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Cats use several ways to communicate and some ways can be strange or downright undesirable. One concern among cat owners is middening. It refers to when cats mark their territory with poop. Whether in the wild or in the comfort of your home, cats will show a territorial nature and this often leads to behaviors like middening.
A lot of cat owners wonder whether middening is normal or should be addressed. In this guide, we discuss everything you need to know about this habit, whether it is a concern and how you can stop this behavior in your feline.
Middening Cats – A Complete Guide
Cats are quite efficient at communication. They use different ways to communicate with each other, including territory marking. The latter leaves messages for other cats through some visual clue.
Marking is not only used to define territory but as a way to send vital information. It helps attract mates, identify friends and family and indicate ownership of things and areas. Some cats even use marking as a way to show familiarity with people and other pets in the house.
While urinating is one of the most common ways of marking, middening is often seen in cats that live outside. Outdoor cats may defecate in random areas to mark their territory. It is less common in indoor cats although it can occur in some cases.
If your cat poops outside the litter box, there are several possible causes including poor maintenance of litter boxes, medical problems, stress, problems with other pets, and parasites.
It is important to consult a vet and get the cat examined for any physical or behavioral problems before assuming that the cat is middening. Sometimes, a sick cat can develop an unhealthy association with its litter box and try to avoid it.
How To Stop Middening
Cat middening is not a serious issue that can’t be stopped. Though this behavior is generally rare with indoor cats, it should be addressed quickly in case you encounter it. This is because finding cat poop around the house is one of the worst things you want to face. If your cat leaves poop in a high-traffic location in the home to mark the area, it is certainly a form of territory marking and it should be addressed.
To stop middening cats, the first thing you should do is find out why your cat leaves poop everywhere. Some of the most common causes include a new pet introduced in the house, anxiety from separation, too many cats living together, or a neighbor’s pet entering the house through cat flaps. Any of these can cause your cat to defecate outside its litter box as a way to express their insecurity.
Do Cats Mark Territory With Poop?
Marking is a common form of communication and behavior in cats, both indoors and outdoors. While urine is a powerful tool for territory marking, some cats use poop to express ownership over an area or object. It is normal for cats living in the wild to poop in conspicuous areas and leaves the feces uncovered. They generally leave their poop in prominent locations so that other cats can take notice.
Cats generally tend to cover their poop to avoid alerting predators and prey of their presence. However, some cats leave the poop uncovered to make themselves feel more secure as the ruler of their territory.
How To Solve Middening
While cat middening is not common among indoor pets, it can occur out of insecurity in a multi-pet household or some other problem. The solution is to identify the cause of insecurity and take control of the condition calmly. Rather than being hard on the cat for its behavior, you should first make your feline comfortable and secure in the house.
Try to identify the threat that makes the cat feel insecure in the first place. If you see any other cats getting into the house through flaps, you can address the problem to solve cat middening. Another solution is to make sure the cat is not left alone for long hours if it has separation anxiety. If you have a new cat, try to make it comfortable by keeping it in a small room for a few days with its tray, water, and toys and gradually introducing it to the rest of the house.
Cat Randomly Poops On Floor – Some Solutions
Cat pooping on the floor can not only be a behavioral problem in older cats but can also affect young cats, both male and female. However, random pooping on the floor can be a different problem in elderly cats when it stems from medical issues associated with age and cognitive decline. It is, therefore, advisable to consult a vet to identify the underlying medical condition or behavioral issue.
Another common cause can be the litter box or its location. See that you have a large, clean litter box maintained properly to be free of odors. Choose a quiet place for litter box placement. If you have a senior cat with stiffness or arthritis, it may find it inconvenient to enter and exit the litter box. Get a box with a low entry point or a special box designed for cats with limited mobility.
Cats often avoid litter boxes and poop randomly on the floor from anxiety or stress. The stress can come from new members in the household or conflict with neighboring cats. If you have a multiple-cat household, one of them can be dominant and give stress to others. If you don’t have it already, get separate litter boxes for each cat to resolve the problem.