Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Often times, elderly cats that stop using the litter are painful. Cats develop arthritis as they age and climbing into a litter box can become quite hard for them. I’d suggest using a litter box with low walls or a Booda dome that has a spiral stairway. In the meantime, he or she should be seen by a veterinarian to rule out disease and/or begin treatment for arthritis if that is the cause.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Cats stop using their litter boxes for a variety of reasons, including issues with the box or litter, dissatisfaction with the placement or number of boxes, changes in the environment inside or outside the house (e.g., a new pet in the house, feral cats prowling around outside), and undiagnosed medical conditions.
With kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract infections and hyperthyroidism, cats drink more and then urinate more. That can cause them not to be able to make it to the litter box in time and urinate wherever they are, whether it is in your bed or on the floor.
Old age is another common cause of incontinence in cats, not only from probable urethral sphincter weakness but also possibly from the onset of senility. The presence of other diseases that cause excessive water consumption, such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperadrenocorticism, or a high salt or sugar intake.
Underlying medical issues can be a cause of your cat urinating outside the litter box. A likely culprit is a urinary tract infection, but it can also be kidney disease, diabetes, or anything that causes your cat to feel uncomfortable, such as arthritis.
You`ll know it`s time to euthanize your cat when your veterinarian has given a terminal diagnosis such as cancer or kidney failure and the quality of life has become dramatically affected. There may be drastic weight loss, difficulty moving and persistent breathing difficulties.
“Older cats may be more sensitive to changes in the household, since their ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations begins to diminish with age,” she says. Even with environmental stress, an elderly cat pooping on the floor—or urinating on the floor—is never done out of revenge or spite, Galaxy says.
Territorial Behavior

Cats are territorial creatures, so it makes sense that they would want to mark their territory in some way. For example, if you bring a new cat home, your old cat might become territorial over the house and start pooping in different rooms to show the other cat that it`s their home.

“This behavior could be the result of a urinary tract infection, kidney disease, or diabetes. Other health problems that are painful, or simply make your cat feel “off” also could be to blame. For example, an older cat with severe arthritis might have trouble getting into a box with high sides or a cover,” says Lund.
Peeing Everywhere Means Take Your Cat to the Vet

Your veterinarian will help you unravel the mystery of why your cat is peeing everywhere. The vet will likely check your cat for a urinary tract infection, bladder infection, kidney issues, diabetes, or a few other possible causes.

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Senior Care Guidelines, older cats are classified as mature or middle-aged at 7 to 10 years old, as senior cats at 11 to 14 years old, and geriatric from 15 to 25 years old.
Frequent urinating. While you might think this is a sign your cat`s kidneys are working well, it actually means they are no longer able to hold water. Urinating outside their litter box is another signal. Drinking a lot of water; this means your cat is trying to replace the fluid they have lost through urinating.
The most common reason a cat sprays urine: To establish or maintain territory. Because of a perceived threat such as a new cat in the home or nearby outside cats. Out of frustration such as insufficient playtime or restrictive diets.
Thanks to improved nutrition, living indoors, and advances in veterinary medicine, cats live longer and are now considered older at 12 to 14 years, says Richard Goldstein, DVM, assistant professor in small animal medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, whose oldest feline patient reached a …
Place littler trays and food bowls in an easy-to-access area close to your pet. Raise food and water bowls so that your pet doesn`t have to strain or bend over. Changing to a shallower bowl can also help. Offer food by hand, this can help to comfort your loving pet and you can adjust food placement easily.
Anti-diarrheal and anti-inflammatory medications may be used, either as a sole therapy or in addition to other, more specialized, treatments. In a cat with sphincter incontinence that is caused by a lesion of the anus (such as a wound or mass), surgical treatment may be necessary.
Some options to change this behavior include seeing a veterinarian to rule out a medical issue, cleaning the litterbox and its area, purchasing a new litterbox or changing the type of litter used, changing the location of the litterbox, and even using obstacles to block certain locations where the cat may poop on the …
The end stage of dementia in cats may happen when they have lost interest in anything they previously liked or when their quality of life has gone down significantly.
The increased urine production that often results from diseases common to aging cats (e.g., kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, or hyperthyroidism) may cause the litter box to become soiled more quickly than expected. The increased soil and odor may prompt cats to eliminate in inappropriate areas. .
A common cause of cats peeing or urinating outside the litter box is urinary tract disease. Urinary tract infections or feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD, also known as idiopathic cystitis) can be painful, increase a cat`s urge to go, and prevent cats from going normally.
Peeing Everywhere Means Take Your Cat to the Vet

Your veterinarian will help you unravel the mystery of why your cat is peeing everywhere. The vet will likely check your cat for a urinary tract infection, bladder infection, kidney issues, diabetes, or a few other possible causes.

Peeing Everywhere Means Take Your Cat to the Vet

Your veterinarian will help you unravel the mystery of why your cat is peeing everywhere. The vet will likely check your cat for a urinary tract infection, bladder infection, kidney issues, diabetes, or a few other possible causes.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. I have a cat that defecates in the litter box but always urinates outside the box. It is very annoying.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.

If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.

The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. My cat will not stop going to the toilet on my carpet, bed, washing pile etc.. Also uses its litter box occasionally? I don’t understand why this is?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.
If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.
The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. Our cat of six years has on two separate occasions has defecated on the living room rug and recently pee’d on the skirt of the Christmas tree.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.

If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.

The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. My cat started to pee outside the litter box. What should I do?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate bathroom use in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his defecating outside the box.

Once medical issues are ruled out, it’s time to take a look at other explanations. Has there been a lot of activity that wasn’t normal? Were you away and your cat was left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox located in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet, or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Have you changed the brand of litter or kind? Or is there something about the spot he has chosen to use that is attracting him in some way? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction.

The general rule of thumb is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped at least daily, if not more often and changed completely on a weekly basis, and washed with soap and water.

You can also offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystal kind, since it makes a hissing sound when wet that can startle some cats and make them reluctant to use it again.

The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litterbox. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation.

Q. My cat seems to have lost control of her bowels and no longer uses her litter box even to urinate. She is 5 or 6 yrs and is in good health otherwise
ANSWER : A. If your cat has had a sudden change in litter box habits, it is always a good idea to rule out any underlying issues with a wellness check from your vet. Bringing in a urine and stool sample if possible can also help as tests can be run on these samples to check for common infections or parasites. If these are present, treating them usually helps resolve the problem of not using the box.

Loss of bowel control usually results in dribbling of feces or urine rather than complete accidents. If you are seeing this, it is possible that an injury to the hind end or problem with the nerves or muscles is happening and should be looked at by your vet.

If the accidents are complete (full amount of stool, big puddle of urine) your cat may be choosing not to use the litter box due to illness, a too-dirty litter, litter pans that are too tall (which may make older cats have a harder time getting in and out), or a litter substrate that was changed too suddenly. Sometimes, changing the environment your cat’s litter box is in by lowering the sides, moving food and water dishes away and returning back to a previously liked litter can help.

In any area of an accident, an enzymatic cleaner should be used. These break down urine and stool particles, making it so that your cat is less likely to be attracted to going there again. Moving stools to the litter box can also entice your cat to start going there again.

Q. My cat is pooping outside of the litter bix. He is 2 1/2. He did this as a kitten. It stopped then started about 3 months ago. Litterbox is clean.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination or house soiling can be a frustrating problem but with a bit of detective work on your part, there is hope. First, before deciding that this is a behavioral issue, any medical problems (diarrhea, constipation, fecal incontinence, pain on defecation, etc.) need to be ruled out and/or treated. If your cat receives a clean bill of health from your vet but is still eliminating outside the litterbox, then we need to consider that something about the box itself might be aversive to your cat. Cats can be quite finicky about their litterbox and toileting habits. Below I have listed common recommendations and cat preferences for litterbox use. Review the list and make any changes that could account for your cat’s aversion to defecating in the litterbox:
* Soft, fine-grained clumping litter (vs, coarse-grained, non-clumping litter)
* Unscented
* 1 – 1 1/2 inch depth (especially older cats or cats with hip problems)
* Larger pans (especially for large cats) – want to get whole body inside – poop just outside the box might mean the box is too small
* Open, non-hooded
* At least one shallow side to get in and out easily
* Easy to get to – not hidden away, preferably in areas they spend time in or near – and not near appliances that make scary, unpredictable noises (washers, dryers, refrigerators)
* Scoop minimum 1X/day – preferably 2
* Clean the litterbox with soap and water and put in fresh scoopable litter at least once/month (instead of just continuously adding)
* Some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in a separate box, so you may need 2 boxes even if you just have 1 cat. Multi-cat households should have 1 box/cat plus 1 extra.

Q. Cat is deficating on rugs, not litter box. Has never done this until this year. We drove from NY to FL, could there be a connection?
ANSWER : A. Sudden changes in bowel or litter box behavior can be caused by both behavioral or medical reasons. Scheduling a wellness exam with your local vet to rule out any problems (and also to bring in a stool sample) is the best first step. Problems such as digestive upset, constipation, diarrhea or even arthritis in older cats making it harder to get into the box can all cause this problem.

If your cat checks out healthy, it is possible that stress such as another person or pet in the home, age, or environment are causing the problem. Make sure that the litter used is the same, and if it needs to be changed that it is done gradually- cats are very picky about what they like as litter. Making sure bedding, food and water are not too close to the litter can also help as cats do not like to potty near these objects usually. For arthritic cats, a step or lowered box can make getting in and out easier to allow for proper use of the box. Keeping the box clean is also a must for cats.

As for cleaning up accidents, using a product such as an enzymatic cleaner may be helpful. These products break down urine and stool particles left in the accident area, and may deter your cat from using the spot as a bathroom again.

Q. Why do cats meow?
ANSWER : A. Cat parents often wish they could better understand what their favorite feline friends want or desire. A cat’s meow can be interpreted in many different ways and can indicate an array of feelings and needs. Here are some of the most common reasons for your cat’s vocalizations:

1. Greeting- Many cats will meow as a greeting when you enter your home or walk into a room. Cats will also meow at another cat or animal in the household to extend a hello and acknowledge the other animal’s presence.

2. Attention – An exuberant meow followed by leg rubbing or another attention seeking behavior may indicate your cat is looking for some quality time spent together. Some petting or rubbing behind the ears may be in order.

3. Hunger – A meowing cat is often a hungry cat. This is one of the most common reasons for a cat to vocalize to their owners. A cat will meow to get your attention at feeding times or even when they want extra food.

4. Sickness – A sick or hurt cat may begin to meow excessively, warranting a visit to the veterinarian. There are numerous reasons for a cat in distress to meow—whether it is related to an upset stomach, an injured leg or a urinary blockage. These meows should be carefully investigated.

5. Entering or leaving – Most cats will vocalize when they want to be let in or out of a room. You may notice when you are in the bathroom or behind the closed door of a room that your cat begins to meow, scratches at the door, and often reaches its paw under the door. This is a clear indication that the cat wants to be where you are.

6. Angry – An agitated cat may meow to warn their owner or another household pet that they are upset and would like to be left alone. This angry meow may increase in sound volume as the cat becomes more stressed or agitated. Often a cat will exhibit this type of meow at the veterinary office when they are unhappy with their examination or restraint.

Each feline is different and so are their vocalizations. Learn to understand the variety of meows your cat uses on a daily basis. This will help you develop a better relationship with your cat and help them live a more trusting and happier life.