Why Is My Cat Pooping in the Sink and Bathtub?

Angry kitten in a bathtub

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Feline potty behavior varies between cats, and problems may stem from health issues, environmental factors, or both. Veterinarians and behavior specialists look at the cat's physical and emotional health, as well as traits of instinct, to help figure out what's going on and find solutions. Think of this as the H.I.S.S. Test,  which stands for health, instinct, stress, and symptom solvers.

H=Health

Cats that make a point of eliminating right in front of the owner-squatting in your presence to wet or poop may be crying out for help.

Cystitis sometimes prompts cats to urinate in odd places and make a point of it by posturing in front of their human. Painful elimination due to constipation, for example, can prompt cats to avoid the litter box if they associate it with discomfort.

I=Instinct

Some felines prefer to have separate facilities for solids and liquids. Even though there may be more than enough room in the single litter box, the cat may prefer to have a fresh box for potty deposits.

S=Stress

The stress of losing a beloved family member can't be disregarded. Stress often affects the cat's emotional health. Even if the cat wasn't bonded to the lost family member in question, they'll feel and react to your mourning, as well as any change in routine.

S=Symptom, Signs & Solutions

Eliminating in the sink or bathtub actually is not at all uncommon. There is, however, no definitive reason for the behavior, and a combination of factors vary from cat to cat.

With intact cats, pottying in the sink or tub can be a form of marking behavior, especially in a multiple cat household. Even some neutered cats use uncovered feces as a way to mark territory.

Front declawed cats sometimes develop aversions to digging in the litter. Porcelain feels nice and cool against paw pads, compared to gritty litter.

Also, the tub or sink cleaner may influence the preference. Cats often are attracted to the smell of bleach and like to eliminate on top of it. A shiny clean surface that hints at bleach may be very inviting.

Finally, there's a reason they call it copy-cat behavior. Do you ever allow your cat in the bathroom when you must use the facilities? Cats often follow owners to the bathroom. It's not beyond the realm of possibilities that your cat tries to emulate you.

Suggestions

  • Add a second litter box, preferably in a different room so that your cat has an option for using a box for #1 and the other for #2.
  • Consider placing the second box inside the empty bathtub. It helps enormously with clean up, as long as you remember to remove the box before you bathe!