Finding poop in the bathtub is always an unpleasant surprise. You may think your cat is just mischievous, but it’s not. There’s an underlying reason why they feel the need to find a novelty toilet, even if it’s not obvious to you at first.
Cats may defecate in the bathtub due to behavioral problems, environmental factors, age-related reasons, and medical conditions.
It is important to identify the underlying problem, and importantly, never punish your cat.
Specialty cleaners, environmental improvements, improved litter boxes, and stress reduction can all help with this problem.
Changes in toilet habits cannot be ignored. This article will explore the most common reasons your cat poops in the tub.
1. Behavioral problems
Other pets: Cats living with other pets in the home can be stressed, which can affect their habits. In multiple cat households, the cats may develop their own territories in the home and be reluctant to cross paths. Additionally, cats will often avoid using a litter box that another cat regularly uses.
In fact, it is recommended that you provide more litter boxes than there are cats in the house. For example, if you have two cats, you should have three litter boxes. Cats must also feel safe when using the litter box. If dogs like to chase cats, they may not feel safe using litter boxes on the ground. The bathtub is an enclosed space in a quiet room where they can do things in peace without being disturbed.
anxiety: Cat behavior is heavily influenced by anxiety. Cats are very sensitive and it is easy to scare them. If there are home renovations, visitors, or a new baby, this may cause your cat to feel more vulnerable than usual. If you have a cat who likes to be adventurous outdoors, having a new cat in the neighborhood could make life difficult for them.
Even cold weather and rain can make your cat feel like it’s not worth going outside to poop when there’s a perfect spot in the warmth of the room. Even if your cat usually defecates outside, you should always have a litter box inside.
If there is a new feline in the home or changes in the home, your cat needs time to learn where the litter box is. Meanwhile, weird toilet accidents can happen. If you change cat litter, gradually mix in more new litter over a few days.
Also read: New Cat Owner Anxiety: Why It Happens and How to Get Over It
2. Trash box settings
cat litter: Many cats are very picky about the surfaces they excrete on. Litter can vary widely in texture and appearance, and cats have personal preferences. Ideally, the type of litter you choose should be fragrance-free and dust-free.
Bin cleanliness: Cats are picky and will often reject a dirty litter box or one that smells like another cat. Just smell their own scent. It’s important to clean up the litter clump every time your cat pees or poops, but if there’s no heavy soiling, wash with soap and water once a week.
Litter box styles: Carefully consider your cat’s needs before choosing a litter box, and be prepared to adjust to their behavior. Some cats loathe covered litter boxes because they feel trapped and overwhelmed by the bad smell. However, other cats prefer the security of being hidden while pooing. A litter box with low sides helps older, arthritic cats get in and out of the litter box. In contrast, high-sided trays are ideal for cats with a high urine output.read more about cat litter box and some insightful Trash comments.
Trash location: Think carefully and place the tray in a quiet place, away from noisy appliances and high traffic areas. You can’t expect your kitty to relax enough to poop next to a noisy washer dryer. Often, it helps to keep litter boxes out of sight and away from crowds.
If your cat has to walk across a busy room to get to their litter box, this may prevent you from using it. In a multi-story home, you will need a litter box on each floor. Lastly, no one likes to poo around a meal, so make sure the litter tray is as far away from your cat’s feeding point as possible.
Also read: What’s the best place to put a litter box?
3. Life stages
Young Kittens: It allows young kittens to spend some time learning to use their litter boxes. It takes about four weeks for most kittens to use their litter box reliably. This requires some patience training from their pet parents. Gently placing your kitten in the litter box after each transition of activity throughout the day can help them associate the litter box with going to the toilet. For example, your kitten may need to urinate or poo after eating, drinking, sleeping, and playing.Read more about Litter Box Training Kittens here.
Carefully consider the size, shape and location of litter boxes. You want to make it as easy as possible for those little paws to get to the litter when they suddenly have the urge to go. If your kitten has worms or other parasites, this could affect their poop, so be sure to discuss deworming with your veterinarian.
ALSO READ: How to Train Your Cat in 5 Easy Steps
Elderly cats: Older cats will usually adjust their potty habits to suit their needs. You may find that your cat is walking stiffly due to arthritis. This can affect their ability to climb onto countertops and into high-sided litter boxes.
Make sure the litter box is easily accessible to your cat, preferably on the ground, in a safe space away from other pets and people. Larger litter boxes help ease any discomfort and restlessness while they also find the best spot to poo, low sides are essential.
You may find that your cat no longer wants to defecate outside and you need to add an extra litter box to your home. Older cats also suffer from cognitive impairment (feline dementia), which can lead to confusion and problem behavior. Other signs of aging include constant meowing, staring into space, and general restlessness.
If you think your cat is showing symptoms of brain aging, your veterinarian can provide treatment and dietary options that may help. They can also give you advice on the best behavior to help your cat as it ages.
Also read: Cat age chart: How old is my cat in human years?
4. Medical conditions
Several health issues can cause changes in your cat’s toileting habits. Some of the most common include:
Digestive Diseases: These can be very disturbing and your cat may need to poop very urgently. Conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or gastroenteritis can cause frequent diarrhea.
Signs that your cat needs an urgent veterinary examination include:
- passing profuse watery diarrhea
- bloody diarrhea
- Signs of general malaise or refusal to eat or drink
- Mild diarrhea that lasts longer than two to three days
Cystitis and feline lower urinary tract disease: These problems can cause your cat to poop in unusual places when he strains to urinate. If your cat is unable to urinate normally, keeps returning to the litter box, and appears distressed, this should prompt an immediate veterinary examination. Bladder obstruction is a life-threatening emergency.Read more about Feline Idiopathic Cystitis here.
constipate: If your cat is backed up, it can lead to inappropriate elimination. Pain when trying to poop may cause your cat to associate negatively with their litter box. If so, your cat may start avoiding their usual toilet spot and go elsewhere.
Constipation can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as:
If your cat is showing signs of constipation, the sooner you see your veterinarian, the better. Constipation is easier to resolve and is less likely to cause lasting damage if caught early.
Also Read: Best Cat Food for Constipation
The golden rule when dealing with bathtub poop is to stay calm. Remember, your cat doesn’t mean to annoy you; it does. Punishing a cat is unacceptable. Plus, it can create fear and make the problem worse.
Try to approach the situation with empathy and a clear head so you can decipher what exactly is causing the problem. If you’re completely confused, your veterinarian can help you distinguish between physical and behavioral problems.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can I stop my cat from pooping in the bathtub?
If your cat is defecating in the tub, shower, or sink, you must prioritize addressing the underlying problem. Make sure to clean the bathtub very clean. Enzyme cleaners help eliminate odors that humans may not even be able to detect. If your cat regularly poops in the bathtub, closing the bathroom door is the easiest solution.
But be aware that this may redirect them elsewhere in the house. Some cats choose the bathroom because it is quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of the home. If this is the case, you might consider having a covered litter tray in your bathroom.
How can I stop my cat from pooping around the house?
Changing a cat’s behavior can be challenging, especially if they are anxious. In addition to addressing the root cause, there are a few simple things you can try. Cleaning floors, rugs, and walls with an enzyme cleaner, and placing their food bowls where they poop (after a thorough cleaning) can act as a deterrent.
Blocking them from their favorite toilet spot for a while can help. Also, make sure your litter box is kept clean. It may be helpful to use a different substrate in the litter box (carpet, leaves/soil, shredded paper, sand) and then gradually put in the litter. Finally, placing a pheromone diffuser near the litter box can help reduce anxiety in cats.
https://cats.com/?s=potty+train Retrieved 11 December 2022.
https://cats.com/best-cat-litter-box Retrieved 10 December 2022.
https://www.bluecross.org.uk/advice/cat/health-and-injuries/cystitis-in-cats Retrieved 9 December 2022.
https://icatcare.org/advice/litter-trays Retrieved 11 December 2022.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
Leave a Reply