Why Cats Poop In The Tub And How To Prevent It

poop in the tub

You aren’t enjoying luxurious bubble baths in your cat’s litter box, so why are they doing their business in your tub? The last thing you want when you’re ready to relax is to find a stinky pile of cat poop. And if it happens once, there’s a good chance it’s going to happen again and again. Some cats poop in the tub on a regular basis, and it’s an obvious problem for their families. Before you can stop the behavior and go back to enjoying your tub, you need to understand why your cat is choosing to do their business outside the litter box.

What’s So Special About the Tub?

poop in tub

Your cat has their own litter box, and access to the entire house. Why then, do they choose to poop in the tub? The answer will be different for every cat, but it helps that the bathroom is typically a quiet and secluded room. When a cat is having bathroom issues, they might seek out a safe place. Going to the bathroom puts them in a vulnerable position, and if they’re not in their litter box, they’ll choose another area where they feel protected.

It also helps that bathtubs are typically perfectly clean. If there’s an issue with the litter box (read more about that below) cats will often choose an area that meets their high standards for cleanliness. 

Why Cats Poop in The Tub

There’s Something Wrong with the Litter Box

While training a cat to use the litter box is usually pretty easy, our feline friends are also fussy about where and how they go to the bathroom. If the litter box isn’t exactly to their liking, they’ll often choose another location to get the job done. Unfortunately, that might lead to you finding poop in the tub on a weekly or even daily basis. 

The first thing to do when your cat poops or pees somewhere they shouldn’t is check the litter box. Here’s a basic list of litter box issues your cat could be protesting:

  • It’s full and needs to be cleaned out
  • It has acquired a permanent bad smell over time
  • It’s located too close to their food or water
  • They don’t like the type of litter
  • Something is preventing them from entering
  • Your cat has grown and the box is now too small

Fixing these issues will encourage your cat to stop using your tub as their makeshift toilet. 

They’re Stressed Out

Stress is one of the most common reasons why cats stop using their litter box. You might think your cat lives in total relaxation, but even small changes can stress them out.

A new pet or human family member commonly causes cats at least temporarily stress. Other factors could be something like a change in the household routine, new furniture, or a vet visit. In these cases, addressing the root cause of the stress will often be enough to get their toileting habits back to normal.

In the meantime, you can fill the tub with a small amount of water to discourage your cat from hopping in. It’s also a good idea to always keep the bathroom door closed.

They Have a Medical Problem

When a cat poops in the tub, you have to consider the possibility that they’re not feeling well. If the urge to defecate comes on quickly, they might not have time to make it all the way to the litter box. If your bathroom is closer, they might choose to relieve themselves in your tub.

Some cats purposefully poop and pee either in front of their humans or in a place they know will get them attention in order to send a message that they need help. It’s also possible that painful constipation has caused the cat to make a negative association with the litter box. They’ll seek out other areas that don’t come with those painful memories. 

If there’s nothing wrong with the litter box, and you can’t think of a behavioral reason for why your cat is choosing to poop in the tub, it’s important to bring up the issue with your vet. Also take note of any other potential symptoms including a change in appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, constipation, or blood in the stool. 

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