by in large the main reason was that he was constipated from eating too much dry cat food as an older cat.

1) Problem with Litter Box Location

Initially, I believe my cat may have first started pooping outside his litter box after he tweaked his right front leg after jumping off my deck. He had a slight limp for a little while, and the injury caused him to not want to walk down the basement stairs to where his litter box was located. To solve this problem, I bought a second litter box and put it on the first floor, so it was more conveinent for my cat to go to the bathroom.

It's often recommended that if you have multiple floors in your house, that you should have a litter box on each floor.  While this is a good rule, I definitely recommend that you at least have a litter box on the main floor of your house where your cat spends most of its time. If the litter box is in a hard to reach place (basement, garage, etc.), an older cat will be less likely to want to travel far to use the litter box, especially when an older cat may need to urinate more often than a younger cat.

2) Clean Litter Box Regularly

Another reason, why cats may start pooping outside the litter box, is because the litter box is not cleaned out regularly. If you are using a clumping kitty litter and not cleaning out poop or urine at least once a day (or better yet twice a day), you really need to start doing so. Having the litter box in a convienent location will help you to clean the box out regularly, and this in turn will keep your cat more likely to use the litter box, as well as to help keep your house cleaner.  Also make sure the litter box is large enough, well ventilated and use unscented kitty litter when possible.  You may also consider using a no scent kitty litter like Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented litter.

3) Constipation Causing Cat to Poop Outside Litter Box

Ultimately, what I came to realize is that the main culpirate of my cat pooping outside his litter box, was that he was constipated from eating far too much dry cat food (and not enough wet cat food). Unfortunately, I made the mistake of only giving my cat wet cat food on occassion, when instead I should have been giving him wet cat food at least once or twice a day. Unfortunately, this decision has led to my cat being recently diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes (So keep in mind, Urinating and Pooping outside the litter box may be signs of more serious problems with your cat). Here some of the signs that my cat exhibited, that showed that my cat was constipated.

Signs your Cat may be Constipated

  1. Cat pooping outside litter box
  2. Cat running around leaving diaharrea like poop trails in various spots in your house (on top of bed sheets, carpet etc)
  3. Small round poop (hard poop balls)
  4. Straining to poop
  5. Making multiple trips to the litter box, without going to the bathroom
  6. Light brown / yellowish colored poop  (Not dark brown)
  7. Throwing up white colored foamy liquid (Not food)
  8. Staying hovered over water bowl and not moving or drinking much water.

Those were all signs my cat showed, before I finally figured out that the problem was that my cat was badly constipated and needed to start eating much more wet cat food.  Also note that cats with kidney disease (Chronic Renal Failure) are predisposed to urinary tract infections and constipation.  Here is a list of wet cat foods that are low in Phospherous and are healthier for cats with kidney disease.

Ultimately, feeding your cat wet cat food (and stopping feeding it dry cat food) will help tremendously with your cat getting over constipation and helping his kidneys. A watery / gravy wet cat food will be a little better than pate' type wet cat foods, but any wet cat food is better than none.

Also using a laxatone, once a day, until your cat gets over his constipation can be a big help as well. Furthermore, giving your cat fiber like 100% Pumpkin will also help.  Lastly, I would avoid giving your cat milk as this will just lead to diarrhea and possibly constipation as well. Most cats are lactose intolerant and as cats get older drinking milk can become harder and harder for a cat to handle.

Lastly, check out How To Stop Your Cat from Peeing Over the Side Edge of the Litter Box



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