Cat Litter Box Problems: Going outside the Box

by Katey
(New Jersey)

I just want to give you a small background just in case it is relevent. We have three cats that came together much as the Brady bunch did! I had 2 and my husband has 1. My 2 are very close and have been together since birth. 1 of mine and his did not get along great when we first got married. Now 5 years later all seems well. While they are not the best of friends they get along just fine. They even eat together. All three cats are around the same age, about 9 years old. Two of them are a bit overweight. They get more attention than I should admit since they are our girls!

The problem that we have is that one cat, we don't know which, is pooping outside of the litter box. We have three litter boxes all in the basement. They are all next to each other. I use large storage boxes so they are bigger then actual litter boxes. The legde to get in is not too high though. The boxes are kept clean as I scoop them every day. The poop is always in the basement and never anywhere else in the house. Often it is right next to the litter boxes. When I clean up the poop I always spray the floor with an oder eliminator to get rid of the scent.

Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much for your advice!

First I would like to say I came across your website today when looking for answers and this website is great! It has so much useful information. I will be using it very often!

Hi Katey,

Thank you for your kind words. We all prefer to keep our litter boxes in the most out-of-the-way place, but that's not always what our cats prefer.

The recommendation for any elimination problem such as the one you are having is to have one more litter box than you have cats. Also, have them throughout the house -- not just all in the basement or any one area.

On the other hand, you are somewhat lucky in that the accidents are happening in the basement and near the box. Things could be worse!!!

For that reason, you might want to try leaving them in the basement, adding one, and separating them so they are at various places around the basement, not all in the same location. I would also make at least one of the boxes a regular litter box so the side is not tall even though your feeling is that the current ones are ok. Often when a cat goes right beside the box, it is a definite statement about the box.

For example, some cats are only comfortable if they can put a paw or both paws, either front or back on the edge of the pan. I once had a cat that balanced with all 4 paws on the edge of the pan!

If you haven't tried different types of litters, that's something else you can do. I would also recommend taking a sample of the feces that is outside the box to a vet and have it analyzed under the microscope.

There are other pages and questions and answers that pertain to your issue here on the site. You may find additional helpful information under LITTER BOX PROBLEMS and/or CAT ELIMINATION PROBLEMS.

Good luck. Thank you for writing,
Dr. Neely