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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21447
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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My 16 year old male cat has started pooping on the floor in

Customer Question

My 16 year old male cat has started pooping on the floor in the house, not in any proximety to the litter box. He has never had this problem before. I have taken him to the vet and she states there is nothing physically wrong with him. Please help.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 6 years ago.
Hi, and welcome to Just Answer.

Is your cat's stool normal in color and consistency, and not extremely hard/dry or soft/loose?

Did you have a fecal sample tested at the vet's office?

Is your cat eating, drinking and urinating as usual? Is he using the litterbox for urination and only defecating in areas around the house?

Have there been any changes in his environment recently?

Thanks for all your additional detail.
Expert:  Cher replied 6 years ago.
Hello again,

When a cat starts eliminating inappropriately, it's either due to an underlying medical cause, or the reason is behavioral. I'm so glad you have already had your cat evaluated in person by his vet, so you can rule out any physical problems.
However, please keep in mind that older cats are typically more prone to elimination problems like hard/dry stools, constipation, dehydration, and decreased intestinal motility; I'm assuming your vet checked for all possible problems.

If a cat experiences pain upon urination or defecation, he will come to associate the PLACE of eliminating--the litterbox itself--with that pain, and then choose to eliminate ANYWHERE else. Cats in this situation usually choose 'soft' materials to go on, thinking this will avoid the pain. Carpets, throw rugs, bathmats, clothing, sofas and beds are usual favorite places. Some cats will prefer the cool hard surfaces of a bathtub, sink or kitchen/bathroom floor, thinking this will eliminate the discomfort.

In order to prevent your cat from returning to the places he's already soiled (if he continues to smell it, he'll keep thinking they are appropriate toileting places), you can use an enzymatic cleaner to completely remove all traces of stain and odor. Nature's Miracle and Zero Odor are among many of the effective products for this purpose, and can be found in most pet supply stores, and online. For more information and to view all related products, please see:

If the stores in your area don't carry these name-brand products, ask for an 'enzymatic cleaner to remove organic pet stains and odors'; your local pet supply stores and/or home improvement stores should stock them.

Cats can also sometimes start eliminating inappropriately if there has been any kind of change in their lives or environment, as this causes stress and anxiety. If the reason for eliminating outside the litterbox is not found to be medical, it would need to be treated as behavioral.

Cats are creatures of habit and do not take kindly to change. If you have had a change in schedule, added new furniture or appliances, got new carpeting, painted or did any renovation around your house, this could cause stress for your kitty. If you have had vistors (human or pet), this can also be a stressor. Feliway/Comfort Zone for Cats, is a cat-appeasing pheromone which can help to calm stressed cats and curb urine marking and/or inappropriate elimination. It comes in both a spray and plug-in diffuser. The diffuser plugs into an electrical outlet like an air freshener, but has no scent to humans. For more information, please see:

This product is available in all pet supply stores and online.

There's another product which I think may help you get your kitty back to using the litterbox--it's a clumping kitty litter called 'Cat Attract'--it contains herbal attractants which encourage use of the litterbox. You can use it alone, or mix it with your cat's regular scoopable litter. It too, may be found in major pet supply stores.

You should have more than one litterbox, if you don't, already. Some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in another. The rule of thumb is usually one box per cat, plus one. If you have a multi-story house, a box on each level is also appropriate and usually prevents accidents, if your cat can't 'hold it' long enough to get to a litterbox. Of course, keep all boxes immaculately clean at all times, as some cats are very fussy about this, too. If your cat's litterbox is covered, uncover it; some cats like their 'privacy' and others like the area to be more 'open'.

If the vet has not yet tested a fecal sample, this would be a good next step.

I hope all goes well, and this problem is resolved for you and your furry boy very soon!

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Best regards,

Edited by Jessesmom on 2/24/2011 at 7:20 PM EST