Why is my Elderly Cat Suddenly Pooping on the Floor?

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As your cat grows older, you’ll notice that some of her habits change and may display new behaviors as unpleasant as avoiding her litter box and pooping on the floor.

Now you’re frightened at the sight of your clean and potty-trained cat messing all around. 

Most of the time, these new behaviors are health-related. As cats grow in age, they may start suffering from illnesses, the symptoms of which will manifest in behavioral changes.

Diabetes and urinary tract infections are common diseases old cats suffer from.

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely worried about your senior cat pooping on the floor and how to deal with it.

This article will tell you the possible reasons behind your cat pooping suddenly on the floor and suggest some possible ways to make her use the litter box again.

Six Reasons Behind Your Elderly Cat Suddenly Pooping on the Floor

There are many factors that may drive your elderly cat to poop on the floor suddenly. Some have to do with internal health issues, while others are induced by external factors. 

Disease-Related factors

There are various illnesses that cause your cat to poop on the floor suddenly; the first to mention is urinary incontinence

In fact, the older cats get, the weaker and more fragile their muscles connecting to their vital organs become. Each time these organs weaken, cats lose more control of them. 

Therefore, weak muscles connecting the urinary tract may cause diarrhea and make cats lose control of when and where to poop.

Other medical factors include feline diabetes, worm infection, kidney problems, stomach illness, decreasing vision, and even cancer

When your cat starts pooping on the floor, consider taking her to the veterinarian. 

Her Vulnerable Aching Body

As your cat grows older, her body grows weaker, and the seemingly effortless things to do may get more challenging.

Anything that seems like a simple task for you may become stressful and painful for your elderly cat. 

Furthermore, because cats associate things with their own positive or negative experience, they will avoid anything that once was hurtful to them. 

When your cat starts to age, try to pay extra attention to her so that you notice what actions and movements are now disagreeable and painful for them.

You’ll also notice that they’re no longer the active, energetic, and playful creatures they once were.

Even jumping on and off your couch and bed or climbing the stairs will become tiresome and pain-inducing for them.  


Along with medical and physical factors your cat struggles with, some stress-generating external factors may lead her into pooping and peeing not only on the floor but also in any spot she finds available. 

If your cat is stressed or anxious, she may start uncontrollably and unexpectedly pooping everywhere.

There are many factors that can cause your cat anxiety, including changes in the household.

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If you think your cat is now old enough to cope wisely with environmental change, you’ll be disappointed to know that cats’ liability to adjust to new and strange situations dwindle more and more as they grow older.  

If your cat has recently started pooping on the floor, it may be related to the condition of the litter box.

Dirty/ Stinky Litter Box

Reasons Why Elderly Cat Suddenly Pooping on the Floor

Cats generally have a strong sense of smell, and they usually reject a litter box that isn’t as clean as they expect it. Old cats may grow even more sensitive and picky when it comes to the condition of their litter box. 

Hard-to-Access Litter Box

The litter box’s spot may be problematic if it’s not easily accessible, and your cat may lose control on her way to it.

As mentioned before, elderly cats lose control over their bodies and may find it hard to climb the stairs or move around much. 

If your senior cat has to climb the stair or make much effort to reach the litter box, she will most probably avoid all this trouble and poop wherever she is.

Consider changing the litter box’s location and placing it in a relatively easy to access spot. You may put many boxes in different areas convenient to your cat. 

Existence of Other Pets

If you have more than one pet at home, or you have recently welcomed one, that may be the reason why your cat suddenly started to avoid her litter box. 

It may be that they either frighten or disturb her. In this case, she would avoid her litter box as she associates it with a negative experience. 

If your cats are sharing the same litter box, your elderly cat may get slowly bothered and end up refusing to use it altogether.

Eight Steps to Make Your Elderly Cat Use the Litter Box Again

As soon as your elderly cat starts this undesirable behavior, don’t wait until it becomes a habit to fix it! Try to find the reasons and fix them immediately. 

Once your cat gets into this undesirable habit of pooping on the floor, it’s hard to lure her back into the litter box. 

However, there are a few tips and tricks that can succeed in making your elderly cat use the litter box again, especially if she’s not suffering from any serious health problem. 

Adjust her diet. 

Older cats don’t maintain the same dietary needs they had during their younger years. Their diet needs to be adjusted to the specific needs their age dictates. 

For example, it’s known that old cats should be sufficiently hydrated. Make sure to provide your cat with enough water. 

Elderly cats also need high levels of protein in their diet. It’s vital that you consult your cat’s veterinarian to inform you about her dietary needs. 

Place a litter Box in the spots where she’s been uncontrollably pooping.

If you notice that your cat developed a pattern of pooping in specific spots, try placing a litter box there. You may need to buy more than two litter boxes. 

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If your cat still poops on the floor, temporarily deny her access to that spot.  

Clean your cat’s litter box more frequently.

If you’ve been cleaning your cat’s litter weekly, make it into a daily habit! 

Get her a larger litter box

Use a larger litter box for your older cat
Use a larger litter box for your older cat

Because older cats definitely need larger litter boxes, and because, generally, cats show preference to large and open litter boxes, try getting her a larger, uncovered litter box.

Remember to adjust the litter box’s size to your cat’s as they get older. As a general rule of thumb, litter boxes should be at least 1.5x the cats’ length.  

Don’t buy scented litter boxes.

As we’ve already mentioned, cats have a strong sense of smell, and they may be extra sensitive to scented litter boxes. 

Even if you bought scented litter boxes to cover the unpleasant smell, replace them all with odor-free ones. Cats dislike artificial scents as they can be overwhelming and appalling to them.  

Try changing the litter’s type.

Your cat may find the litter’s texture no longer appealing or comfortable. Try changing the litter’s type, and see if it appeals to her. 

For example, cats enjoy fine particles litters, not pellet and the crystal type, as they are closer to the sensation of sand. Typically, cats genuinely enjoy half an inch, sandy, soft, and odor-free litter. 

However, if you have recently changed your cat’s litter box, it may be the reason why she’s pooping on the floor. 

It can be not comfy and fine enough or having a hard time getting used to it. In this case, try to revert back to the old litter box type.  

Deeply clean the spots where your cat pooped, and make sure to remove the smell totally.

This way, she wouldn’t think it’s acceptable to poop there again. 

Help your cat relieve stress

If this behavior is a direct result of stress, try to provide your cat with more game time and more toys and shower her with love and affection.

This would reduce her stress levels, and she will soon go back to normal.  


Does medication help with stopping my elderly cat’s behavior? 

If your cat’s behavior is a direct result of any kind of illness, and even stress and anxiety, curing your cat with prescribed medication will definitely put an end to it. 

Why is my recently adopted kitty poop on the floor? 

Newly adopted cats may reuse the litter box because they still don’t trust you or feel safe enough.

Environmental change causes extreme stress and anxiety in cats, and it takes time for them to adapt to the new situation. Until your cat gets used to her new home and starts to trust your litter box, bear with her! 

Do cats poop on the floor as revenge?

No. When cats poop on the floor, it’s rather unintentional and uncontrollable behavior.