Litter Box Problems With Older Cat

Q. My 15-year-old cat doesn’t want to use the litter box anymore.  We’ve taken her to the vet and she’s checked out okay; he says it "just happens when they get older sometimes."  We do have another, younger cat, who seems to intimidate her, and I wonder if that may be part of the problem. Does anyone have any ideas about how to get her to stop doing all her business on the floor?

I work with a humane society and there are several things that you can try.  First it is important to take an inventory of any recent changes in the house.  Is the cat responding to something different in her environment?  The younger cat could definitely be a problem.  Sometimes just giving the older cat extra attention helps.  Make her feel that she is more important than the new guy.

How many boxes do you have in your home?  It is always good to have a litter box for each cat.  If you only have one box you may want to consider adding another one or two.

Have you changed the brand of litter lately? This could cause problems.  There are some litters that cats like better than others.  If the litter is scented, the cat may becoming sensitive to this.  You could experiment with litters and see if that helps.

Is the litter box in a place that is difficult for her to get to?  As an older cat, she may be having a harder time getting around.  I have an incontinent cat.  He uses his box, but has accidents in his sleep. Could this be a problem or have you seen her when she goes outside the box?  Also, is it only urine which could have something to do with a weak bladder, or is she also pooping outside the box?

Is your litter box covered?  You may want to get rid of the cover as some cats are sensitive to the smells as they can be really strong inside the enclosed box. 

How often do you change your litter?  Changing it more often may help.

Those are just a few ideas.  Without knowing exactly what your cat’s patterns are, it is difficult to give you more specific suggestions. –Jill

We have 4 adult cats and 1 10 week old kitten.  We found the best way to keep the younger one from spooking the older one.  We placed a small bell on her collar and this way she can’t sneak up on them.  This is a big help.  Now everyone is happy and getting along just fine and no accidents.  Sandy

My roommate and I each had a cat.  They had lived together using one box for several years.  They each, at different periods during their time together, went through the same thing.  We decided to set up separate litter boxes for them and that worked out very well. 

Try using two litter boxes.  Put the litter box for the older cat in a separate place that the younger cat doesn’t have access to.  To acclimate the cat, try and sequester the older cat in a room with the new litter box.  Once the cat begins using it regularly, you may re-introduce the cat to the rest of the house.  However, you should continue keep the other cat away from the new litter box.

Another problem might arise if you have changed the type (scoopable versus regular clay) or changed the actual box.  Perhaps you are using a new cleaning solution for the box or around the box?  Cats are highly sensitive to change.  Even if they seem to go along with a major change at first, they may mount a rebellion down the road.   Best of luck!

Try getting a second litter box, and placing it where the messes are (unless they are right next to the litter box).  If they are, try placing it in another room.  If your cat has arthritis she may have trouble jumping into a high-sided litter box, so this is something else to consider.  You also might try changing brands/type of litter, she might have trouble with with a scent or texture.  Good luck!

I have been reading a book by Dr. Nicholas Dodman titled "The cat who cried for Help".  The book has a chapter specifically geared for this problem. It covers many aspects to this problem, from behavior modification to medication. I do believe that the new comer to the house hold is a problem. Many vets don’t deal with the psychology of animals. I hope you can find your solution. Check your local library! Sincerely, Kate

The older cat might not want to use the same litter box as the younger one, or yes, she may be intimidated by him or her.   Best thing I can think of is to use two or more boxes, so that one is always available to the older cat. Also, is she a bigger than average cat?  You might want to get her a bigger litter box, in case it has become uncomfortable for her to "assume the position" in cramped quarters.  My cat quit using his box, after being a very clean cat since I’d had him.  I couldn’t figure it out.  Well, he had just gotten too darn LONG to be comfortable.  As soon as I got him the biggest box on the market, he reformed.  (Bailey is a Maine Coon, and they grow forever…at least till they’re about 3) Hope this helps, Helen

I have two cats.  One male and one female, the female is younger.  When she hit what the vet called her teenage years she started being demanding to our male older cat.  Anyway the vet suggested two litter boxes with one available for the male to get to.  We also have seperate food and water bowls for them.  This helped our male.  He never stopped using the litter box, but it helped having the extra one for when the female was being rude to him. Try that it might work for you. –Cassie

If your two cats share a litter box, you might try getting another one. I’ve heard it recommended that a person provide one box per cat, so maybe this will solve the problem (if the older cat is intimidated by the younger cat, maybe you should put the boxes in different locations, giving her two options instead of just one). Your cat is getting up there in years, so I hope you can find a solution to the problem. Good luck!  Brenda

I assume your vet checked urine and blood samples to make sure no bladder infection or kidney or thyroid disease were present.  If these checked out OK, I would suggest getting an additional litter box and placing it somewhere your older kitty can easily get to it.  Cleaning any spots in the house that she has used for her bathroom duties with a good enzymatic cleaner (ask your vet) should help to keep her from going back to these places.  And keep and eye on her; look out for any other behavior changes.A cat this age should have blood and urine checked at least once a year, if not twice, to make sure kidneys and thyroid are working right!  – DVM in Illinois

Having had cats all my life, I have experienced this. I have had three that lived to be 15-18 years old and offer solutions that solved my problem. One, have the cat checked by another veterinarian.  Two, make sure the litter box is CLEAN – cats do not like to use dirty boxes, just as you would not want to use a commode that had not been flushed. Three, stay with the same brand litter. If you have switched to something completely different, they may not like either the smell or sound (such as the new crystals).  I have also found that when introducing a cat to the new crystals, mix your regular cat litter half/half with it for a couple of weeks until they become used to it. The crystals are sharp and hurt their feet; they also do not like the noise of the crystals when first introduced to it. If the above fails, try keeping that particular cat separated from the younger one for a while. If you have a room, nice comfy bed, and clean litter box in one room, try placing a screen door up for a few days (and cover the floor/carpeting with plastic for a few days to see if it will return to its litter box). You should use a screen door so it can see you/your family and not feel isolated.  This worked for me.  My major points, however, from experience, would be clean litter boxes (one for each cat) and a "second opinion" from another vet.  Good luck.

Your kitty is mad. Sometimes we cats can only communicate by "thinking outside the box" Your kitty #1 does not like kitty #2 invading her territory. Maybe if you tried two separate litter boxes…and separate places to live…well at least separate places in the house. We kitties like our own separate turf sometimes. A Geriatric cat deserves some special TLC so maybe some special treats and extra ear scratches or whatever kitty #1 likes will let her know she is still the number one kitty in your house and your heart. Purrfectly yours, Cleo the Cat.

We had a similar problem and gave each cat their OWN litter box in a different location. The problem cat just didn’t want to share a box with the "new kid". We bought a covered box which gave her some privacy and security since the new cat would often jump at her in the litter box.

I’ve had elderly cats and young ones at the same time. Sometimes elderly cats develop arthritis and the high sides of the litter box make access difficult.  You might find a box with lower sides or cut a small opening in the side of the litter box so that entrance/exit is easier for your cherished friend. Another thing that I’d found is to have MORE litter boxes as the cats age. First of all, she may feel safer in different location that her younger pal’s favorite littering spot.  Also, again, sometimes convenience becomes more necessary as it’s difficult being old.  One last thought would be to place the litter box in a position so the cat can quickly see any others coming in so she can exit if she chooses to avoid confrontation. This is especially important since by 15 many cats begin to lose hearing and eyesight so they feel much more vulnerable. Some cats like the covered boxes for privacy, others prefer to have a variety of exits…..it might not be a bad idea to get a covered litter box for your 2nd box and then remove the cover (they generally have shallow pans) if she doesn’t like it.  The last thing is that older cats urinate more frequently due to failing kidneys. Try to keep the litter box as clean as possible, perhaps adding an inch or so of fresh litter daily as you scoop away the soiled litter. Much luck to you and your beloved pals, I know how much they mean to us (and how difficult it is when they have a problem) –Annette

My sympathies – my 17 year old cat uses the litter box for urine, but only occasionally for solid waste. Because she moves slowly, she doesn’t make it to the litter box for solid wastes – sometimes it is right in front of the litter box. My vet said there were several alternatives. 1) Have her put to sleep – not an acceptable option for us. 2) Confine her to tile areas – difficult but we try. He said that along with the arthritis in her hips,  she is losing bowel control due to age and associated problems with hips. So twice daily we track down the small pile and clean it up. I have no small children at home (the cat predates my youngest child by a couple of years only) so this is an option for us. Since she doesn’t jump well anymore, we use baby gates picked up at yard sales to keep her off the carpet. I wipe up with a disinfectant solution and then use vinegar water to mop with. Good luck. Mary

We, too, have been experiencing some broken litter box training with our 13 year old spayed female cat Cami.  She has indeed been intimidated by our 3 year old, also a spayed female Torri.  We weren’t sure if it was old age or the tormenting once we found that Cami was using the living room floor as her "litter box," but then we saw Torri laying in wait for her under the kitchen table or on a kitchen chair.  She was "ambushing" her as she went through the kitchen on her way to the laundry room where the litter boxes are kept. Consequently, Cami would stay in the living room and then do her business in there.  Even with both of us working full time, we made sure that Cami was able to get to the litter box safely at least twice a day.  To do this, we carry her to the laundry room and then make sure Torri cannot get near her.  In the evening, once she is finished, we carry her back to the bedroom where she usually sleeps the entire night.  We have even gone as far as putting a bowl of food on a plastic placemat under a chair in the dining room so she will be able to eat without Torri terrorizing her.  We had noticed that she was becoming very thin so we had concluded that she wasn’t even making out to the food bowls due to the wild critter who was after her.  This seems like a great deal of effort on the humans’ parts, but we don’t mind as long as it keeps peace and the floor clean!  After all, these innocent animals give us their love unconditionallly day after day, so it is the least we can do for them.  [By the way, we have 3 other cats in the house along with these two and everyone seems to go along with this plan quite nicely.] Good luck!!! Eve B.

Usually when cats won’t use the litter box, there is a medical problem.  I had a cat that would urinate all over our apartment.  It turned out that she had diabetes and "crystals" in her bladder.  Maybe you need to go to another vet.  Hope this helps.

We had the same problem with our older (14 yr.) cat.  We solved it by putting her in one of our bathrooms with her food, water and a very clean litter box.  We had to leave her in there for 4 days, but we stayed with her and loved on her so she wouldn’t feel forgotten.  It worked well, and she hasn’t had an accident since.  Of course, you will need to use another litter box for the youngster, but it might be worth the try. –Sandy

68 thoughts on “Litter Box Problems With Older Cat

  1. Ivy says:

    my 10 yr old female cat George has decided in the winter especially she is indoors 90% of the time and she is indoor/outdoor. she holds her BMs until it starts to come out as she trys to make it to the box. I even have 2 boxes she only uses one. nothing has changed, she hates and hides when her father and I argue. we r now at nite putting her in a nice basement alone and leave her out in the morning. my hubby can be very loud and very stern. always was though that hasn’t changed. I hate seeing her have to go downstairs. it worked then today she left a trail from the steps to the box. I don’t know how she kept all of that feces in her. ty

    • julia says:

      Hello Ivy,
      It sounds like you love your kitty very much. For that reason you might want to consider providing her with a more peaceful home. Cats are incredibly sensitive creatures and are highly affected by their surroundings. If you and your husband argue often, I would imagine your kitty is quite traumatized. It will become more and more difficult for her to handle this kind of energy around her. She is probably very fearful and confused as to why she is being put in the basement when more than likely it stems from the arguing in the first place. She is also getting older and could have a serious health problem that is not being treated. If you really love her you would find a home that is calm and with someone who will take her to the vet when needed. It is horribly unfair for your husband to forbid you to seek treatment for your possibly ill family member. Please find a way to help her. She depends on you and has no other choice but to do that. I wish you and George the best. >^..^<

      • Paul Stephenson says:

        My 17 year old cat just peed outside the box twice.She has an eye infection that is new also.and her behaviour is that of a sick kitty.I am a 58 year old logger and am broken down to crying to see my baby girl like this and I think the worst of renal failure.The litter box is clean and no change to the medium used so I removed the lid and put a small step outside the box to make things easier for her I will take her to the vet tomorrow.
        Jagoda (my cats name) gets tro the box but pees outside so the bladder control seems better than I thought. I am so worried and scared she wont make it.

    • Harmony says:

      I have a 5 month old cat he’s in an American short-haired he’s a boy and he won’t use the litter box I can’t figure out why he wants to go to box so you guys can give me some tips my dad is trying to throw him outside and he’s only 5 months old and if anyone can help me with him the amazing again his American short-haired he’s loving sweet he knows all the other things like eating and drinking and running and walking and playing he has nine I have nine cats and he’s the only one I’ve had to this problem with so if you can help me please help me out my dad my dad is trying to throw my cat out he’s not going in the litter box he’s going on people’s clothes he’s going in baskets going on the floor if you can help me please tell me

  2. Ivy says:

    what r your recommendations for this issue. I feel so deeply sad for her, and he wont leave me take her to another vet. she was there in Nov. except I had no stool sample and I cant retrieve a urine sample, unless I take a clump up. please help she is so pathetic looking and I as all of us do I just LOVE her so very much. ty a desperate mother.

    • Nori says:

      You won’t do anything unless he gives you permission? He won’t stop yelling?

      You have bigger problem than cat poop.

      My 18 yo cat has this week started pooping on the afghan we put on the top of the sectional where he likes to sleep and that we put there to limit the shedding. Last two days he has also scratched the afghan into a pile to bury the poop as he does his litter, but then pooped more on the top of the sectional. He uses his litter for urinating and sometime for pooping during the night. He is Siamese, very vocal and getting more so. We adopted a dog a month ago that has never lived with cats, has been very interested and initially aggressive but for older cat has laid off for two weeks before this out of box pooping behavior and dog now notices old cat but leaves alone.

      We think old cat is just aging. He gets up in the sectional by himself and down by himself for food, water, litter, brief foray outside on nice days. He and his bro were 16 when they were surrendered and we adopted. Bro passed a year later and our old guy adapted well to extra comfort and attention. But he’s just changing now.

  3. TheFrugalLife says:

    Hi Alice,

    I did some looking on the internet and found this article
    http://www.paws-and-effect.com/html/pawsandeffect4.html

    that goes through a list of the minutest changes in the household for consideration and this article talks of medical reasons.
    http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/physical-ailment-could-explain-why-your-cat-poops-outside-the-box

    On our pet website we sell a product that does a great job removing pet odors and it is guaranteed.
    http://www.healthypetcorner.com/pet-force-urine-and-stain-remover/25-pet-force-combo-package.html

    Hope that helps!
    Randal

  4. Kellie says:

    My problem is totatly different and I can’t find anything online that will help. On some days the arthritis in my 14-year-old cat’s back legs must be worse than others. She is in her litter box, but doesn’t scooch down enough to urinate in the box and it sprays outside. She already has two boxes. One with high sides – the other does not – but it happens in both. For the first 11-years of her life she had a covered box, but then suddenly refused to use it. Once I removed the cover, she did. Any ideas on what I possibly can enclose around all sides of the litter boxes to try to eliminate her ruining my hard wood floors any more than she has. I already put the little boxes on piles of garbage bags, puppy pads and surrounded them with more to protect the floor, but it’s not enough. Other than this, she is a pretty healthy cat who still plays with her brother dog – she just doesn’t scoot down far enough in the little box.

    Help please.

    • Diane says:

      I haven’t been able to find any information about this problem anywhere either and it’s exactly the same as yours. My thirteen-year-old arthritic cat doesn’t get far enough into the litter box and ends up urinating over the side. She also poops unpredictably. Once I caught her in the act and she didn’t even squat; just let the poop fall where it would. I’ve had to cover my entire hallway with puppy pads because that is her chosen spot. That is the best I can do to save my carpets and hardwood floors. We honestly haven’t seen our carpet in more than a year except when we clean up. My husband’s tired of this arrangement and wants to get rid of the cat. So if anyone can offer a solution, I’d be interested in hearing it.

      • TheFrugalLife says:

        Hi Diane,

        There isn’t an easy answer to this question. Once a cat gets used to going in a specific spot they will keep going there unless you can remove the scent. Especially, if the cat is arthritic because like an arthritic person they want to save their steps and energy. When they can’t squat they are just so stiff that the limberness in their joints has gone away.

        Most products for humans can be used in your cat just Google the ingredients to make sure there isn’t a problem. White willow bark is a definite one to avoid. Also, their food like with humans can have adverse effects on the body especially if they are getting colorings and preservatives. If you were to do a search I am sure you could find some more testimonies connecting their food to arthritic symptoms.

        We just went through this with our 19 1/2 year old FIV cat. We had a cat door to her litter box and she began to not want to go through it because she had to step up. Then when she got to the box she wouldn’t go all the way in and her urine would go outside of the box. We don’t use medicine very often so don’t know if there are drugs to help a cat or not with arthritis. We tried herbs for her joints and she was able to get better for a period of time but then the other deterioration of her body caught up with her. Alas, we had to put her down because we could see in her eyes she was “just here” but not living.

        After we began the rebuilding process in our lives emotionally and physically we found places where she had urinated without our knowledge. This had been going on for a long time which convinced us even more she wasn’t feeling good for a long time. We have been reclaiming those areas using a product called Pet Force. You can see it on our website at http://www.healthypetcorner.com

        We have taken great comfort in the fact that we will see her again and she is now pain free waiting on us.

        Hope this helps,

        Randal

        • Diane says:

          Thank you for your input. I’ll do what I can to make my cat more comfortable. I appreciate that you went through the same issues. I am sorry for your loss but you’re right; your kitty is out of pain and you will see her again. Peace to you.

          Diane

      • cat from hell says:

        I am a general contractor. use the sticky rolls of carpet protectant ,. they’re approx 2′ wide rolls of one sided sticky clear protectant for carpeting. i use this for jobs to protect the carpet. it lasts up to a few months(change it out ) and looks nice and clean and clear, you can still see the carpet. easy for accident wipe ups and holds water. not meant for hardwood though. about $15 in the carpet section of lowes or depot.

        I’ve used it with my 16 yo siamese with this similar problem. helps a lot while still looking half way decent. i only used it on the areas she was targeting for the bathroom drops.

        the claws can start to puncture holes thru but still is the best solution i’ve found.

    • Shirley says:

      I have a 21 yr old cat doing the same thing. I purchased a large, flat oil pan at an auto parts store and put the litter box on it. Any misses are on the pan. It has saved my woodfloors??

    • Sharon says:

      I used cardboard for the 3 sides high enough to prevent spraying. I also used Fisk tank background taped to the cardboard so it wouldn’t soak through the cardboard. No more pee over the sides now since I put the cardboard/plastic liner on the inside of the box and again taped it to the outside of the box to keep it in place. 2 cats and 1 isn’t using the litter box at all anymore in the last 3 months or so. The 1 cat who does use the box doesn’t squat either, she seems to want to stand to go.

  5. Karen says:

    I have 4 cats. A 16yr old female, 14 yr female, 7 yr female, 3yr male. The 14 yr old stopped using the box. She stays upstairs most of the day. Very skitish and afraid of the male. My 2 daughters moved out of my house in January. Now she never sees them any more, and basically sees me only at the end of the night. She has her own litter box up there now because she stopped coming down to use the box during the night.Started to use area rugs, I got rid of them, put a litter box in one of the bedroom with a large towel under it, she pees on the towel (part that sticks out.) What do I do. I love her, but she is ruining my floors. I think my daughters not here any more has a big part in it. But the day I put the area rugs down, thats when she started to do it, about 2 weeks after they moved. Before all this occurred with my girls moving out, I would carry her down to one of the boxes every night to pee and she would, now she just jumps out because she already has gone on my rugs. HELP

    • rob says:

      Get a large rubbermaid tub and cut a “u” shape hole in the side. It will likeley be bigger than your current box and have high enough sides. Just cut it down low enough at the entrance.

  6. Kayla Talbert says:

    My 11yr old female cat will hold her urine and poop all day until I carry her to the room her litter box is in, she will then pee and poop and run back to the kitchen and living room, she pees a normal amount and doesn’t act like she’s sick at all, should I be putting her litter box closer to the living room?is that sometimes normal for cats her age? She doesn’t have any joint problems I know of, still can jump on the counter and jumps from counter to counter and follows us all around those rooms just basically won’t leave those two rooms.
    Thanks,
    Kayla

  7. Amy McIntyre says:

    My diabetic cat is my sweet baby.. she is 14 yrs old.. She gets insulin twice a day but still drinks way to much water. But that isn’t the issue.

    My issue is she uses the liter box just fine to poop and moves to the back of the box to do it… but when she pees she gets in and doesn’t turn around .. just jumps in and pees.. but she isn’t crouching low enough and the pee comes out of the entry door. I have put an extra small box with a small amount of litter to catch it but she just can’t crouch low enough.

    I have changed to a box lid to see if that will help and sometimes it does.. but that got to be a pain… and in the long run didn’t work. So maybe i’ll go back to the dome type box that has a ramp and easy access.. but then the pee just goes down the ramp. lol I love this baby and she is trying to do the right thing so I can’t be mad.

    Any suggestions on box types?

    • TheFrugalLife says:

      You can make your own out of a storage box and make the walls the height you need and don’t have a door. Set it up so she can just step into it. Our cat was doing the same thing because she was too stiff to crouch down it seemed. Here is a link to what I am talking about.

      You can get different sizes depending on the size of your cat. Hope that helps.

  8. Barbara Floyd says:

    Our 18 yr old cat does not have to share a catbox with other cats. He recently had teeth pulled and a mild UTI. This cat has never had catbox issues before! Now, he will poop in the box but pees right in front of the box. I’ve tried everything. His personality has changed also. No longer loving and affectionate. What can I do? He’s a really good cat but this is unacceptable behavior.

  9. Jessie says:

    I have a very old cat my family got a very long time ago. She is probably around 14 years old at the minimum. This has been going on for a while were she does go in the litter box but she will also go outside of the litter box close to it but not on any carpet, her litterbox is in the basement. She goes once in it then stops. Shes never had problems like this before. My mom is extremely impatient and said that if the cat isnt going then she will. She refuses to listen to me about taking her to a vet to check if she has any problems. Is there anything i could try to see if i can get her back to normal? It needs to be quick, my mom is trying to convince my dad (the one whos actually attached to my cat) to put her down cause shes a dirty cat, and shes almost got him convinced.

    • TheFrugalLife says:

      We had a cat do something similar and on watching her we realized it hurt her to turn around in the box or to squat down like she used to do. This seemed to be due to arthritis of her joints.

  10. Richard says:

    I found this thread because my 15 year old has stopped using the box. But she has another problem, she’s blind. Normally that doesn’t hamper her; she knows the house better than I do. But lately she began not using the litter box. She was peeing, always in the same place but I shampooed, used copious amounts of urine remover and “roped off” the area with string. That seems to have stopped it. But she still #2s outside the box. We keep the litterbox in the powder room which is accessed by a short (3ft) hall way. She goes either in the powder room or in the hallway just outside the powder room door. Incidentally, we have hardwood floors. The other day I found poo in the pantry hallway just opposite where she usually goes. When she goes I clean the floor thoroughly but she doesn’t stop. She knows where the litter boxes are. What’s the best thing to use to keep her away from the places she uses? Thanks

  11. Carol says:

    18 yr cat w/kidney and thyroid issues
    Couldn’t squat to pee. Vet said its
    Hard for the elders to squat. Tried a lot
    Of things but she would stream out
    Of the litter box. I put a low cat box in the
    Bottom of the plastic dog house with no top
    And she still misses but it’s caught in
    The dog house bottom. I spend extra time
    Cleaning but no peeing out of the two
    Box combination. Still looking for other
    Solutions

  12. shannon says:

    I have a 10 year old male cat who used his litter box every day, but the other day my husband caught him squatting and pooping on our carpet by the front door. After that he’s been using his litter box just fine. About a month later I found poop on the carpet again and in the kids bedroom. It didn’t look like he used his litter box at all for a few days. I did change the litter recently, and not sure if that was the problem. He’s a big boy and we placed his litter box in a corner. But again, he never gave us any problems until recently. Any advice?

  13. Christy Brown says:

    I have a 20 year old cat he half uses the litter pan and poops all over our house and spraying to my mom don’t want him doing that it’s makes me feel sad.

  14. Barbara says:

    My elderly Molly has started peeing when she sleeps on the sofa where my son sleeps. My son is very angry and I don’t know what to do today. It is Sunday and I can’t afford an emergency visit to the vet.

  15. Patricia says:

    I have a sweet older cat she is around 17 years old she over the last two years has gotten cataracts on both eyes, sleeps a lot in the last two months she has started using the bathroom outside the litter box first it was peeing in my shower then on the bed now she has pooped under my granddaughter’ s bed last week tonight she did it on the kitchen table . The litter box is always cleaned and I know she goes in it could it be she is just very old and what should I do I have two young granddaughters who live with. Nothing has changed in the house in the last five years .

  16. Dee says:

    My 19 year old kitty refuses to go in the box – she’s been doing this for years – I keep potty pads down next to the litter box – she’ll hit those – does not bother me until I have friend watch house while I’m on vacation ? all I can say is “at least she’s going in the right room”
    My Bandit could be doing her business all over the house .. Never to be found .. ?
    ANY advise ?

  17. Carol Stalions says:

    My 15 year old cat stopped using the litter box and instead found 2 favorite spots on the carpet to pee. We would also find where she had pooped in various spots in the house. After trying most recommended options, the one thing that worked was putting a pee pad in the spot where she peed on the carpet. Surprisingly, she used it. After a day or two I found a huge plastic bin at Home Depot and placed the pee pad inside. I cut one side out so she would have a place to enter without jumping over the high walls. This gave an enclosed area in case she missed the pee pad. She continued to use this and I slowly moved it from the middle of the living room floor to a better location. Now this is the only place she goes. She both pees and poops in it and I just change is every day. The pee pads do not need to be heavy duty, so you can buy the cheap ones. My cat is losing weight so I know she is declining, but she seems content with the new place to pee.

    • TheFrugalLife says:

      Our cat did the same thing. Until, we finally noticed it was hard for her to raise her legs to get into the litterbox. So we did what you did cutting down the sides of her box so she could get in which helped her until she passed.

  18. Sherry says:

    When our male cat was 18 yrs. old he started having trouble using the litter box.
    Going to a larger one didn’t help. His legs were stiff and he just couldn’t squat in it without hanging over the side. I went to Walmart and got two long with low sides plastic ” under the bed” boxes. My husband used these as a guide and built two benches with hinged tops and cut a hole in one of the long sides for them to get in and out. We painted them and I put a cushion on each one. Every one of our cats love their new large, private and roomy litter boxes. No one knows they are there and the cats spend a lot of time sitting on the bench cushions looking out the windows. Because we no longer have our cats claws taken out I replace the plastic boxes about twice a year. Hope this helps

  19. Chez says:

    My 2 year old cat will no longer pee in the litter box. We got a 4 month old kitten a few months ago and introduced them slowly and everything has gone well until now. I also clean the litter boxes daily.

  20. Patricia Glasscock says:

    My female cat Emma uses the litter box but she goes in and she doesn’t go in far enough and the pee goes on the floor. Any suggestions? She poops in the litter ok but she doesn’t always cover it up. I can live with that but I can’t stand the pee on the floor. I put a rug there but after about a day it smells really bad. Thanks for any suggestions for me!! I forgot to tell you she is 14yrs old.

  21. Lisa says:

    My cat uses the litter tray to poo and wee, but after she has pooped she goes upstais and a short while later decides to poo either on the landing or in my daughters room, can anyone please let me know why my cat does this, she is an old lady, this doesn’t happen all the time but it still drives me mad when she does do it.

  22. Helen says:

    I am worried about my 15 year old kitty, Ocean. About a month ago she started peeing/spraying in the corner of my kitchen by the sink. I kept cleaning the areas with bleach wipes. She has now started pooping there. My litter box is in the spare bedroom. It is a deep box that I got years ago because she never squated to urinate she now sprays the outside of the box. She also never buried her poop. I thought it was an alpha cat thing. I have one other cat that is three years old and does not challenge her for dominance. I did have another cat that was younger and due to issues between that cat and the three year old, I rehomed her. They were spraying everywhere in the house. This stopped when the young one left. Now Ocean is the problem. I don’t believe she is marking because of the limited spots she is going. I worry that she may be in the final stages of life. She vomits daily after she eats. Not everytime, but at least once a day.

  23. kitty says:

    My older cat which is in good health has again started not using his litter box all the time, even when it is clean! I know that they are or can be difficult when something in their world gets changed but his pretty much remains the same. He has again started to use the kitchen floor! which is really getting to me. I am not in good health and this having to clean up a mess on the porus tile everyday. He has always been such a good cat and only did things like this ever so often when I made him mad about something but this is beginning to be a daily thing. I just put flea meds on him and this time he had fleas so I am also dealing with this…wonder could the meds be the problem?…I usually use it all the time but because of money let it go a bit longer than a month. Hes an indoor cat so I figured it wouldnt matter. any ideas would be greatly appreciated

  24. Jackie says:

    My girl kitty will be 18 in a few days, I am pretty sure she is the one peeing on the floor. I have 2 other cats. At first I thought it was my one male cat. I got the no sorb pellets from the vet and tested him, he was okay. I have her enclosed in the downstairs bathroom with the no sorb as we speak. I have 5 litter boxes. 2 in the basement. 1 large one in the lower level bathroom. 1 in the upstairs bathroom. It doesn’t matter if the boxes are clean, have hardly anything in them, or just changed the litter. There is pee on the floor in the downstairs bathroom, kitchen floor, sometimes the basement floor. Sometimes it’s everyday, sometimes not. I tried to clean every kind of cleaning product to deter her (or them) from going back to the same spot. I have bought rubber mats for under the boxes. Then the cat pee goes under neath them! What a mess! Then I pick up everything again off the floor and clean again. My husband is yelling about it. I told him that only adds stress not helps find a solution. My oldest cat, the girl (18) and the next older one (15) are one thyroid and high blood pressure meds. I am concerned about their age and health. I am worried that something is going on with my 18 year old. I can’t just have her continue to pee, should I keep her in the basement? Put her bed, food , water down there? Help, any advice?

  25. Marie says:

    My 17 yr old cat won’t leave basement. I feel badly for him because he was always loving and outside alot. My question is should I just let him be… or try to coax him upstairs or take him for walk? I have tried many things and it just makes him anxious. I know the change was when we got our shi Tshu but he has conmingled with our two other dogs. Eats well uses kitty box.

  26. SuSu says:

    I have twin female cats. They are 7 years old. One is a active cat, Katie. and one is a laid back cat, Sadie. They are both very sweet and loving, as any cat lover know. We have two litter boxes, one regular size and one large. BUT Sadie has been pooping outside the box! The liter boxes are on the 4 season porch, which has tile and carpet rugs. She has started pooping on the carpet beside the liter box. Sooo, I put some extra throw rugs down, so when this happens, I can wash the rugs, much easier. I heard about the change of liter and went back to the liter we used when we first got the kittens and bought brand new liter boxes. Then I thought my troubles were over. NO such luck. I am sick of having her do this, sick of washing poopy rugs, and embarrassed to have anyone come in to tend to them if we are gone. Now we have a short 3 day trip planned the end of the month and will try anything. Help!! Susu

  27. Jean says:

    I have a 16 year old cat that all of a sudden decided to pee on my bed. I put plastic and tin foil on my bed after two incidents and many loads of wash. Sassy sleeps under my bed all day long and only comes out to eat, drink and pee now it seems. She is upstairs and her boxes were in the basement. I thought she may be getting too old to get to the basement all the time. She was drinking and peeing more often. I took her to the vet and he said she had some kidney problems and put her on a medication. I also moved the boxes upstairs and luckily put them on boot trays to save the carpet. The problem is now that she doesn’t go into the box far enough and nearly always pees over the end of the box. I have tried moving them forward and backwards to no avail. Sure am tired of cleaning up pee.

    • TheFrugalLife says:

      Our cat did something similar and observing her we realized she was too stiff to lift all 4 legs into the box. So we cut down the front of the box about 1/2 the height. She then went in and turned around so the pee went in the box till she passed.

  28. Elaine says:

    I just adopted a new male cat on Saturday, and the old cat (female) is not happy about it. I get it. She’s stressed. I bought a second litter box for her to use at my apartment and I keep it in a bathroom closet, just like the other litter box that the male uses. It’s two separate rooms. Her litter box is clean, same litter as before. The litter box is not too deep for her. She will Not go at all now. Monday I got her to go, but once and it was number one in the first litter box.. I do not want her peeing and pooping anywhere in the apartment, but the litter box. I took away the liner as she never used it on the old one. I keepooking under my bed for poop, but I don’t see any. She spends her time hiding in my room. I give her plenty of attention, but I don’t know what to do. I’m not getting rid of the second cat because I got him to have as a companion for the older female. My mom has a female cat, and they get along fine. My cat uses That litter box at my mom’s and it’s lined. Maybe she just doesn’t like males? She even runs from my boyfriend.

    • Gord says:

      My 17 year old cat is peeing and pooping on the floor, I noticed it this week and trying to figure out how to make him go back to the litter box, he was last week going to it I have two litter boxes please help me with this!

  29. Dianne Bass says:

    my 17 1/2 yr old female Balinese pees in the litter box (we have 3 boxes) but poops on a different bed every day. She pulls back the edges of a folded blanket then covers it up or just does it on top of the blanket. She has been with us since she was a kitten. Her diet has not changed just her age. No arthritis present. She was checked by a vet and no disease is noted. Any help please.

  30. Louann says:

    We have a 16yr old male cat.. we have had no problem until a few days ago when I caught him using the kitchen floor.. .. he does use the litter box to pee .. and to poo.. but now the kitchen floor and one of the bedrooms.. he has no physical or health problems.. it is a shared box..but he has been sharing since we have had him…which has been since he was about 7 weeks old…he was found wondering the streets… he has always been the best cat..there has been one change… our oldest cat just passed.. he may miss her…but she has been gone for a few months… no changes in food or litter… we just can’t figure it out… if anyone has a suggestion.. I would be so grateful…

  31. Jane says:

    I have a 18 yr old female. She is loving but has started urinating on the floor by her kitty box. Or rugs around the house. She will poo in the box. Vet said he fines nothing wrong. I do nor know what to do. She is the only cat, no other animals. Just started out of the blue. Going on for about 3 months now. Putting pads and newspaper on floor. She goes on this. Any help please.

    • TheFrugalLife says:

      Our cat did something similar and observing her we realized she was too stiff to lift all 4 legs into the box. So we cut down the front of the box about 1/2 the height. She then went in and turned around so the pee went in the box till she passed.

  32. karen says:

    I have a 16 year old female who totally stopped using the box, I have had her since she was 4months old, later in years, there were issues with her going outside the box, but I can actually remember each incident, so it wasn’t alot considering her age, but we had changes to our household, which affected her, but I am so disgusted, every rug in my house is getting ruined, she goes whereever, this morning I walked downstairs where I have an area rug, to see a pile of poop, also it was all wet, turned it over, the back is nothing but all stains from her peeing on it, I feel I spend my days looking for where she went and scrubbing. I have her in a bedroom upstairs, closed door, left her with a very clean box, her food and water, it has wooden floors, she goes on carpeting, so I will see how this goes, my vets office told me to try this, i did one day when I knew she was looking for a spot to go on, and she used the box, but I made the mistake in not keeping her in the bedroom for 3 days, thats what they told me to try, so today I will start.

  33. Chuck says:

    I feel what so many are going through. I have a 20-year-old female who never had issues until this year. Not fond of the year-old male I took in as a stray who’s now been fixed. Separate boxes and feeding places in different rooms, Feliway diffusers installed, an antibiotic to assure there’s no infection, and medication for her hyperthyroidism diagnosed earlier this year. She’s peeing on my now-plastic-covered bed ONE time a day, the rest in her 2 boxes. Just stress?

  34. Kim says:

    I have an 18 year old cat. Who has stopped using the litter box. It has been months. Occasionally he will urinate in the box but not often. I have pee pee pads all over. He’s skinny but for the most part acts normal. He has been eating and drinking. He is on kidney care food for his kidney disease. I’m just wondering if I should take him to another vet for a second opinion. I don’t want him to be in pain and suffering. Is this a sign of its “time” to me he acts fine for the most part

  35. Brooke says:

    Hi, my 18 yea rold cat was lying on the couch and went i lifted her up to find she was laying in her own pee or my 3month old kittens pee. Her and my little kitty have been getting along and i give my older cat lots of attention but im worried its more then just the little kitten on why she peed outside the litter box for the first time. When i put her near the litter box she laid down for a minute then got up walled to the litter box and laid down in it. Im scared its her time and i dont want to face that now. Brought her to the vet a little bit ago and he said shes healthy as a horse and i have nothing to worry about.

  36. Katy says:

    My 18’year old cat had recently decided to do her business in my dressing room, she had to walk past a clean litter tray to get to the room! I barracaded the door with a few boxes about 3ft high, I have a door hanger on on the door so can’t shut it completely, she jumped the boxes and pooed in the room! Can anyone help me with this? I have no option now apart from leaving her in my kitchen.

  37. Melissa says:

    I have a 19 year old cat we’ve had since she was 4 1/2 wks old no health issues. But she’s constantly acting like she’s starving if you drop anything on the floor she’s on it before you can even think to pick it up. She’s even gone into attack mode coming at us for our food. As for her toilet habits it’s like 50/50 I guess it depends on her mood at times she’ll pee and poop in her box the rest of the time she pees on the floor outside of her box she’s no longer allowed in the living room because she will pee in there on the carpet. Her cat box is and always has been kept clean. So our solutions are to continue doing as we are she’s not allowed in the front room and as for her peeing on the floor outside of her box we lay puppy pads for her to pee on it’s working out fine . As for her food aggression we feed her a 1/2 a can 3x daily. As for her sleeping in her box that’s where I am at a loss. But for those of you having the peeing on the floor try the puppy pads

  38. carol says:

    my 15 yr old female has not used a litter tray since she was a kitten she has always asked to go outside she has started pooping in the house I have bought a tray but how do I get her to go in it please anyone. I wondered wether to add some dirt into the litter from the garden.

  39. Sylvia Livingston says:

    16 yr old female cat has started to use floor all over the house, Sometime she uses the litter box and then will not use it again that day but will go on floor in some room, I clean the box as soon as she uses it. She had her leg amputated about 3 yrs ago , but she can move and get around faster than I can. She eats a lot of times and drinks water. She is the only cat. I have a dog but they get along fine. Nothing has changed,so I just don’t understand why she has started doing this. I am about my wits end. I can’t bear the thought that some one will smell the odor. I clean the spot as soon as I find it.

  40. Just a thought says:

    Here’s what I think, if it was your father, mother, son or daughter you would do whatever you could to make them comfortable and content. Animals feel horrible, just as adults do when they urinate outside of where they should. Helping to find solutions is the key here. Read over all these experts advice and then read them again and take notes. Do everything possible to help your animal family.
    Good litter
    More than one litter box…if two doesn’t work try more.
    Low sided cat box
    Love and pet your furry friend alot
    Open cat boxes, not enclosed cat boxes (some cats might like enclosed boxes while others feel threatened).
    Clean cat box daily
    Keep cat boxes in QUIET , CALM areas that are convenient for your cat
    Have catnip and cat grass available
    Brush your cat – cats that groom themselves are healthy
    We all grow old and life gets hard. Sometimes basic functions become hard for humans as well as our pets. Help your pets as best you can. Always show love. Animals, like children are sensitive to our behaviors. Let them know they are loved…..unconditionally. They will not be here forever.

    • Lora says:

      I have a 20year old cat and hes starting to poop in the din room and he has arthritis and we give him meds for that.he dont clean his self nomore so i have to do it everyday nd he can barely walk. I dk wat to do. Im in a lose he looks not good. The vet said they cant fix his bladder aka kidneys cause he to old.

  41. Michaela says:

    Hi oh clever cat people!
    Three weeks ago we took in a 15-year-old Siamese cat. She was predictably very shy and quite at first, but settled into her new bed pretty quickly and spent most of the day sleeping. We live in an apartment (with a rooftop) and there are no other pets (or children) around.
    She knows how to use her litter box, no problem. The issue is that she leaves random poops around the house. Usually it’s over night near her bed in the lounge room on our blankets. Today though, she pooped in her tray and then went into our bedroom and pooped on my pajamas on the bed.

    So she sometimes does poop in the tray, and she sometimes poops in the tray and then poops somewhere else.
    Is the pooping at night (by her bed) just an older cat thing? Should she be sleeping near the litter tray?
    Why confuses me the most is the double-poop. Once in the tray, and then once elsewhere.

    Maybe it’s just cause she’s in a new home?
    Thanks for your guidance.

  42. Chris Baker says:

    We got our cat from the shelter a few years ago. He is 7 and was neutered when we got him. He is litter box trained and has never had a problem. My son and I left for vacation a few weeks ago and my husband noticed that the cat is peeing in his chair but only his chair. Why is this?

  43. Donna Leigh says:

    My 13 year old car has always used the litter box. But recently he has started just urinating wherever he is lying down and now will get up and just poop on the floor. He is a large car, about 26 pounds. I took him to the vet and they gave him shot of penicillin for a kidney infection, but this doesn’t explain the pooping. There are some new kittens in the family, but he has always been around kittens and never a problem before. Any ideas? I’m at my wit’s end.

  44. Tina says:

    my prob is my 12 year old she cat Snowy at first i thought she was going poop on the floor right in front on the litter box cause something was the matter with her .some times she does it when the litter is dirty even just a little .shes a diva the queen cat .maybe its just cause shes getting old???? my 3 year old male doesnt do it hes great with going in the box. but Snowy will do it every now and then theres no set days she will or wont go on the floor.its getting to get on our nerves

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