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How to stop your cat from pooping in your bathtub

On a recent house-sitting job, I noticed that their gorgeous cat had decided to use their bathtub as a litter tray.

And although your first reaction may be, 'Gross, why's my cat suddenly pooping in the bathtub?', it's important to note that this behaviour isn't overly unusual.

Yes, it's frustrating, smelly, and not ideal if you're the one cleaning it up, but if your cat is pooping in the bathtub, know you're not alone!

Cats are known for being meticulously tidy creatures, regularly grooming themselves to stay clean. So, if your cat has started leaving you 'gifts' in your bathtub, it's their way of telling you something's wrong in their world.

Let's explore the reasons behind cats using a bathtub as a litter tray.

The top 3 reasons why cats poop in your bathtub

Usually, when a cat starts pooping in your bathtub, it can come down to 3 reasons:

Your cat may be experiencing stress

Cats are highly sensitive little creatures, so when something new happens in their world, they can experience stress. This may be things like moving house, their owners being away or having a change in work schedule, or a new baby or pet being introduced to the home.

When your cat is stressed out or anxious, they may act out of character and forget their training. Cats also like privacy, so if they feel their litter tray is in a busy place, this will add to their stress levels, and they won't want to use it.

Your cat may have underlying health issues

If your cat has underlying health problems, they may avoid using their litter tray for a couple of reasons – they either didn't make it there in time, want to show you their pain in person, or they associate their litter box with pain.

Underlying health issues may include gastrointestinal problems, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), bladder stones or constipation. Older cats may also have cognitive issues (e.g. dementia), causing them to be a little disoriented and pooping in places other than their litter box.

If pooping in the bathtub is a new thing for your cat, and you hear them making lots of noises when trying to pee or poop, it's time to take them to your vet for a check-up.

Your cat has issues with their litter box

It's no secret that cats love a clean litter box that's in a private space away from foot traffic and noises. If your cat is feeling unsafe, this may be a reason they're avoiding their tray and opting for a quieter place like your bathroom.

If you've recently changed their litter tray, moved it or are using a new cat litter, these may all be reasons why they're avoiding it. Pooping in the bathtub is their way of telling you they don't like the changes.

And, if you're not cleaning their tray often enough, they will avoid using it as they don't want to get their little feet dirty!

How to stop your cat from pooping in the bathtub

No one wants their cat constantly pooping in the bathtub. So, here are some ways that you can help your cat transition back to using their litter tray and stop using your bathtub as their toilet.

1. Change their litter box situation

A litter tray should be around 1.5 times the size of your cat. If the tray is too small, they won't feel comfortable using it.

If the tray is in a noisy location, move it to a quieter position in your house or try using a covered litter tray.

Make sure their cat litter is cleaned 2 or 3 times a day (scooping out poop and pee patches) and clean it thoroughly at least once a week.

Get another litter tray so your cat has 2 options. This is also important if you've introduced another cat, as both cats need to feel like they've got their own tray, as many won't want to share – especially if one has dirtied a tray.

2. Things to avoid

Where possible, don't place your cat's litter tray near where they eat or drink. As cats are sensitive, they may not appreciate their 'toilet' and 'meals area' being in the same place!

Some cats also will be put off by noise or movement in their litter tray. For example, an automatic opening flap or the noise of an auto-cleaning function may be enough to put them off. To avoid this, use an open tray that your cat can easily walk in and out of.

3. Put some water in the bathtub

A handy trick to prevent your cat from jumping into the bathtub is to pop in the plug and fill the bath with water (just enough to cover the base).

This is usually enough to act as a preventative measure to stop your cat from using the bathtub as their litter tray. However, they may love playing in it!

Do you need someone to check in on your cat during the day?

If you can't be home during the day, or you're going away, it's worth considering having a pet sitter (me!) pop in and visit your cat (or other animals).

And if you've found yourself in the situation of having your cat poop in the bathtub, it may be because they're stressed and in need of some company.

You can see all of my services here.

Booking pet sitting is easy using my online booking form.

And here are a couple of my other blogs you may be interested in reading:

Until next time, pat your fur babies for me!

PS – If you've got any tricks on stopping a cat pooping in the bath or have been through this, please feel free to drop your comments below.


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