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Is Your Cat Pooping in the Bathtub or Shower?

Updated on January 19, 2016
A cat that persists in pooping in the bathtub or shower may have a medical problem.
A cat that persists in pooping in the bathtub or shower may have a medical problem.

My cat just pooped in the shower. How disgusting!

Cats that suddenly begin to ignore their litter boxes are not uncommon. If your cat is pooping in the bathtub, shower, or bathroom sink, there are a few different possible explanations. While it can be frustrating when your cat begins to "act out" in this way, other cat owners have successfully stopped this behavior.

If your cat is is ignoring their litter box, it may be time to clean the litter box, switch to a different type of litter, and/or offer your cat two letterboxes: one for peeing and one for pooping.
If your cat is is ignoring their litter box, it may be time to clean the litter box, switch to a different type of litter, and/or offer your cat two letterboxes: one for peeing and one for pooping.

When a cat ignores their litter box and uses the bathtub or shower instead, these may be the reasons:

  • Is the litter box full of urine or feces? Does it smell of ammonia? You may be able to solve your problem simply by changing the litter.
  • Are there any new situations that may cause your cat stress? Think about whether anyone is hurting your cat. Is there a new pet in the family? A new baby? Have you moved to a new home or been gone recently? It could also be something small, like a new location for their food or litter box.

Cats are clean and neat animals. When they begin relieving themselves in a new, and clearly off-limits place, they are letting their owner know that something is wrong.

Steps to Stop Peeing & Pooping in the Bathtub

How to encourage your cat to use their litter box.
1. Leave some water in your bathtub or shower to make it less attractive to cat.
2. Use a cat-attract litter.
3. Get two litter boxes, one for poop and the other for pee. Some cats prefer not to do both in the same box.
4. Make sure litter boxes are not near the place where your cat eats and drinks.
5. If the problem persists, take your cat to the vet. It may be a medical issue.
It isn't unusual for a cat to "misbehave" by using the bathroom as their litter box when their owner goes away, gets a new pet, or has new baby.
It isn't unusual for a cat to "misbehave" by using the bathroom as their litter box when their owner goes away, gets a new pet, or has new baby.

Cats need companionship. If your cat is left alone all the time, there's a chance that she will express her loneliness by leaving you an unwanted present. Cats usually choose a bed or couch, but the bathtub is also common.

If you suspect that your cat is lonely, here are some ideas:

  • Find a suitable companion for your cat! Any neighbors who can stop in and give her some lap-time while you're gone? There are also professional pet-sitters who have experience with playing and spending time with cats. They may also be able to help train your cat to use their litter boxes.
  • If you can, spend more time at home. Or, give your cat tons of love and attention whenever you are home.

What You Should Not Do!

  • Never rub your cat's nose in their poop or pee as a way of telling them you're unhappy with them. This technique doesn't work!
  • Do not hit or yell at your cat. They will probably only misbehave more.

What if Your Cat Misbehaves for No Reason?

Some cats are temperamentally difficult. You've met the type: hissing, unaffectionate, and non-loving. You may just have a bad kitty.

Pooping in the shower, on the floor, or anywhere else it shouldn't may be your cat's way of being possessive of the space or house. If your cat's personality is like this, then they will also display:

  • Aggressive behavior like scratching, biting, and hissing.
  • Ruining furniture and rugs.
  • Constant annoying meowing.

If this is the case, you really only have two options:

  • Consult a vet, pet trainer, or shelter staff for advice about training your pet to behave in a sociable manner.
  • Find another home for your cat.

Is your cat ignoring their litter box? Share your experiences here.

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      Cat lover 26 hours ago

      my 3 year old cat is pooping in the sink and puking in the hallways of my house and if he is doing it for no reason and not a medical problem my parents will get rid of him and I'm hoping that won't happen

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      Willow 3 days ago

      My new ten week old kitten has the bathroom as her "apartment" , but has free run of the home. She does use the litter box but recently she has been batting her toys around in the bath tub which has severalicture of litter from her feet. Lately she has been backing up to the drain to pee and point in the tub . I clean her litter box twice a day and fresh once a week.

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      CheshireKat 7 weeks ago

      This article has some good suggestions, however, the statement that some cats misbehave for no reason is completely false. Cats do not have a vindictive or revengeful nature, that said, there is always a reason for their behavior! Veterinarians and behavior specialists look at the cat's physical and emotional health, as well as traits of instinct to help figure out what's going on and find solutions. Think of this as the H.I.S.S. Test, which stands for health, instinct, stress, and symptom solvers.

      H=Health

      Cats that make a point of eliminating right in front of the owner-squatting in your presence to wet or poop may be crying out for help. Cystitis sometimes prompts cats to urinate in odd places and make a point of it by posturing in front of their human, and sometimes this is in the sink or tub.

      Painful elimination due to constipation, for example, can prompt cats to avoid the litter box if they associate it with discomfort.

      I=Instinct

      Some felines prefer to have separate facilities for solids and liquids. Even though there may be more than enough room in the single litter box, many prefer to have a fresh box for potty deposits.

      S=Stress

      The stress of losing a beloved family member can't be disregarded. Stress often affects the cat's emotional health. They will feel and react to YOUR mourning, as well as any change in routine. Also, like some dogs, cat's can suffer from separation anxiety, if you leave for extended periods of time.

      S=Symptom, Signs & Solutions

      I subscribe to an email list that many professional cat breeders frequent. Eliminating in the sink or bathtub actually is not at all uncommon! However, there is no definitive reason for the behavior, and a combination of factors vary from cat to cat.

      With intact cats, pottying in the sink or tub can be a form of marking behavior especially in a multiple cat household. Even some neutered cats use uncovered feces as a way to mark territory.

      Front declawed cats sometimes develop aversions to digging in the litter. That porcelain feels nice and cool against paw pads, compared to gritty litter.

      Also, the tub or sink cleaner may influence his preference. Cats often are attracted to the smell of bleach and like to eliminate on top of it. So a shiny clean surface that hints at bleach may be very inviting.

      Finally, there's a reason they call it copy-cat behavior. Do you ever allow Toby in the bathroom when you must use the facilities? Cats often follow owners to the bathroom. It's not beyond the realm of possibilities that a cat tries to emulate his beloved owners, and the tub and sink don't have pesky water that would offend him if he happened to lose his balance while posing!

      I have two suggestions. First, add a second litter box, preferably in a different room so there is an option for using a box for #1 and the other for #2. And second, maybe you could simply place the second box inside the empty bathtub? I know a number of professional cat breeders who manage the issue this way. It helps enormously with clean up - as long as you remember to remove the box before you bathe! Good luck!

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      Martina Milligan 3 months ago

      my kitten is pooping in my bathtub for the last two days but peeing in her litter, i have a bad cough right now and she jumping everytime i cough can this me the reason she is pooping in the tub her litter is clean and i added water to the tub.

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      Jess 9 months ago

      I've had my male cat for about a month and a half... my 6 year old son had been asking for one and I'll be damned if he didn't just show up at our door....not full grown but not a kitten either...I'm 8 months pregnant and can't stand the smell of cat poop...lucky for me this cat has been simply amazing...he nibbles my nose chin or ears followed by a loud meow to let me know he wants to go outside! However I have a friend down the road who has a female car about the same age, she brought her cat over to see how our cats would interact...my cat did not like this neither did hers...her hissed and growled at mine and mine just kinda kept her cornered no growling or hissing but later that night after the other cat had gone my cat did it's normal thing to let me know he needed to go out but wouldn't go when I opened the door...I went I to the bathroom to pee and my cat followed me and got into the tub and pooped right in front of me...maybe he was just letting me know...hey don't bring other cats ok my turf....this was last night and today he has been fine with going outside again....hope he keeps it's up:)

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      Mary 9 months ago

      I guess misery DOES love company. It felt good to read all your posts about cats pooping in the bathtub. We have three one-year-old kittens who have been perfect with the litter box from the first day. But now one or more (not sure who) has been using the tub off and on. I had just decided to line the tub with a padding of newspaper to at least make it easier to clean up - until I saw the suggestion of adding water to the tub. I like that idea and will try it first. If it works, I'll get back to let you all know.

      Mary

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      kristina l Foley 10 months ago

      My 7 year old male has been pooping in the tub for a year. It started when I got a puppy. I put a box right outside the bathroom door, but he won't use it.

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      juliet 10 months ago

      @Wayne, would you put your grandchildren down because they're not going to the bathroom in the right place?

      Not to sound like a dick, but that's sort of what you're doing to your cat. Especially since she's been sick before. I would DEF take her back to the vet to get her checked. I would also feed all wet food and no dry to help keep her better hydrated. Letting her out would absolutely kill her so at least you're on point about that. Her behavior sounds entirely medical and not so much behavioral. Either way it may help to get her some new litter boxes in new places to entice her to use the boxes again. But again, TAKE HER TO THE VET. There is most likely something WRONG with her and she's very uncomfortable or in pain.

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      Wayne 11 months ago

      We have two cats that we've had for about 3 yrs. They are both a little over 3 yrs old and get along famously. One thinks she's a dog (Voodoo) and one is visually impaired (Axel). About a month and a half ago, Axel started peeing on the couch. We took her to the vet and found she had a UTI which we got cleared up. It stopped happening for about 2 weeks. Then it started again. We tried putting things on the couch and that worked. Then one day, she got up on the love seat next to me, made this strange sound then started peeing. . . On the love seat and my leg. Well, this morning, she pooped on another couch that we have set up for the grandkids playroom. It's been in there for a couple of years now. We're at our whits end. The most humane option we may have is to have her put down. We can't let her outside because she's been an inside cat all of her life, and if the heat didn't get her, the traffic quite possibly would with her being visually impaired. Does anybody know of any cat sanctuaries anywhere near Mississippi? I'd rather not put her down, but I don't know of any other options.

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      Slybele 13 months ago

      I adopted a cat last month from the local shelter. He's a gorgeous all black cat with a blue sheen. I'm sure he's not a Bombay as those are very expensive but I digress. We found and have witnessed that this cat pees in the toilet. Wow, nice (outside of having to wipe the rim). He poops in the bathtub. Take the bad with the great or ??. I have a shower curtain so there's no way of blocking his entrance and I acknowledge that there are much worse places for him to poop. Like anywhere else would be worse. I have four other cats who use the box.. perhaps I'll get him his own for that end of the tub til I figure out another solution.

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      Brenda 14 months ago

      My boy cat is 2 years old and about 6 months ago he started pooping and peeing in the bathtub. I tried every method possible to get him to stop but nothing worked. I would simply clean it up right afterward and seemed to be dealing with it well. I recently moved to a new house and all bathrooms have showers in them. He no longer poops in the shower but now he's found a spot on the living room floor in a corner to poop. I really don't know what to do because the litter box is always clean, I've provided 2 litter boxes (1 also for his sister) but still he won't go in it. I'm not sure what to do with this boy.

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      Tessa Idrees 14 months ago

      I got a kitten as s gift and have had many cats in my life, of which we have an elder 6 year old cat.....They have got used to each other now....Kitten is six weeks old....took it for its shots and all....De fleaed it as well. ...done everything possible.....It uses a litter box...did so quite fine in the beginning. ..now she only pees in the box and poos in my shower or on the bath mats regularly.....I have NEVER had a problem training a cat before...but this one is impossible.... she keeps on doing it......I need some advice and her box is clean and scooped and washed on a daily basis.....HELP PLEASE!!!

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      anoynnous 15 months ago

      My Beautiful 5 months old boy has two litter boxes, poops in those and randomly chooses to poop in our bath tub, its annoying smelly and not fun when it takes you half an hour to find the smell. but I guess its part of being a cat owner. I am trying to look at it that he is like a toddler and acts out when he is not happy with me. I have noticed it occurs when he wants to play and we dont so he poops in the tub which gets our attention. Like my kids I am hoping that he will outgrow this habit, but know we will always love him

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      Katie 16 months ago

      We have two cats ages 15 & 7, three litter boxes, cleaned everyday & one on each floor of our house. My 7yr old kitty starting pooping in the tub for about a month now. He still uses all of the litter boxes & one of the boxes is right next to the tub. We think maybe his obsession with the faucet is contributing to the tub-pooping behavior if he is trying to mark his possession of the tub? Ill have to try the water-in-tub method & put some cleaner in it, but then I worry he will poop next to the tub or worse. Thanks for all the messages before me, its good to know I'm not alone!

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      jessica 17 months ago

      My cat is 13 years old he goes to the bathroom outside, if not he uses his litter box but today I found him pooping and then peeing later into the bathtub I think there's something wrong with him or is trying to let me know that something's wrong with him does anybody have any advice going to take him to the vet on Monday but just wanted to see if anybody else has had this problem

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      Shelly 19 months ago

      Our kitten did awesome with the litter box the first 3 or 4 months we had her. Then she started randomly using the tub. We try and keep her litter box clean. I change the litter once a week and we clean out debris almost every day. I feel like she's being naughty because she's a very smart cat. She had stopped for a month or so and now it's started back up. I guess we will work have to work on it somehow. I just disinfect the tub and keep it moving but the family finds it disturbing lol

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      patti 21 months ago

      I have had my little girl Angel now for 7 months. She is a very clean girl and always used her litter pan. That is until a week ago when I spayed her. Now she uses my tub about twice a day to have her shuts. But I still find that she's using her litter box too. And sometimes she doesn't use my tub. Seems like it only happens after my mom's dog has been on me. Could this be why? She plays with him all the time they have been living together for about a month now.

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      Ruth 22 months ago

      After reading some of these post I'm sad. You can't just choose to get a pet and decide it's not good enough for you and toss it. My kitten is 11 weeks old, I have had him for 5 weeks. He used the litter box from day one. Well... for a month anyway. But this past week he has been pooping in my shower, I feel it may be stress related. I left for the weekend and that's when it started, his litter box was clean, he had fresh food and water and a loving babysitter. But maybe he felt "abandoned" and it's his way of saying "why'd you leave me?" Animals have feelings and know when something isn't right, don't give up on your pet! Remember they didn't choose you! Check into how he/she is feeling. Now, my boy could poop in the shower for the rest of his life and I would NEVER give him up, we'll just keep trying. I chose to love and shelter him, we are just going to have to figure it out.

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      Animal Lover 23 months ago

      Please if you cat does something like this; it could be a MEDICAL or STRESS issue. Please see the Vet first. If you care about your pets you should do this first before just giving them away. Also; PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE spay and neuter your cats. It not only makes them healthier but stops unwanted litters. Having kittens won't stop any kind of behavior issues. If a cat does anything strange; see the Vet and go from there. So many cruel and mean posts here from people that supposedly care about their pets??

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      Sadie 23 months ago

      Sometime today my FULL GROWN cat pooped in my TUB. I was lost for words. Her litter box is right across from the bathroom, so I think I will have to try the water in the tub. It worked when she started jumping on my kitchen counter. Put a end to that VERY quickly. If this doesn't work I will be saying good bye.

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      Niki 2 years ago

      My female ginger is driving me mad 1 1/2 old and always shits in my shower it's disgusting the smell is horrendous too I've rubbed her nose it told her of but still does it not everyday but a lot she's just had 5 kittens 8 weeks ago thought that mite stop her still doing it thinking of getting rid of her can't stand it anymore

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      maureen 2 years ago

      We got this cutiest kitty we had him trained and just recently he started pooppin in the bath tub. Can't figure it out. My boyfriend and him use to get along and now they hate each other.my boyfriend says he's doing it delibertry. He use to sleep with us until he started attaking my boyfriend in his sleep. He has done nothing mean to him . I need help. This is wrecking arw happy home.

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      PJ 2 years ago

      My newly adopted cat suddenly started pooping in the tub when her litter box was completely clean. I read a few posts concerning this and tried one of the suggestions, adding a second litter box to the tub.

      I purchased a LARGE litter box and added Cat attract litter, placed it in the tub, drew the curtain 3/4 closed for her privacy.

      Consistently she uses both boxes now, one to pee in and the second to poop in. She even tells me after she's pooped most of the time.

      TRY A SECOND BOX!

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      My cat had kittens about 4 weeks ago and for the past week has been popping in the bathtub and we have no clue why. She has a clean litter box, fresh food and water.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: That's funny!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have 4 indoor cats and 4 litter boxes that are always clean. My oldest cat who is 12, and my first, pooped in my bathroom sink when she was a small kitten. I called the humane society about the problem and they said that for some reason, they had other calls regarding the same litter so wondered if the foster parents had allowed it. If I kept the door closed, she couldn't do it and wouldn't use the other bathroom sink. Then I moved into a fairly new house and she didn't do it for awhile but then would poop in the tub once in a while. I have one cat who loves to play with his favorite ball in the tub so sometimes, I open the door and sure enough, my poopy cat poops in there. It's very hard for me to love her anymore because she is getting worse with this problem.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Harry is our first cat, he is about three months old at first he pooped in the cat litter but now he loves pooping in the bath tub. I don't mind him doing so I find it easier to clean and the house don't smell.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      We had my boy cat (Dice) for about a year by himself and he never had any troubles with toileting. We even trained him to use the human toilet because we thought he hated using the litter trays. He hates having his feet in the tray so stands outside the tray and sits on the edge which nearly always resulted in him flipping the tray up. We successfully trained him to use the toilet but he still prefers to use the trays and we just have to fasten them to a piece of wood to stop them flipping... ANYWAY a couple of months ago we adopted our girl cat (Florence) and she is the bath pooper. She was fine up until Dice got a urinary infection and ever since she has gone in the bath! We thought it was because Dicey was constantly going to the trays and scratching about and she would think they were used... but now his issue is fixed but she still does it. We put up a barrier but she got around it :\

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: cleaners don't help but i read somewhere that cats hate the smell of vinegar! i sprinkled some of it over my tub and my kitty wouldn't even go near it. of course, your home might smell a bit vinegary for a bit right after...

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      My female started pooping in the tub 5 yrs ago, then we moved to a house w/ just a shower stall (no tub) & lived there for over 3 yrs. We just bought a home again w/ 2 tubs & it started all over again! She still uses the litter box too but there's just something about the tub that she loves for some reason. It drives my hubby crazy. This is the ONLY place that she does this too.....? I've tried every type of cleaner & it does no good.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Obviously Cinderfella ia a jerk then. He is a rescue and I have 2 other cats with whom he gets along well. He meows loudly & long and likes to chew on my fingers. If he weren't so handsome I'd kick him to the curb.

      He doesn't always use the tub so I don't know what triggers it

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      So my cat a jerk. It would explain her pooping in the tub.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I rescued Giz from our garden. He was a stray. Before I took him in he would wander around crying his little heart out and trying to befriend cats and humans alike. From day 1 when he came to live with me Giz has pooped in the bath. He has been with me for 5 years and I wish my other cats would do the same, its so easy just cleaning the bath.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      there are four cats where I live, as I had to move inwith my boyfriend after suffering a stroke this summer. My boyfriend and his roommate are pigs, and do not keep the home clean. The place is filthy. I am a very clean person , and just recently noticed one of the cats constantly pooping in the tub. very gross and disgusting. The apartment smells, and I am also getting bites.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      My cat started pooping in the tub out of nowhere. Took him to the vet found out he was diabetic. Started him on diabetic shots and he stopped going in the tub and back in the litter box. Sometimes its there way of telling you something is wrong.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      One thing left out was that you may need another litter box. Always have one more litter box that u have cats (exp: 1cat-2 boxes; 2 cats- 3 boxes etc.)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      My cat does this so I put water ion the bath...and he loves it..jumps in all the time...so I filled it up more and he still jumps in and POOPS!!! then he is soaking wet every time he jumps back out..damn!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Twice this week my cat has pooed in my bath i have two cats but it seems to be the female one who is doing the pooing,i have now closed the bathroom door to stop her!!!!!!!!!

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      Brenda_kats 5 years ago

      @anonymous: fill it up with water, purchase a flat drain stopper and keep their area clean by using a no ammonia disinfectant... oh and make sure that you are using quality sand..try cats pride flushable sand. good luck!

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      Brenda_kats 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Great! I am glad to hear that :)

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      Brenda_kats 5 years ago

      Hey everyone! I just wanted to add that about two months ago, I purchased the litter kwitter kit. I think the product makes it easier in terms of cleaning and comfort for cats. I also purchased an 'organic" disinfectant that contains no ammonia at all. The disinfectant I am using is "seventh generation multi_surface cleaner. now my older cat (the bathtub pooper) is using the littler kwiter and is already using the last phase! Also, I am using cats pride flushable kitty littler...Please do not hesitate and purchase a cleaning product without ammonia, it is very important for this process and remember to keep things nice and clean, cats are very clean animals...One more thing, please do not punish or hit your furry friend, it will only make them feel worse about the situation and scare them away...only love for those egocentric furry ones! :) good luck!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: try purchasing a flat drain stopper...and make sure you put enough water in the tub, some cats will poop on top of the water if is not high enough..it happened with mine.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      She has stopped. I keep about 1/2" of water in the tub.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      My kitty was appropriately using the litter box in the bathroom and then out of nowhere started to poop and pee in the bathtub. I've tried two litter boxes in the tub out of the tub by the tub. I've put water in the tub in which the cat cries in but still jumps in. I'm not sure how to change it.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've place 2 litter boxes to line the bottom of the bathtub. The F*er shat in-between the litter pans! I don't know what else to do!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm having this same problem. He'll pee in the toilet and poop in the shower. Unfortunately my tub stopper leaks and doesn't hold water very long. I tried leaving smells like ammonia in the tub; that doesn't work either. I'm at a loss.

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      Kitty-Be-Good 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Great tips, Brenda! Thank you for sharing.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Oh god, that happened to me for a about one week. I have been using the citykitty toilet training kit and my oldest cat kept on peeing on the citykitty and pooping on the bathtub. We tried everything, from waiting in the bathroom with the cat, putting the littler box next to the tub etc etc...one night I woke up and filled the bathtub with cold water. The same night I heard my cat jumping in and out of the water, I waited and then heard him crying, I kept on waiting, then, I hear him trying the citykitty and finally, after a lot of meowing, he pooped in the citykitty! You have to keep the bathtub with water at all times, they will take any chance to go back and poop there. Even after they start using the litter box or toilet training kit, they will try to go back to the tub. My suggestion...study your cat, give them time and lots of love.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      My cat poops in the bathtub at least 2 times a week.. it gets annoying and it is very smell... my cat doesn't even like me so its weird that he does it... my brother and I are the ones who clean it up.. and he only poops in OUR bathtub.. not our parents because he loves them.. and hates us.

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