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Why Does My Cat Poop in the Tub? 10 Possible Reasons & Solutions

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By Nicole Cosgrove

cat in the bathtub

If your cat is pooping in the tub, it can be really gross, but it can also be really frustrating because you want to know why this is happening so that you can prevent it from happening in the future. Most of the time, pooping in the tub stems from a problem with the litter box or a health problem with your cat. Continue reading to learn specific reasons as to why this might be happening and what you can do about it.

The 10 Reasons Cats Poop in the Tub

1. Your Cat’s Diet

Dietary issues could be the cause of a cat’s sudden foul bathroom behavior. If you have recently changed your cat’s diet, they may be reacting to the change. Many cats dislike the new smell of their own poop and urine after changing foods, so they purposely avoid the litter box altogether. If that’s the case, consider switching back to the old food or talk to your vet about switching to a food your cat can better tolerate.

a Devon Rex cat eating from a white ceramic plate
Photo Credit: Veera, Shutterstock

2. Your Cat Needs More Protein

Cats are natural carnivores, so they prefer meat-based foods and protein-rich diets. If you’re feeding your cat a vegetarian diet or something containing too many fibrous vegetables (like carrots), this could be the reason why they’re pooping in the tub. They may be alarmed by changes in their stool, or they might be experiencing gas pains from the fiber or weakness from anemia. Try switching to more protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, or turkey.

3. You’re Feeding Your Cat Junk Food

Pet food can be a major cause of gastrointestinal issues and digestive problems in cats. If you’ve been noticing blood, mucus, or other abnormalities with your cat’s stool in addition to the tub pooping, it could be due to a sensitivity to something you’re feeding them. Make sure that the commercial food you’re giving them is high quality and designed specifically for cats. You might also want to supplement the food with probiotics to help improve their digestion.

Cat Eating Popsicle
Photo Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

4. Their Litter Box Is Too Dirty

Litter box aversion is a common problem among cats, and there could be several reasons why your cat doesn’t like their litter box. It could be the type of litter you’re using (clumping litter is often disliked by cats), the location of the box (some prefer privacy while others like to be able to see their surroundings), or simply because they don’t like the way it smells. Try experimenting with different types of litter and litter boxes until you find one that your cat prefers.

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5. The Litter Box Is Too Small

If you have a small cat (less than 6 pounds), they may be experiencing discomfort in the litter box due to its size. This could make them reluctant to use it and look for other, more comfortable places to go instead. Consider investing in a bigger litter box or switching to a different type of litter box altogether.

white persian cat using litterbox
Photo credit: catinsyrup, Shutterstock

6. The Litter Box Doesn’t Have Enough Privacy

If your cat feels like they don’t have enough privacy when using the litter box, they may avoid it altogether. Try to find a place for the litter box where they can have some peace and quiet, or invest in a covered litter box.

7. Your Cat Is Stressed Out

Cats are very sensitive to changes, and stress can be a big factor in a cat’s litter box aversion. If you’ve recently moved, brought a new pet or human into your home, or introduced another change to their environment, this could be the reason they’re suddenly avoiding the litter box and pooping in the bathtub.

Cats need time and space to adjust to new changes, so avoid punishing them if they have accidents outside of the litter box. Instead, try to provide them with a calm and safe environment where they can feel comfortable using the litter box again.

scared cat
Photo Credit: PDPics, Pixabay

8. Your Cat Is Being Territorial

If your cat’s litter box is located in an area that’s already claimed by another animal, such as a dog or another cat, they may be feeling threatened and avoid the box altogether. Try to keep the litter box located somewhere that’s private and inaccessible to other animals. Additionally, you may want to consider adding more than one litter box.

9. Your Cat Is Bored

Cats are very intelligent and curious animals, so your cat may be pooping in the tub simply because it’s more interesting or exciting than using their litter box. Try to divert their attention by placing toys or treats around the tub when you’re not using it or play with them near the tub to help them develop a positive association with it.

Cat bored with Facebook newsfeed
Photo Credit: acebrand, Pixabay

10. Your Cat Feels Trapped:

Cats are very independent creatures, and they hate feeling trapped or confined. If your cat is pooping in the tub because they feel like they can’t escape the bathroom, try to provide them with an alternate exit route, such as a pet door or window. Additionally, make sure that you’re not closing the door to the bathroom while.


If you’re still having trouble getting your cat to use the litter box, talk to your veterinarian about other possible causes and solutions. Some cats may need medication or special diets in order to correct their stool problems. With a little time, patience, and trial and error, you should be able to get your cat using the litter box again in no time.

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Featured Image Credit: Irina Borodovskaya, Shutterstock

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