Cat randomly started pooping (now peeing!) right next to the litter box

selpats

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I've been on this site before for my cat's inappropriate litter box behavior. Over the years, she's had everything from medical issues, to behavioral issues, that have caused her to urinate outside the litter box. After her most recent incident, which was probably about a year ago by now, I replaced both litter boxes, and she's not urinated outside of the box since.

My cat has never had issues with pooping outside the litter box. It's only ever been urine. Over the last 6 months or so, she has had multiple incidences where she has pooped right next to the litter box. The first couple times it happened, I was out of town, so I attributed it to the stress of me being gone. She's always been kind of high maintenance, and this has only gotten worse as she's aged. After the first few times it happened, she started doing it more frequently, for seemingly no reason at all, always in the same spot on the rug next to the litter box. I decided to throw away the rug, thinking she could probably smell it and that was why she continued to go there. For months after that, there were no other incidents up until a couple months ago when she started to do the same thing, but in front of the other litter box. I use plastic mats under both of my litter boxes to keep the surrounding area clean. She has been pooping right in front of the litter box (just like last time) on the plastic mat. Just like last time, it started out slowly but has progressed to the point where it's happening multiple times a week. I have never seen her do it, but today I caught her in the act. Later in the day, I ran some errands and when I came home she had peed, right in front of the litter box where she has been pooping. When I found her mess, I cleaned it up with bleach and enzymatic cleaner. I threw away the mat and moved the litter box a foot or so over. I realize it could be medical, but it seems more behavioral to me. I've always gotten good advice on this site before, so I thought I'd try here before I made a vet appointment. It seems like I'm making appointments at least once a year for inappropriate litter box habits and most of the time it turns out to be behavioral. What gives?! I haven't changed anything. She went from being fine with the litter boxes and the set up, to pooping (and now peeing), right in front of it! She first did it with one box, then when I removed the rug, began doing it with the other box a few months later.

Some background on my cat: She is 11 and at a healthy weight for her size. She also has a heart condition. Of all the times I've had issues with inappropriate urination (of which there have been at least 6 in her lifetime) only once was it medical and the cause was bladder stones. We have another cat, who is younger. I had my cat for 7 years before moving in with my boyfriend and his cat. We've lived together for 4 years, and the cats get along well, and I haven't seen either cat guard the box. I know we should probably have at least 1 more litter box with 2 cats, but we live in a small house and unfortunately, we don't have room.
 

mxw1214

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My cat has done this behavior twice (like two separate periods of weeks, years apart. She is 13 and has never really covered her poop in the box. Both times she started going next to the boxes and didn’t stop even when I cleaned the boxes out multiple times a day, I ended up throwing out all the litter boxes and mats they are on top of and scrubbing the area down and that seemed to fix the behavior.
 
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selpats

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My cat has done this behavior twice (like two separate periods of weeks, years apart. She is 13 and has never really covered her poop in the box. Both times she started going next to the boxes and didn’t stop even when I cleaned the boxes out multiple times a day, I ended up throwing out all the litter boxes and mats they are on top of and scrubbing the area down and that seemed to fix the behavior.
Exactly. The litter box will be clean and she still does it. I think I need to take them out back and give them a good rinse off/mop the floors. Hopefully that will help. Thank you for validating my concerns!
 

IndyJones

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Are you sure she's not just hovering over the side? If it is uncovered or very small sometimes this can happen.
 
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selpats

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Are you sure she's not just hovering over the side? If it is uncovered or very small sometimes this can happen.
I’m positive. Her litter boxes are big. Over 2ft long and over 1ft wide. I also caught her in the act today, and she was definitely outside the box.
 
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selpats

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It also has a guard that goes around the parameter that is 1.5ft tall, except for where the door is. It’s uncovered though.
 

mxw1214

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Exactly. The litter box will be clean and she still does it. I think I need to take them out back and give them a good rinse off/mop the floors. Hopefully that will help. Thank you for validating my concerns!
If rinsing doesn’t work you might want to consider getting new litter boxes too. Good luck, would love to hear how you resolve it!
 
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selpats

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If rinsing doesn’t work you might want to consider getting new litter boxes too. Good luck, would love to hear how you resolve it!
Let’s hope cleaning them works because I just bought these litter boxes last year. She’s been using them all this time with no problem, and they weren’t cheap. I went with the breeze system.
 
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