Health problems, stress and changes around the home can cause your cat to poop outside of their litter box.
This behaviour can be difficult to manage but prevention is possible using these simple home remedies.
These remedies use strong smells that cats don’t like to make the carpet a less inviting option and encourage them to go outside or use their litter box instead.
1. Onion Juice
Onion juice is a simple yet effective option that deters cats with its sharp smell.
This mixture is simple to make at home.
To make onion juice follow these steps:
- Put 3 peeled onions into a juicer.
- Pour the juice into a spray bottle.
- Add ¼ cup of water to the bottle.
- Shake to mix.
- Spray this mixture on the carpet as needed.
Cats don’t like the strong smell of citrus such as orange so it is easy to use fresh oranges (or any fresh citrus fruit you have at home) to make a deterrent spray.
To make your own spray follow these steps:
- Boil 2 cups of water in a pot.
- Add 1 cup of orange rind to the mixture.
- Simmer this for 30 minutes before taking it off the heat to cool down.
- Once cool, put the mix into a spray bottle and spray it on the carpet.
You can also make a lemon version of this using lemon juice.
This is a quick and easy solution as you simply need to combine fresh lemon juice with an equal amount of water and spray this where needed.
One thing that almost all of us have at the back of the cupboard is vinegar.
Cats have sensitive noses and don’t like the strong smell of vinegar.
This means a vinegar solution can stop cats from pooping on carpets or even in certain areas of the garden.
The vinegar spray will help to encourage cats to find a more suitable place to do their business so make sure there are clean litter boxes nearby and they have access to outside.
4. Essential Oils
As you can see from our list, scent is one of the most effective ways to deter cats from pooping in areas of the house.
Sometimes we don’t have fresh produce to hand to create these strong-smelling sprays so using essential oils is an ideal alternative.
Essential oils can be used to create a diluted and convenient spray that can be applied to the necessary spots.
Essential oil sprays can help to neutralise and remove the smell while also making the area less inviting for your cat.
The following essential oils are safe and effective to use around cats:
- Citrus oil – this works in the same way as the homemade orange/ lemon spray.
Cats seem to hate all citrus smells so you can choose the one you like the most.
The good thing about using citrus oil is that you can get your carpets smelling fresh while at the same time deterring your cat from the area.
- Citronella oil – this is also a citrus-like smell that is overpowering to cats and works in the same way as citrus oil.
- Eucalyptus oil – this is a pungent smelling essential oil so a little goes a long way. It’s no surprise cats find this scent overbearing.
These are just a few of the safe options, for more take a look at our list of the best essential oils to deter cats.
Some essential oils are more effective than others and some should not be used around cats due to their toxicity.
Be very careful when using essential oils around pets as some oils are toxic and can cause sickness and poisoning.
If the essential oils are used incorrectly this can also lead to health problems so take care when making and using essential oil sprays to deter your cat.
5. Rosemary Or Rosemary Plants
Cats don’t like the smell of rosemary so you could use this plant to your advantage too.
Place rosemary plants in the room you don’t want your cat to spend time in or lightly sprinkle some rosemary on the carpet.
Why Cats Poop On Carpets
There are a few reasons a cat may begin to poop on the carpet.
The problem could be health-related or may be the result of stress or changes to the home, litter box and/ or their routine.
If your cat is suddenly pooping on the carpet when they usually use a litter box without a problem it may be a sign that your cat is unwell.
Health issues such as inflammatory bowel disease can cause a cat to stop using the litter box. A vet check is recommended to rule out health-related problems.
Changes To The Litter
Changing the type or brand of cat litter you use can be enough to make your cat not want to use the litter box anymore.
Any changes should be made slowly to reduce the chance of your cat reacting negatively to them.
Switching your cat’s food to another brand or food type can cause a change in your cat’s bowel movements and result in your cat pooping on the carpet.
Dietary changes should be made slowly and with great care to avoid problems.
As mentioned, cats don’t like when things change.
If something in the home has changed recently (it can even be a little thing that is barely noticeable to you) this could throw your cat off and cause their behaviour and habits to change.
Your cat may be feeling stressed, unhappy, or defensive as a result of these changes and this may cause them to behave differently.
If you can identify what is causing the stress, you can take steps to adjust or stop the problem and help your cat feel settled again.
Making changes slowly is key when living with cats.
Litter Box Problems
Cats are very particular about their litter boxes and they may be unhappy about something to do with the litter box.
This could be due to a number of things so we have listed the most common problems below to help you figure out the root cause.
Problems with the litter box can include:
- Location – it’s best to have a couple of litter boxes spread around the house. Ideally, they need to be in private areas that are quiet but easy to access. It’s a good idea to place the litter boxes in areas where your cats spend a lot of their time too.
- Messy – the litter boxes need to be cleaned once or twice a day and fully cleaned out at least once a week. Some cats don’t like to use the litter box when it is dirty or smells and will decide to do their business elsewhere instead.
- Not enough boxes – this is often an issue in multi-cat households as cats don’t always like to share litter boxes with others. They may feel uncomfortable or territorial about the litter box so it’s important to have one litter box for every cat in the house plus an extra box too.
- Not enough/ too much litter – cats need to be able to dig and cover up their faeces and having not enough or too much litter can make this difficult for them. The type of litter being used could also deter your cat from using the litter box.
- Box height/ shape – some cats don’t like covered litter boxes while others prefer them. If you’re still getting to know what your cat likes and doesn’t like you may want to put a few options out to see what litter boxes they prefer to use.
- Too small – The litter box also needs to be large enough for your cat to use comfortably. Ideally, it should be 1.5x the length of your cat.
The problem with the litter box may be one of these things or a combination of them. If something has recently changed, this is likely what has triggered the problem.