After years of going in the litter box, my cat has begun pooping right next to it. We recently had to change the type of litter because I’m pregnant and can’t be exposed to regular cat litter. Should we switch back, try a new one, or will she get used to it?
My cats have allowed me to live with them for years now, and in that time I have realized one irrevocable truth: Cats are OCD. They want to be fed precisely at the same time you fed them yesterday. They want the same cat litter they used 30 minutes ago, and they’d prefer that your belt match your shoes. So it may be that changing your litter has tipped the delicate balance of your cat’s universe, and she is expressing her displeasure. I would switch to the previous litter and ideally have someone else clean it daily. This will virtually eliminate the chance of Toxoplasma infection; you are much more likely to get this parasite from undercooked meat ingestion or even gardening. However, remember that inappropriate defecation can be a result of certain health problems as well, and you ought to have your cat examined by a veterinarian if the behavior continues.
Jeremy Bachtel graduated from Colorado State University in 2005. Since then, he has worked in general practice, exotic medicine, emergency medicine, and veterinary dermatology. He currently lives with three cats, all named Steve.