Cat's pooing in the house

Ask A Vet: Jo Lewis BSc BVMS (Hons) MRCVS

Ask A Vet

My cat started pooing and peeing around the house, other than in her litter tray. Not nice!

We don’t know if it's her age (she's 13) or something else? If you could give me any advice I’d really appreciate it.


Sorry to hear you are having this problem. It's not pleasant and I'm afraid not an easy one to explain as there are lots of possibilities. At best it could be a behaviour response to stress but this may not necessarily have an easy fix. Cats are creatures of habit and hate change. Older cats are even less capable of adapting to change so something as seemingly simple as a new cat outside (or within the household) could be causing her​ stress.

Other things to consider may be a change in cat litter brand, the colder nights outside and a reluctance to brave the elements to use the toilet. Have you had any recent visitors to the house or perhaps a new baby? Even a change of room layout or new furniture, DIY / renovations​ , etc can be a major cause of stress. Contrary to what many cat owners think, old age itself should not cause a cat overt​ problems it's actually the onset of the diseases that commonly occur in later life that do this. Inappropriate toileting is often a cat's response to the early onset of some of these often painful ​illnesses (eg thyroid, kidney, heart diseases, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer​ , etc).

On rare occasions, it can be down to a loss of learned behaviours (a bit like feline​ dementia) but this is usually gradual in onset and is ​really something that we arrive at after excluding other more common older cat illnesses. All in all, it might be time for a checkup to assess for weight loss, heart changes, etc and potentially some blood/urine screening to help build a picture of her general health.

Best wishes

Jo Lewis BSc BVMS (Hons) MRCVS

The Cat Vet