Is your cat peeing or pooping everywhere except their litter box? If you trained your feline friend to use their litter box and they've always done their business there up until this point, you may be feeling frustrated as to why they've suddenly decided to use the rest of your house as a toilet instead.
While investing in the best cat litter box is ideal in the early days of training when you're wanting to entice your kitty to go to the toilet in a comfortable environment, what happens if later down the line you still have all the right kit and yet your four-pawed pal reverts back to peeing and pooping around the house instead? Is this their way of trying to provoke you or is there something else going on?
Well, the good news, according to cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, is that your cat isn't trying to deliberately annoy you - in fact, quite the opposite. Going to the toilet outside of their litter box when they've been litter box trained is your cat's way of signaling to you that there's a problem that's in need of your attention.
Galaxy believes that this behavior is usually the result of one of three underlying causes, which he outlines in a TikTok video that has been viewed more than 200,000 times. You can watch the video in its entirety above, but here's a summary of the key points you want to be aware of:
1. Your cat is unwell
"This is the most important one - there's a physical reason," explains Galaxy. "It's pain, it's discomfort. If your cat is doing something they've never done before, go to the vet."
"Number two would be avoidance because of surface preference. So whether the litter is that pointy kind like those crystals, whether it's full of dust, whether it's scented like posies, then just change the litter and see if that helps," advises Galaxy.
If you sense that the change in your cat's toileting behavior might be the result of the litter you're using, we recommend checking out our guide to the types of cat litter, which breaks down the different varieties available so that you find the right one for your feline friend.
3. Territorial insecurity
"Whether it's insecurity about cats that are outside, so your cat is marking around doors and under windows, or whether it's because of other cats in the house making them insecure so they go outside [the litter box] as a way of trying to claim territory, it is a cry for help."
If you're currently struggling with this issue, we recommend speaking with your vet first, who will be able to rule out any underlying medical issues. You might also like to check out our guide to a cat peeing outside the litter box for more information on how to stop this behavior.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past three years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with a very mischievous Cocker Spaniel and a super sassy cat, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.