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I just got an 8 month old cat at the shelter about a week ago. Right from the beginning he has always used the litter box without fail. BUT tonight he decided to go into my duffle bag that was on the floor and poop in it! Why did he do this? Is this likely to become a habit? And what do I do to keep it from becoming a habit?

Added from comment: The litter box was clean and I know he was not feeling afraid to go to his litter box because it is by his food and water bowl and he went in there to eat right before.

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    How full is the litter box? We have a cat who will poop where he shouldn't if the litter is too full for his liking. Is he showing any signs of stress? Is he showing any signs of being afraid to go where the litter box is kept? Without this kind of information it's very difficult to answer your question. – Kate Paulk Feb 29 '16 at 12:47
  • The litter box was clean and I know he was not feeling afraid to go to his litter box because it is by his food and water bowl and he went in there to eat right before. – Elyse Feb 29 '16 at 18:17
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I have once had a cat that had a single accident, and it was obviously the result of the cat mistaking a toy box for a litterbox, due to a certain resemblance to a litterbox (out of the way, box shaped, the toys would cover anything.). I think there is a possibility your cat may have made a similar mistake.

Suggestions:

  1. To rule out health issues, take the cat to the vet. You should take new pets to the vet right away anyways.

  2. Clean the bag thoroughly with cleaners designed to remove the smell. This should help prevent repeat occurrences.

  3. Keep anything litterbox-like out of reach. Boxes and bags with objects in them, especially.

  4. Consider getting additional boxes. If a more ideal place is nearby, the cat will probably use those instead.

Remember also it's only been a week. The cat is still probably settling in, and it may not have habituated itself to the box yet.

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Cats do not like to have their litter boxes and food/water close to each other (if that seems strange, consider how many meals you've eaten on the toilet). I suggest that you move either the box or the dishes to at least the other side of the room, if not another room entirely.

Also I recommend that you clean the duffle bag with an enzyme cleaner and not leave it where the cat has access to it for a few weeks to make sure that it does not become a habit.

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