Cats use several ways for communication, some of which can be strange and even undesirable. One of the most discussed concerns among cat owners is middening. It refers to the method cats use to mark their territory with poop. Whether in the wilds or in the comfort of your home, cats show territorial nature, showing behaviors like middening.
A lot of cat owners wonder whether middening is normal or should be addressed. In this guide, we discuss everything about middening in cats, 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 which leaves a message for the other animal 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 seen in cats that live outside. Outdoor cats may defecate in random areas to mark their territory. It is less common in indoor cats though it occurs in some cases, depending on the condition. 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 problem 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, defecating here and there.
How To Make Middening Cats Stop?
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 one. 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 should be addressed.
To stop middening cats, the first thing you should do is find out why your cat leaves poop here and there. Some of the most common causes include a new pet introduced in the house, anxiety from separation, too many cats living with each other or another pet entering the house through flaps. Any of these can cause the cat to defecate out of the 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 indoor and outdoor. 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 wilds 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 of it. The reason to use poop in place of urine for territory marking is to have a strong visual sign that can be seen from a distance.
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 in the territory. It is a strong communication signal to other animals of the ownership of the area. Through this marking, the cat wants to clarify that the territory belongs to it and it doesn’t want to share it with others.
How To Solve Cat Middening?
While cat middening is not so 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 or shouting at it 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 introduce it to the rest of the house.
Cat Randomly Poops On Floor? Here’s What It Means
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 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 litterbox or its location. See that you have a large, clean litter box maintained properly to be free of odors. Choose a quiet place for litterbox 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 box 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.