Cat poop thread!
October 21, 2007 12:51 PM   Subscribe

One of my cats has decided that the litter box is just fine for peeing, but that the area approximately 2 feet away from the box is the BEST PLACE EVER to poop. We've been using enzyme cleaners to get her smell off of it, but it's not seeming to work. Halp, magical pet intarwebs!

She's been to the vet recently, and other than her bizarre obsessive-compulsive thing (she likes to lick skin off her thigh) in which the medications to stop the problem either don't work or make her a lethargic, unhappy cat, she doesn't seem to have any medical issues. She KNOWS she's doing something wrong when she poops there -- twice, we've caught her at it and even before yelling or anything, she's given us an "oh fuck" look and hidden under the bed, something she certainly doesn't do when she normally poops.

What are we doing wrong? I am fully open to suggestions, the one issue here being that due to our housemate situation, changing the litter box location by more than a few feet would be difficult, and putting the box where she's currently pooping would be impossible (it would completely block the bathroom door).
posted by InnocentBystander to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Could you put newspapers/plastic lining there and gradually move them closer and closer to the litterbox or a more convenient place to poo? It would make clean up easier at the very least.
posted by fermezporte at 12:56 PM on October 21, 2007

When our cat started doing something similar, we got a second litter box and put then side by side. That seemed to solve the problem - e pees in one and poops in the other.
posted by bluesky43 at 1:14 PM on October 21, 2007

Obviously your existing litterbox is inadequate for her pooping needs. I would offer her one more litterbox, of a different type and substrate. So, if you have a covered box w/ clay litter now, maybe add an uncovered box with sawdust litter.

Cats are nutty, and they sometimes develop weird preferences out of nowhere. I maintain 3 different litterboxes for my cats, which is a hassle, but it's still better than cleaning poop off the floor.
posted by Ostara at 1:25 PM on October 21, 2007

Any suggestions on a place to buy a different substrate litter online that won't kill me with shipping costs? I live in the middle of nowhere -- we have no pet stores for a 2 hour radius and our local grocery and discount stores only stock pretty basic Tidy Cat litter.
posted by InnocentBystander at 1:37 PM on October 21, 2007 carries Feline Pine and other alternative litters, often on sale, and there is currently a valid coupon for 22% off good through today (11:59 EST) The code to enter at checkout is PET3467, and the savings should just about offset shipping.
posted by vers at 1:53 PM on October 21, 2007

you might also stir up the litter a good bit when you sift it. it my cat always pees in the litterbox but the stirring makes all the difference in her desire to poop there.
posted by noloveforned at 2:05 PM on October 21, 2007

One of my mom's cats started doing this a couple of months ago, and an additional litterbox solved the problem. Regarding the cat who overgrooms, we had a cat who did that for years, and nothing worked, and he eventually grew out of it. I attributed it to an adolescent desire for racing stripes.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:18 PM on October 21, 2007

My cats prefer to pee in one of their boxes and poop in the other. Some cats are just picky like that. Seconding the suggestion for two litter boxes, and different cat litter. My own cats like Swheat Scoop and Feline Pine Scoopable, which are organic and soft-textured. My younger cat has very dainty paws and will go on newspaper or clothes left lying around in preference to a rough-textured litter.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:29 PM on October 21, 2007

Two litter boxes!
posted by hermitosis at 2:35 PM on October 21, 2007

Seconding the Feline Pine Scoopable; we've used the regular stuff for years but one of ours suddenly developed a fondness for peeing on the bed and laundry. Closing the bedroom door + softer substrate has seemed to make a huge difference. If you've ever stepped on the regular Feline Pine, it's not fun.
posted by mimi at 3:41 PM on October 21, 2007

Some people recommend Cat Attract kitty litter.
posted by iviken at 4:11 PM on October 21, 2007

"Once a cat has marked an area with urine or feces, problem cats naturally regard it as an appropriate area for relieving themselves.
Do all that you can to eliminate any trace of odor from the "trouble spot." Clean it thoroughly with a liquid enzymatic odor cleaner. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners, which actually contribute to the problem because of their urine like scent. Try to keep your cat away from the trouble spot by covering the area with a plastic carpet runner, spike side up, or tin foil (cats dislike the feel of foil). A lemon scented air freshener will also help in both repelling the cat and neutralizing the odor.
If your cat still can’t resist the area, try placing its food there; cats are unlikely to urinate or defecate where they eat. Try using your cat’s own fragrance to your advantage: rub a cloth between your cat’s eye and ear to pick up its scent, then rub the cloth over the problem area. Recognizing its own scent on the carpet, floor, or furniture, a cat may be reluctant to soil the area again. Do this two to three times a day to be most effective."
posted by iviken at 4:17 PM on October 21, 2007 [3 favorites]

Nthing an additional box. Put a second litter box where she's pooping. Over time, gradually move it closer to the other one.
posted by jocelmeow at 9:45 PM on October 21, 2007

If the two-boxes trick doesn't work, try Feliway. One of my cats has pooped next to the box since kittenhood -- I tried Feliway, and it seems to have broken him of the habit. I use the plug-in, in a wall socket not far from the box.
posted by vorfeed at 4:55 PM on October 22, 2007

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