Kitty Kare Korner Peeing/Pooping

Cat Litter Box Basics

Learn how you can prevent cats from pooping outside the litter box.

We’ve all been there. You stop dead in your tracks because there is a turd on the floor (if you’re lucky, you may have even stepped on it in the dark – so fun!). I’m addressing some very basic litter box rules that should help you avoid the random turd. And no, this post isn’t about kittens, so sorry for the misleading main photo, but how adorable is that lil nugget?

Would you use a toilet that hasn’t been flushed in days?

Probably not. If you neglect to clean the litter box, you may find a poopy present outside of it. Try to scoop every other day.

Shouldn’t I scoop every day?

No. The litter box is full of a cat’s scent. They like to have their scent in it. Ever have one climb in immediately after you scoop? That’s why. Too much scooping may upset your cat or cause insecurity issues.

I can’t handle the smell.

First, make sure your cat is spayed or neutered. They have an increased amount of hormones in their pee before being fixed, and the smell is unbearable.

Suggestions to battle ammonia found in pee.

If you use clumping clay litter, sprinkle baking soda on top every time you scoop. Dump the entire litterbox at least once a month and scrub down the box, then put a layer of baking soda on the bottom before you pour the litter into the box.

You can also spray something like Febreze around the box and use those plugins (Febrile or Glade). Make sure you get something that kills the odor-causing bacteria, not just something that covers it or else you’ll have a scenario like in Austin Powers when Fat B*stard responded, “It smells like someone shat in a pine tree.”

I like Febreeze Air because it has a lighter scent.

But what about stinky poop?

First, make sure your cat is up to date on dewormers, and make sure you take a fecal sample to his annual exam. Some gross stuff can grow in the intestinal tract and it makes cat poop smell HORRENDOUS.

For the normal stinky stuff, I highly recommend a Litter Genie. It works like a Diaper Genie, and helps control odor from poop and pee. Just scoop like normal, and empty when full.

How many boxes do I need?

The rule is one per cat, plus one. I hate rules with animals because they can’t speak and explain their needs or wants. Consider the sie of your cats and the size of the litter boxes. If you have two cats and they are petite, you may be okay with one XL litter box as long as you keep up with it. If you have two ginormous males, you may need three or four. My advice: If you have more than one cat, you need more than one litterbox. Beyond that, it’s really a case by case basis.

Lesson: The Phantom Pooper

White cat with blue eyes
Miss Dolly relaxing in her fave place.

Yup, I had one. Never caught in the act. But I’d smell something on the 3rd floor and find a nice deuce pile. The 3rd or 4th time, my female, Dolly, was raking (pawing the ground like she was covering it) the poo pile, so I’m going to say SHE was The Phantom Pooper.

The truth: Yes, there may be a behavioral reason.

Practically: All litterboxes are located on the 1st floor in a 3 story house. Maybe she just wants one on the 3rd floor.

Instead of trying to figure out why she was doing, I added a litterbox to that room, and the problem stopped. It’s possible she just wanted her scent in the room. It’s possible there was something else going on – but the problem was fixed with an easy solution, so I’m not going to question it.

Wait, Liz! I have more questions.

Cat’s bathroom habits are a giant can of worms that we’ve only just cracked open. I know, ewwwww. Trust me, we’ll continue to discuss.

Does your cat pee outside the litter box? Read this post for tips on fixing the problem.

By LizsKittyBootCamp

Hi, I'm Liz, and I'm a cat behaviorist who provides advice and insights on cat behavior.

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