I have 2 cats, and they seem to hate each other. They have been for a long time and they just don't get along. But one of them (the female) always uses the litterbox. The male never uses the litterbox. I doubt it's because its not clean enough, since we have 4 different litterboxes with 3 different types of litter.

He does seem to pee in the litterbox though. We haven't seen any pee on the floor so far at least. This has been going on for years, but it wasn't a problem before since he was an outdoor cat. We moved to an apartment recently and we can't have him as an outdoor cat anymore. We think it is because he is unhappy and wants to go out and also doesn't get along with the other cat. We have tried everything, but he still poops on the floor. What do we do?

If we can't solve the problem then we're just going to have to release him outside and not take him back again. We feel like its the right thing to do since its a pretty small apartment and he's lived his whole life as an outdoor cat. He also doesn't like the other cat. Can't be a fun life for him in here.

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    Whatever you do, do not release him outside like that, he will have an early death. He is not equipped to fend for himself. He may enjoy the outdoors, but he is dependent on you for food and shelter
    – user6796
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 2:22
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    your cat is afraid of the other cat and this is most likely the reaso for pooping on the floor,it takes a shorter time for the cat to pee so it is not as likely to get atacked by the other cat,pooping takes longer so it is more likely to get atacked,to solve it take the lid off the litterbox(es)making ambush from the other cat less likely. Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 16:14
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    sorry for my bad spelling,the above comment is just a suggestion but please use it in an answer if it is usefull. Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 16:35
  • Don't release him! Find him a new home if you can't solve the situation. Apart from being a very bad thing because he will die, it may be illegal depending from where you live.
    – Fez Vrasta
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 18:08

3 Answers 3


This is a very common issue with cats, we actually seen one yesterday that we're trying to solve why.

Failure to use the litterbox occurs for a variety of reasons that can generally be grouped into two categories:

  1. The cat has found something undesirable about the litterbox
  2. The cat has learned to avoid the litterbox because of an unpleasant experience.

The thirteen rules for treating elimination outside the litterbox are:

  1. Keep the litterbox clean. Although many cats will tolerate chronically soiled litterboxes, many will avoid them. Litterboxes should be scooped out twice a day at minimum if they have been soiled. When cleaning litterboxes use water or water and a mild soap. Strong detergents and disinfectants can leave odours that are unpleasant to cats.
  2. Litterboxes must be large enough for a cat to comfortably move within. Use a litterbox that is at least one and a half times the length of the cat, from nose to tail.
  3. Avoid covered litterboxes if possible, feral cats do not enter caves to eliminate and some house cats are not inclined to enter a covered litterbox. Odours can become more concentrated in a covered litterbox and will require more frequent cleaning. If a covered litterbox must be used and there are multiple cats in the household, cut a second entrance in the cover.
  4. Avoid having the litterbox in noisy, drafty, high traffic or otherwise undesirable areas. For example, placing a litterbox next to a washer or dryer in the laundry room may result in the cat not using it when the appliance is running due to the noise.
  5. Provide at least a dim light during the night.
  6. If the cat is very young, old or disabled, cut a low entrance into the litterbox and place it in an area where the cat spends a lot of time. Older cats may have arthritis and stairs may prove difficult to climb.
  7. If the cat does not dig in the litter and cover its excrement, simultaneously offer two or more kinds of litter in separate litterboxes and keep a log of the cat’s preferences. A number of different litters may need to be tried before identifying one that the cat prefers.
  8. If there is a suspected history of learned aversion, offer the cat a new litterbox in a new location. A learned aversion can develop when a cat has experienced pain while using the litterbox due to a medical condition such as urinary tract infection. Pain control and treatment of the illness are critical in minimizing the elimination problem. Aversion can also develop if the cat has experienced some traumatic incident while using the litterbox.
  9. If there are multiple cats in the house, provide as many litterboxes as there are cats, plus one more. This will avoid competition for use of the litterbox.

  10. Place the litterboxes in multiple sites.

  11. If there is a social conflict between any of the cats, address the conflict.

  12. If the cat has long hair, trim the excess hair between the toes and around the anus.

  13. If anxiety is suspected, treat the cat with anti-anxiety medication. You can also provide your apartment with feliway, this is a top notch product for stressed cats.

There are also medical problems associated with eliminating outside the litterbox, such as constipation or blocked anal glands, so a vet visit is warranted to rule out these issues before/while doing the steps above.

If you cannot tolerate the situation I would suggest finding him a home that can provide safe outdoor play rather than releasing him to fend for himself.

  • We had a similar issue as the OP and per our Vet tech recommendation used a pheromone spray around the litter box, perhaps similar to the Feliway you mentioned; this helped stop the occurrences (so far) of our male cat leaving fecal matter on the floor near the litter box. Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 16:32

Like trond hansen said your male cat is likely to be afraid of the female, so have some space in your home where only he is allowed to go, and not the female.
Of course have a litter box for him there ready for only him to use.

Also it's important to know that sense he was always an outdoor he may not be used to litterboxes and may not like them, and so like an opened space to do his business so you should train him to use them by giving him treats every time he uses any, and clean the places he pooped on very good so he would be discouraged to go there again.

It may even be that HE is the one being dominant not her as cats usually cover their feces and he knows he can cover his poo in a litter box but decides to do it some other place to show who's dominant.
Cats that are very dominant don't cover their poo on purpose to leave it as a mark.

Note: I had two stray cats do this behaviour due to me having a cat at the time. They did it right in front of my front door as to show it's their place not my cat's.
And the two events happened at different times with different house cats. In one cat It only happened after I let the strays in for a little and gave it love and attention (like for 5 minutes or less) and the poor stray wanted my house but unfortunately I couldn't give it because it chased my cat around the house to show her who's boss and of course my cat should be boss in my house.

So for you it can be that this male of yours is trying to show dominance over the female.


My cat was an outdoor kitty for years. I brought him in. He was not litter box broken. So, He Taught Me, he used the long pile bathroom rug. It was green. After he did this a few times and I was busy washing the rug all the time, I got an idea. I bought the 22 x 22 doggie training pottie pads at Walmart. I put one on the green rug. He used it right away. That was years ago. You must dump the poo poo in the stool and then wrap the pad in "Press and Seal" and throw it in the trash. If you don't keep it cleaned up, he won't go in the room where the pottie pad is if he has to go again... He will use your carpet. A lot of trouble but my little 13 year old boy kitty is worth all the trouble. :)

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