Cat pooping all over house.

Dump-Truck-Chan

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My mom and I have nearly reached out wit's end with this cat. We've had him for at least 11 years. He's an older cat.

Anyways. This cat has developed a habit of pooping all over the house. Our house has a main floor, upstairs, and basement. Some of his favorite spots include but are not limited to:

◘ In front of the front door (especially if there's a rug there during winter)
◘ Behind either one of the couches
◘ In front of the toilet
◘ At the base of the basement stairs
◘ Next to the central heating unit in the basement, which vents the smell through the whole house on top of heating it up for added flavor :)
◘ On the far side of my mom's room
◘ In the corner of my room (I keep my door shut now. mom can't because temperature)
◘ Any area rug he can squat over (all of our rugs are ruined, along with an entire staircase of carpet I had to rip up)
◘ Under the living room table

This has been going on for like the past 8 months. He never pees outside the litter box though. Only poo.

We can tell that it's him and not the other cat because I've caught him in the act several times. And his turds are MUCH larger and looser than our other cat's. We've tried every method of discipline we can think of. Punishing the bad behavior, rewarding the good behavior (the occasional times he DOES use the litter box properly). The only thing that works is physically blocking access to his spots. Like stuffing a bunch of boxes there so he can't get in. If he has recently dumped, he can tell when I smell it / start searching for the pile and will run and hide because he seemingly knows he did something wrong. We have 2 cats and 3 litter boxes in the basement. Hell, there was one I saw him shopping around for a spot, and he squatted down and took a crap on the floor while I was standing there telling him NO. He ignored me, pretty as can be, then tried to run past me to avoid punishment after crapping on the floor while I watched him do it.

The only thing left we can think of is shutting him in the laundry room (where the litter boxes are) with a bed, water and food and just having him live there from now on. I really don't want to go to such extreme lengths. Being mean to him breaks my heart, but we cannot have him crapping all over the house, and he's still spry enough to have a few good years left in him.

Does anyone have any idea how we can get this lil POS to stop without resorting to drastic measures?
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
Have you taken him to the vet?
Have you added more litter boxes, and tried different litter?
Can you contain him in a room of his own, with extra litterboxes and tarp or old shower curtains covering the floor etc until this gets squared away? Putting him in the laundry room, or any room, should be considered a temporary measure.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. Pooping outside the litter box - especially since he will still use the box for peeing - likely means it is bothering him somehow and therefore he is avoiding using the litter box in order to try to avoid the aggravation it is causing him. Cats tend to correlate that type of irritation with the box and not the 'action'. By now, some of it may also be out of habit as well. Are you using enzymatic cleaners to remove the smell left behind?

Looser and larger poop could indicate a health problem too. He is 11+ yo and is considered a senior which is when health related issues tend to become more prevalent. When was the last time he was seen by a vet? At a minimum, you could take a sample of his stool to the vet to have a full PCR panel run, which will look for not only various parasites but for a number of bacterial/viral issues as well. Just check with your vet to make sure they will accept a sample for testing without seeing the cat - most will.

The other thing to consider is that the food he eats is no longer 'agreeing with' his digestive system, which might help to explain the size and consistency of his poop. Just because he likes it doesn't mean his system still does.

He runs and hides from you when he realizes that you will find his poop out of fear of being punished. No punishment in the world is going to resolve this issue and in most cases just makes matters worse. And, given his age, the time he pooped right in front of you (and, then ran) is because he couldn't control it and needed to go, but knew afterward he was likely going to be punished for it.

As Furballsmom Furballsmom said, you can confine him to a single room to help out with clean up, but this is only a temporary solution while you try to get to the bottom of what is causing him to inappropriately poop.
 
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Dump-Truck-Chan

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It's just confusing because sometimes he uses the box perfectly fine. Like for the past 24 hours he's been great. As for the vet and cleaning the boxes. We didn't use enzyme cleaners, but we did completely empty the boxes and clean them out in the set tub with searing hot soap and water, then put fresh litter. That didn't seem to help. Or did you mean to clean the spots he's been pooing? Because we haven't tried that. Don't really know what cleaners to use.

Switching his food brand is something we could try, but it has to be a soft food so we can mash it up for him (he only has 2 teeth).

And for the vet.. My grandma works with a local vet shop, and according to her the vets are all booked solid for months due to covid or something. That and we work on a nocturnal schedule. I have no car and my mom is asleep during the day, so we almost never have the time to go out and do stuff. (even grocery shopping is a hassle) On top of not being able to afford any real treatment. I'll make some calls and check around though, definitely.

And iunno man. He was standing 3 feet from the litter boxes when he squatted down and poo'd in front of me. Like he would go pee in the box, then walk 2 feet away and poo on the floor. That's how it used to be. He started off just pooping in the vicinity of the boxes, then branched out to the rest of the house.

Thank you for all of your advice though! It really helps :)
 

FeebysOwner

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There are some cats who get to the point that they don't want to use the same litter box to pee AND poop in. So, maybe he needs two litter boxes side by side to see if that might be the case. And, there could also be a correlation on how full the box is of 'stuff' - that will deter cats from using it as well.

It would be a good idea to use enzymatic cleaners on the areas of the floor where he has pooped, in addition to keeping the litter boxes as clean as possible. There lots of cleaners on the market you could try, but you can look at the suggestions in this TCS article (see link at the end of this post) about removing urine smells - they should work as well for feces too. I have also used a Vetoquinol product called 'The Equalizer' (available on Amazon, as well as other internet sites), to remove urine smells and it works pretty well.

Does your cat and your mom have a good relationship? I am wondering if he senses her frustration and that makes him anxious/nervous which can cause inappropriate peeing/pooping. Has your cat been around your mom less during the 24 hours he used the litter box just fine?

As far as the food, randomly changing it out isn't going to do much unless you have an idea of what ingredients might be the cause of any digestive distress he may have. What foods do you feed him now?

Also, ask your grandma about the idea of just taking a feces sample in for a fecal PCR in lieu of an actual vet visit. If a vet will accept a stool sample without seeing a cat, then there is no need for an actual appointment. Again, this would be just to check for various parasites, but more importantly for bacterial or viral issues that could be part of the pooping problem. The test is not cheap though, so you might have save up for it.

How To Get Cat Urine Smell Out Of Carpet: Effective, Non-toxic Solutions – TheCatSite Articles
 

three4rd

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Unless I missed it, I don't recall where you mentioned prior history, e.g. is this a relatively new problem? Has the 11-year old cat never done this up until the past 8 months? What has changed in that time that differs from before? Any sort of schedule / routine change at home? You don't mention having gotten any other new pets (I don't think?) We had a cat that did this for a very brief time when first getting it, but not once it settled in. Our current cat WAS using a bedroom carpet as a litter box though unbeknownst to us (until it became readily apparent with our daughter starting to wonder why it started to smell like fish in her room). The carpet was unsaveable and I seem to recall a change in litter solved the problem. Not sure though - too many years have intervened.

I wish you the best since that 'cat thinking out of the box' issue is no fun at all.
 
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