It is best to start with the easiest and what may be the most obvious reason for this cat behavior, so just give these tips a try, and make sure your cat is in good health to rule out any medical issues.
Changed Brands of Litter – You may have found a better deal on that monster bag of cat litter at the grocery store, and when you got it home, it looked just like the one you were using, so you start adding this to the cleaned out litter tray.
If this is the case, believe it or not, even though they may look the same they are not to that finicky cat!
Different brands of litter will smell or feel slightly different to your cat. Some are courser than others.
If you find your cat poos beside the litter tray, then this is telling you loud and clear that it knows where it is supposed to be go, but doesn’t like what is in the tray.
If this is the case with the new bag of litter you got on sale, then try cleaning out the entire tray and purchasing the old brand, then slowly as you pick out the “debris” each day, add a bit of the new litter. This will give your cat a chance to actually get used to it, and by slowly changing he will still see the old litter he was used to and make the gradual change.
This was the reason for my cat’s bad behaviour. I had wanted to change to one of those newer brands on the market that are more environmentally friendly, and I obviously changed it too quickly because this was the reaction from my present cat. But there are other reasons for this bad behaviour, so read on!
Sore Paw or Broken Nail – Cats love to play and pick at carpets, furniture and their cat tree, and sometimes during this play time they will break a nail to close to the base and it may bleed, or you may not even realize it. The first clue is that they will not jump the same as they did as it will hurt when they land on the sore paw.
So, when they use their litter tray, they will then try to bury it, and it will hurt their paw, so some cats will then take to doing their business beside the tray so as not to touch the litter, if this is the case, then you need to see the Veterinarian as sometimes just the act of having to jump into the tray (especially some of the really deep ones) will hurt his sore paw too.
If your cat has a hurt paw, you may need to temporarily switch to a much lower profile tray with the same litter so that they don’t have to jump very far, yes there will be more litter to sweep up (probably why you got the deep one in the first place right?) but this will at least keep them using the litter until the paw or nail heals.
High Traffic Area – Cats are quite private when it comes to doing their business, and the last thing they need are people walking around when they are assuming the position!
This is what happened with my last cat. We had his tray in the laundry room, and then we renovated the laundry room to house more things from the back door, and this meant people in and out, putting on shoes, boots and coats, so my cat would basically run in the room, do his business quickly on the floor behind the tray out of sight and then run and leave it.
Leaving us wondering why “my cat poos beside the litter tray” on a regular basis with fresh litter in the same box he has used for years!
So, rather than move that tray instantly, we started up a second one in a different room, and he slowly migrated to the new one and started going in the tray properly, and then we got rid of the old one. Everything must be done gradually!
Covered Litter Tray – If you decided to get one of the newer styles of covered litter trays on the market, and your cat is not doing anything in it, then you may have a cat that needs to see what is going on all around him.
I had a cat that loved the covered tray, I would see his head peeking out, but then the other cat hated it and simply went beside the box instead or balanced on the edge of the opening so that most of his body was out, and it still ended up on the floor.
You may have to give this covered one away, and go back to the basic tray.
Scented Litter or scented additives – I remember reading in a magazine a great way to deal with litter tray odours and that was with baking soda. You were supposed to wash and clean out the tray and then add a layer of baking soda, then their regular litter.
I tried that, and as soon as the cat jumped in the box and started to make a hole in the litter, he reached the baking soda and quickly jumped out and did his business beside the tray!
Most cats will NOT do well with change, and this counted as a big change. The same with the scented litters on the market, many cats need time to adjust.
So if you find yourself searching for reasons as to why “my cat poos beside the litter tray” then start with these tips. It is a little bit like CSI, in that you need to find and figure out the clues. He is obviously very upset about the state of his litter tray, so think back to any changes you have made, and if you still want these changes then you need to start slowly.
Litter changes, traffic changes, scent changes, or even a different style of litter tray all need to be taken slowly, with some patience you will have your cat back in the tray and no more frustrations with “my cat poos beside the litter tray”.
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