How to Stop Your Cat Making a Mess Around the Home

If you’ve been around cats, even just for a short while, you’d agree they make excellent companions; plenty of people enjoy having them around. However, they can make quite some mess in the home and cleaning up after them can be particularly frustrating, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle. 

This article will share some helpful tips to curb this behavior and the possible causes behind it.

Besides medical issues, there are some other reasons your cat may make a mess around your home. It is essential you watch out for these behaviors, especially if leaving litter everywhere wasn’t something your feline did in the past.

Litter Box Issues

If your cat suddenly litters around your home, it could be possible that it dislikes the location, size, or even the hygiene of the litter box. Cats are naturally finicky, and if their litter box isn't clean enough, you may have trouble getting them to use it. Ensure, therefore, that it stays as clean as possible and that it is the correct size. Larger cats will need bigger boxes to make life comfortable for them.

Environmental Stress

One of the many possible factors that may cause your cat to make a mess around the home is a change in its environment. Did you recently move? Did you just add a new pet to your home? Is there a new person visiting or staying permanently? All these are factors to consider if your feline suddenly turns “bad.”


There are pecking orders among animals, and felines are no exception. If you recently brought home another cat, your feline could be attempting to mark its territory or establish a pecking order by kicking litter outside its litter box. 

Medical Problems

Littering isn't always a behavioral problem. If your cat litters inappropriately, it would be advised to have it checked. Your vet may ask you questions about its behavior and also about other signs and symptoms you may have noticed. Such symptoms could include lethargy, appetite change, diarrhea, or even vomiting.

They will also examine your cat for signs of other health problems that may have gone unnoticed. In some cases, vets may recommend scans and lab tests.

All of these are essential because a change as simple as constipation or any other digestive issue or problem can trigger inappropriate littering. 

Also, take note that older cats may develop age-related conditions such as dementia. This could affect your cat's cognitive abilities and cause it to forget past learned habits, including proper bathroom behaviors. If this is the case, your vet will be able to recommend medications and maybe a specific diet to lessen the effects of this condition.


Things You Can Do 

Reconsider/Change The Litter Box Position 

As said earlier, cats are fussy creatures and prefer clean, spacious, open boxes. Also, you might get a second box and place it in a different area. Preferably near the place it frequently litters inappropriately.

Ensure your cat’s litter box is not located in noisy or high-traffic areas, as getting startled frequently could cause your cat to race out of its litter box every time it is frightened. This, in turn, would cause him to leave behind a trail of litter.

If his box is currently positioned in a busy place, you want to consider moving it to somewhere quieter, like a corner of a spare bedroom. Your feline should have sufficient time to use his box instead of scampering every time by putting this in place.

You also want to consider placing your cat’s litter box on hard flooring instead of carpet. Floorings such as tile, linoleum, and wood floors are easier to clean, plus they will help prevent pressing litter into your carpet.

Avoid Scented Litter Boxes

If your cat currently uses a scented litter, consider switching to unscented. Unlike humans, cats are easily overwhelmed and repulsed by artificial scents. Their noses are more sensitive than ours. Try changing the litter, or even better, try the new litter on the second box and see how your cat likes it.

Clean Up 

One of the first ways to correct inappropriate pooping habits is by cleaning the area your feline just pooped. If you leave the area littered for longer, your feline will continuously be attracted to continue to defecate there. Launder all washables and discard cheaper soiled items. 

Swap Litter 

Litters differ; with some, it affords your cat more “tracking” than others. With more “tracking”, the litter is more likely to stick to your cat’s paws when it exits the litter box. 

Opt for litters labeled “low tracking” or “no tracking” formula to prevent this. These litters are made specifically to avoid excessive clinging of poop to your feline’s paws.

Furthermore, you can also place a large rug or cat litter mat right under his box to catch some excess litter that your feline could easily spread around your home. 

High Sided Litter Boxes

While only a temporary solution until you find the root cause. A litter box with tall sides that can stop litter from being ejected from the litter box by the cat can offer a temporary reprieve. Find out more about the best high sided litter boxes here.

Lessen Stressors In Your Home

If you're adding a new cat to your family, one thing you have to do is properly introduce both. If you have a new human staying around briefly or permanently, you need to do the same. Ensure your cat gets his safe place for when he needs to retreat. Also, make sure its feeding area isn't near the litter box.


Inappropriate littering can occur when your recently adopted or very young cat is yet to undergo the litter box training. Here, the appropriate litter box training should help curb this habit. You should, however, be patient if things do not improve as much as you expected. In that case, you can seek the help of a veterinary behaviorist or any other trained pet expert

Final Thoughts 

Hopefully, this article helps you curtail your pet’s litter issues. Cats are wonderful creatures and if you stop to examine your feline at the onset of this behavior, you should be able to figure out why and act accordingly. 

If you observe your pet is sick, do well to call a vet as soon as possible to check things out and make the best recommendations. 

So, tell us; have you ever had to deal with inappropriate littering? How did you manage it? Share with us in the comments!

About the Author

Kirsten Heggarty
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Kirsten created The Pet Handbook with the aim of sharing her knowledge about pets, pet food, healthy habits, and more. All of her advice is based on years of her own experience with her pets, and feedback that she has received from grateful readers about her tips. If you want to know more please read the About Me page.