Why does my cat defecate out of the sandbox?
One of the most unpleasant surprises that we can find as cat owners is the evacuation of stool outside the sandbox. The initial perplexity becomes confusion and worry if the behavior becomes habit. In this text we will point out the keys that answer the question why your cat defecates outside the sandbox. For this, we will stop to analyze the possible causes, since only from the understanding of the problem can we find the solution, which passes through measures such as those that we also indicate in the article that follows. And, as always, if the behavior persists we should consult with a specialist.
Determine the cause of the problem
Finding depositions of our cat outside its usual place, the sandbox, is one of the situations that most disturb us as tutors, given the reputation of extreme neatness enjoyed by these cats. And it is true that, from very small, just start taking their first steps away from his mother, about three weeks, they are able to use the sandbox with full correction. And for that, in clear contrast to what happens with the puppies of dogs, you do not have to do anything else than show them, put them in it and move the sand lightly, imitating the scratching they perform naturally.
That the cat defecates out of its box indicates a problem. In no case occurs because the animal wants to bother us, we must banish those myths at once. Our cat is going through a bad time and our obligation as owners is to help him, investigating the causes of his behavior and putting the necessary means to eliminate it. If the inappropriate defecation happens only once, we can consider it a punctual event and not give it more importance. The problem is when it is repeated until it becomes a habit.
First we should take it to the vet to rule out that there is a physical cause that responds to why your cat defecates outside the sandbox, such as constipation, diarrhea, the presence of parasites or even a musculoskeletal disorder, neurological alteration or senility, of being in front of an old cat advanced If the tests conclude that it is healthy, we can focus on finding a environmental cause: let’s analyze the sandbox.
Analyze the sandbox
If your cat has stopped using the sandbox or has never used it and therefore defecates outside its box, it is possible that the problem lies precisely in the toilet. So, check:
- The sand: if we have changed the substrate it is possible that our cat finds it uncomfortable, so we will try to evacuate by touching it as little as possible until we end up doing it outside.
- The tray: the size has to be adequate, approximately 40 x 50 cm, measures that allow the cat to turn on itself inside. The edges should not be too high, as they can make access difficult, especially with older cats. Its location is crucial. It is not recommended to place it in places of the house of constant traffic, next to doors or appliances, or near your food or your water. Therefore, we must look for a discreet and protected site.
These factors can explain why the cat defecates outside the litter box, whether it is an adult or a puppy, but they are not the only ones that influence. In this way, if you consider that your feline’s motive is not one of those mentioned, read on.
Have you introduced a new cat?
If a new cat has recently arrived home, this may be the reason why your cat has stopped using the sandbox to defecate. Especially if you have decided to share the sandbox, since the most recommended is that each cat has its own box, and add an extra.
Cats are very territorial and neat animals, so they do not usually suffer from sharing something as intimate as their sanitary. This does not mean that all cats are like this, since there are cats that are able to share the box. However, if ours has stopped using it since the arrival of the new member of the family, the reason is probably here. For more information, you can consult the following article: “Can two cats use the same sandbox?”. On the other hand, keep in mind that the presentation between them is crucial to ensure a good coexistence. If you did not do it correctly, especially the oldest cat can present behavior problems like this.
How to make a cat use the sandbox?
After reviewing the most common causes, how do we get the cat to use the sandbox to defecate?
- Changing the substrate until we find our cat’s favorite. In principle, we should avoid perfumed sands, as they can be unpleasant for some cats. The amount of sand should be about 3-4 cm. Regarding the type of sand, fine grain is recommended, softer to the touch.
- Modifying the place of the tray and even adding another, although we live with a single cat. We will see that one will use it primarily for feces and the other one for urine. And remember that if we have more, the number of trays must be equal to the number of cats + 1. We can also try to offer you a covered tray, if yours is discovered, and vice versa.
- Increasing the cleanliness, trying that the cat always has at his disposal a tray free of feces and urine. It is not convenient to use for the cleaning of the ammonia tray or bleach, we will always have to choose enzymatic products.
- If we observe that our cat always defecates in the same place, we can try putting a tray there encourage their behavior. If instead of a tray we put food, we will dissuade it.
We must also keep in mind if there has been any change at home and / or in the routine of the cat, who can explain why the cat defecates outside the sandbox. Fear can make you unsure how to use it, for example, so paying attention to where you defecate can give us clues.
You never punish him!
Finally, we should never punish the cat, let’s not forget that he does not do it on purpose and for him it is also a difficult situation. Neither encierros nor water pistol nor any other similar method. Our cat can not talk but is asking us for help. On the contrary, we must pay more attention to all their reactions to find the underlying cause and always reward good behavior. Keep in mind that positive reinforcement is the key to success.
If taking into account all these factors the problem persists, we should consult with a veterinarian specialized in ethology so that it is he who helps us to determine and solve, at once, why the cat defecates out of the sandbox.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my cat defecate out of the sandbox?, we recommend that you enter in our behavior problems section.