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Cats/Cat going on carpet--Help! please


QUESTION: I am at the end of my rope, having tried everything I can think of!  Adult cat, adopted from humane society 6 years ago.  No problem for first 5 years--cat always used litter box no matter what! For past year, cat periodically has BM on dining room carpet.  A few times, other places, but 95% of the time, its in this same area--even when litter boxes are clean.  I've given her 2 boxes one on each end of the house.  No change in lifestyle, food, or litter.  No other animals here, no house guests of any kind.  Sometimes she cries in the morning when I feed her.  When she goes on carpet it is usually during the night when I'm sleeping.  Sometimes I've felt she does it if she's left alone too long or if I go outside to work in yard & she wants to come out--later I find the poo on the carpet. Sometimes I think its behavioral and other times I'm not sure.  Otherwise no other health problems that I'm aware of.  Vet checked her for an issue with her fur clumping (this was b/f she was having issue going on carpet) and said she is in good health.  I've treated carpet with product called DUMB CAT which is supposed to break up the bacteria so the cat won't smell previously soiled areas.  It had no effect.  I'm constantly dragging out the carpet steam cleaner to clean these messes.  I've taken her to the spot and scolded her and even spanked her--well, smacking her face a little. She doesn't get it and goes right back and does it again the next day.  I'm not getting through to her.  It is now so out of hand I just don't know what to do... is it instinctive now b/c she 'smells' the previously soiled carpet and considers it her own personal large litter box?  Is it behavioral? a bad habit now that can't be broken? She DOES use the liter box the rest of the day and time; most of the time, in the morning when I get up she's done it again.  What the heck do I do?  I am a renter so cannot pull up the carpet and I'm thinking about taking her back to the humane society! I'm afraid my landlord may find out that the cat is going on the carpet.  If someone came in here with a black light they'd see she's gone all around the dining room table.  By the way, I'm rarely in the dining room area; although it is open to the living room, but rarely sit at the table there or use that particular area. And NO! I will NOT put a litter box there--absolutely NOT!  and if it means getting rid of the cat or putting a liter box in the dining room; I will have to say goodbye to her as painful as that may be.  I live on a highway and can't make her an outdoor cat.  But actually I've been do disgusted with her that several times I tried to do it anyway--make her an outdoor cat.  But she cries at the door calling "hello, hello" and it breaks my heart so I let her back in; and that's not a long term solution anyway.  I live in the northern climate and in the winter I can't banish her to the outdoors anyway.  Is there something I can put in the carpet that will keep her from wanting to go there?  I've tried putting plastic down but she goes on the carpet between the plastic and the wall!  I've put her food and water dishes out there but she will just go a few feet over from her food dish. I read cat don't like fragrances so I put all kinds of sweet smelling air fresheners there and a Renuzit right on the floor near where she goes, and just went right next to it!  I've shaken that carpet freshener powder generously over the carpet and let it sit there and she just pooped right on top of it.  She's an affectionate cat and otherwise there are no other problems;except she cries if I go outside even for a minute.  I know this is a long post, but I wanted to let you know I've tried everything I could think of.  In the morning when I wake up she's right there in the bed with me and very affectionate; and at night when I read in bed she's right with me.  Please help... spanking and scolding her doesn't help and i don't want to be a cat abuser anyway!  I feel awful scolding her, but I don't know what else to do.  As far as shutting her up in one room; that doesn't work either, she scratches at the door, tears up the carpet and cries and "howls hello? hello? hello?" she says. This cat has 3 cat beds! 2 liter boxes that I scoop out faithfully each and every single night! toys and all the luxuries a cat could want.  I could probably be more affectionate toward her but I work from home... i  have to work, you know?  I give her Purina dry cat food, and there's been no change in her diet. Help!  how can I get her to stop going on the dining room carpet!?  Should I take her back to the humane society so she can have a fresh start with someone else?  She is fixed and I will pay the adoption fee for the new owner to increase her chances for adoption; but as I write that line that I just wrote it makes me feel like crying.  Other than pooping on the carpet for the past year or so, she's been a good friend.  Like I said, I rent and can't pull up the carpet; that's out of the question!  If I owned the place, I would if that's what it took.  It just feels hopeless to me.  I think if I took her to the vet, he's probably say her health is fine.  I sense that it is really. She does get anxious sometimes.  Maybe a sedative or something?  Is there anything I can put on the carpet to discourage her and get rid of any odor that she smells which may be instinctively making her go there?  OK... I'm really praying for some help here and appreciate anything you can tell me. I just can't connect any event or circumstance with the time this all started.  Like I said, she wasn't always this way. The first 5 years she's been with me, she never went anywhere she shouldn't have. As far as urine, she seems to be using the box for that. Mostly she does this at night between the time I go to bed and the time I wake up.   Thanks very much, Joy

first of all let me say I know how frustrating this can be, so don't think you are on your own with this problem. i am asked every singled day about very similar problems.

let me say that cats do not act up i.e they don;t do things like this deliberately to annoy or be naughty etc, they do no not think like humans, react like humans or behave like humans. So the first thing to do is to think of her as cat and put her actions down to a genuine reason.

You are quite right with what you say about the smell making her return to that area. even the tiniest molecule of scent 9something we couldn't see or smell ourselves)will encourage her to use the same place. So fist things is to make sure that area is totally totally clean. Bicarbonate of soda is an excellent scent absorber and when sprinkled down, left for a few hours hoovered up and then perhaps repeat should get all the scent out ( please see my web page about cat urine remover for more information )

then you will also have to restrict your cat from that area. So for a few weeks keep the door to that area closed at all times (if possible)

During this time of cleaning try using the litter training process described here By restricting her to a smaller area for a period of time helps them to rebuild their confidence in using the litter tray only without any other distractions.

lastly after all of this is done, make sure that at night time before you go to bed that you play a game with your cat (to help tire them out) and give her a small meal (this will also help to settle her down at night). Also making sure that she has plenty of things to keep her occupied around the house will help too. I have a page about indoor cats

i hope i have been able to help you in this problem. remember be patient, be persistent and don't blame your cat or try to punish her, all this will do will make her afraid of you.

best wishes Kate

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The information on the cat's behavior being non-vindictive is very helpful, thank you very much
Please may I ask if the bicarbonate of soda will deal with the residual odor (that only the cat can smell, b/c I can't smell or see it) left from bowl movements.  Your article seemed to deal with urine.  As far as I can tell, she is not urinating on the carpet... it is only a stool which is soft, the consistency of mash potato or loose.  I've cleaned the carpet with a steam vac shampooer and don't see or smell residue, but she can I think.  Will the bicarbonate of soda work to neutralize BM residue also?
thank you very kindly,

yes Bicarbonate of soda is a general odour eliminator and is very good as well as being completely safe to use.

You may have you use it a couple of times to make sure but I have used it many times as have many of my friends and contributors to the cat site.

best wishes Kate


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Kate Tilmouth


I can answer most day to day cat problems encountered by owners. I have a good understanding of cat behaviour and problems which may arise from changes to their daily routine. I can advise on cat training including litter training and general day to day cat care issues. I am not a vet and therefore cannot answer medical questions.


I run my own cat website at and have been a dedicated cat owner for over 20 years. I have encountered many different cat problems and situations and feel that i have a good understanding of cats and cat ownership.

I am a platinum member of Ezinearticles where i write mainly cat related articles.

Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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