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Cats pooping on the carpet.

Species: Cat
Breed: Mixed
Age: 5-8 years
I have 2 beautiful, loving cats (male/female) 6 years old. They are siblings from the same litter. The problem.... 3 months ago they started pooping on the brand new carpet we had just put in our basement. Now, two weeks ago, the female cat started pooping upstairs in our living room, along with pooping downstairs. We have tried almost everything. They have 6 litter boxes of different sizes and varieties, some with covers, some without, clumping liter, non-clumping liter, clay, even liter that looks like pellets. They rarely use any of them any more for pooping.
We have 2 daughters, 15 months and 3.5 years. After our oldest was born, our male cat started urinating on the floor in the room the liter was in. We had him checked for a UTI and he was given xanax 0.25mg 1/day. The carpet in this room was torn up, kiltz put down and then a hardwood floor placed down. Very costly. The liter was moved to the basement and we had no more issues. When this started back up a few months ago I put both cats on Xanax, thinking it was a behavior thing again. Nothing is helping. These cats were our babies before we had babies! I don't want to get rid of them, but we cannot have cats that use the whole house as their liter box. We all would be devastated if we had to get rid of them. Like I said, they are very loving cats and are really loved and cared for so I do not understand what the problem could be. Please help!!! My husband has heard to keep them locked in a room with their food and litter and not let them out until they start using it. They were locked in the furnace room where they litter has been for over a year, but they still pooped on the floor of the furnace room away from their litter and this morning after I let them out, our female cat pooped upstairs in our living room. I personally think that this probably upsets them more.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Goodness, I am so sorry to hear that you are having such a frustrating time. It sounds like you are doing all of the recommended things!

You've described everything I usually recommend in regards to trying different types of boxes and litter.

I'm not sure if I have a magic answer for you, but here are a few of my thoughts.

One thing you could try is to place a litter box in each room that they are pooping in and see if they use it. If so, very gradually, move the box a few inches each day towards the place where you want to eventually keep the box. Sometimes this works.

Another thing you can do in conjunction with the above, or on its own is to offer litter boxes of different types that have carpet in the box rather than litter.

Another thing you can try, if they won't use the litter boxes placed in the rooms is to place incontinence pads around the house. These are "pee pads" that people use for bedwetting issues. I have found that many of my clients' cats will willingly urinate or defecate on these. Then, you can start the process of gradually moving them to the place where you want them to eliminate.

Another thing to look into is a product called feliway. Feliway is a pheromone which helps cats to feel good and reduces stress levels.

I really do think that this is a behavioral issue, likely due to the changes in the house with small children being around.

Personally, I do not prescribe Xanax for cats. You may want to ask your vet about trying a medication called amitriptyline. I have found that many cats with behavioral issues do well on this medication. At first they may be a little sedated but this usually wears off after a few days.

If all of this fails, it certainly won't hurt to keep them segregated to one small room for a few days or even a couple of weeks to see if they can retrain their brains to use a litter box.

I really hope things improve soon!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, one other thing that I forgot to mention is to check out the Indoor cat initiative website found at:

There are lots of ideas there of ways that you can help to reduce stress levels in your cats' lives.

Customer reply:

Thank you for your quick response and great ideas. We have tried Feliway in the past, but I am willing to give it another try. Have you ever heard of cats defecating on carpet because of the way it smells? We had some extra pieces once the carpet was placed and I placed one in front of one of the doors upstairs as an entrance rug. A few days later I noticed that it smelled of cat urine. That's when this all began, so I was wondering if it was the scent of it!

I like the idea of carpet in the litter boxes. I will be trying that 1st thing in the a.m.

If this doesn't help, do you want 2 beautiful kitties? ;-)

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome and thanks so much for the bonus!

I think the idea of the smells is that once a cat urinates or defecates in one spot the smell tells them that this is the appropriate place to eliminate. So, if we can get rid of the smell of urine or stool in an area then this is a good thing to do.

My husband is laughing at the request for us to take your two cats. We have 4 cats and any more would not be wise!

I really hope you can rectify your problem soon!

Dr. Marie.

Customer reply:

Last question, promise!

What do you recommend to clean and get rid of the smell? We have tried multiple things and have found the best to be Nature's Miracle. (We should have bought stock in it as much as we have gone through!) But, obviously it does not work, cuz they are still going in the same area.

Do you know of anything better?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

There are a number of good products that I recommend. One is a product called Urine Erase. It is a little time consuming as there are many steps but as long as you know where the accident is, it usually works well to get the odor out.

Something else you could try is to visit an industrial cleaning supply store to see if you can get some of the cleaning material (such as a product called Liqui-Bac) that is used in nursing homes to get rid of urine odors.

Customer reply:

Thanks Again!!!!

Have a wonderful night!

You have been bookmarked!


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.