Inappropriate elimination can make any cat owner's life a true nightmare, especially when it involves faeces. Cats instinctively choose soft, grainy materials in out-of-the-way places to do their business, mimicking the ground dirt their ancestors once used on the African plains. But your house is not an African plain, and you need your cat to do his dirty work in the litter box. With a few simple tips, your cat will be on the way to good bathroom behaviour.
Bring your cat inside. If your cat is pooping on gravel outside, the easiest solution is to make it an indoor cat. Keeping the cat inside is safer than letting it roam free. Supervise your cat carefully to make sure it does not escape.
If you do not want to keep your cat inside, or your cat is already inside but pooping on gravel somewhere in the house, choose a repellent made of substances offensive to the animal. Buy a spray or oil at your local pet store that will smell terrible to your cat. Your cat is then likely to avoid areas where it encounters the odour.
Change your cat's litter. Try a few different brands to see which one your cat prefers. Sometimes cats choose gravel because it smells pleasing, is comfortable underneath their paws, or for other instinctive reasons. Replace the gravel with a similar brand of litter.
Place your cat's litter box in a quiet, private area. You cat may not be pooping in gravel because of the gravel, but because of the location. Leave your cat alone when it uses the litter box -- it may be too stressed out or agitated to use the litter box while being watched or bothered.
Put a fence or chicken wire around the area with gravel. Get your cat used to bypassing that as a place to use the bathroom. Remove the barrier after a few weeks to see if the cat continues to ignore it. Cats are creatures of habit, and if they do not use a place as a bathroom regularly, it is likely they will forget about it if it's kept off limits long enough.
- "The Cat Behavior Answer Book:" Practical Insights & Proven Solutions for Your Feline Questions; Arden Moore; 2007
- If your cat is still a kitten, try to stop it from pooping in gravel as soon as you can. If you wait even a few weeks, your cat is likely to be difficult to train in regards to breaking the habit. Kittens are far more impressionable, and their behaviour is more malleable, than adult or senior cats.
- If, despite your best efforts, your cat still poops in gravel, take it to a veterinarian. A cat eliminating in inappropriate or unusual places may have a physical ailment, such as a digestive disorder.