We all love our animals and want only the best for them; that’s why when their behavior suddenly changes, chances are we are going to notice and wonder what’s going on.
I started seeing my cat poop on my lawn. My cat has never pooped on my lawn before, and it concerned me. Her behavior led me to ask my local vet why it was happening.
There are a number of reasons why a cat is suddenly pooping on the lawn and won’t do its business in the litterbox. One of the reasons includes marking its territory; cats do spray to mark what they consider their territory but can also poop on the lawn to signify that it’s their yard.
I was concerned that my cat had some health issue, which could be why she was pooping on the lawn instead of the litterbox. I had a fascinating conversation with my vet, and he explained why cats display this type of behavior and how to prevent this from happening.
I will share what the vet told me and what I learned through research about why cats poop on the lawn.
Why Is My Cat Pooping on My Lawn?
When your cats’ behavior changes, it might concern you, but there are actually two main reasons cats do this. We know cats spray to mark their territory, so why are cats pooping on the lawn?
Here are two important reasons why your cat poops on your lawn.
Cats Poop on Your Lawn to Mark Their Territory
Cats will usually decide where they want to do their business based on their instincts. There are quite a lot of cats in any neighborhood at any given time.
Your cat will feel the urge to tell them to back off by scent marking the yard either by spraying (usually males will take this route) or pooping on your lawn.
This natural instinct can lead to stray cats pooping in your yard or your cat pooping in your neighbors’ yards. Scent marking signals to the other cats in the neighborhood that they shouldn’t come to that specific yard because it is the territory of the one who did the marking.
Cats pooping on your lawn can get annoying really fast, especially if you want to use your lawn or do any gardening. It’s no fun having to dodge cat poop or finding little log-shaped poops in your garden when you are planting.
Your Cat Poops on Your Lawn Because It Likes the Spot
As odd as it might seem, cats have dedicated favorite spots for everything. Cats have favorite spots for napping and for hiding when they play. Doing their business is no different.
If you find that your cat picks one spot to poop each time they go outside, this might be the case. It’s quite normal for a cat to poop every time it goes outside.
Cats usually pick a safe spot where they feel secure and comfortable enough to do their business. So if you notice them pooping on the same area on the lawn each time, that spot is the dedicated toilet area!
There are ways of deterring your cat from pooping in certain places, but keep in mind it would mean they will pick a new place to do their business, and the next latrine area might be even worse.
Is It Dangerous if My Cat Poops on My Lawn?
You might be wondering if your cat suddenly poops on your lawn and it is out of character, can it pose a health concern for the cat or you.
Is Cat Poop a Health Concern for You?
As long as you are not in direct contact with the cat poop, you will be fine, but if the cat starts using your vegetable and flower garden as a toilet, this can become a dangerous and health hazard for you and your family.
Cat feces has a few parasitic organisms common in most animals, but these can only complete their lifecycle in a cat’s intestines. So taking precautions when you have a stray or neighborhood cat that likes to use your yard as a toilet will help reduce the chances of these parasites spreading to you.
The common parasites in cat feces include roundworm, tapeworm, and hookworm. So wearing gloves and thoroughly washing any veggies, fruits, or flowers that come out of your garden will be the best way to stop these parasites from spreading to you.
Cat feces is rarely a real health threat, but please take precautions if you are pregnant or have an immune deficiency.
Is Cat Poop a Health Concern for Your Cat?
If your cat has always used the litterbox when doing its business, then it would be significantly out of character for your cat to suddenly poop on your lawn. It might also be happening on the floors inside your house.
It might be a severe health concern, and you need to get your cat to a vet as soon as possible.
How to Stop My Cat Pooping on My Lawn
People use several methods to deter their cats from pooping on their lawns. Here are a few ways to prevent your cat from pooping on your lawn.
1 – Use Plants
Cats are notorious for having a very acute sense of smell. It comes in handy when you are trying to prevent cats from pooping on your lawn or in and around your garden.
Certain plants will effectively deter cats from pooping on your lawn, especially if you plant plants with strong smells that will prevent cats from pooping on your lawn.
Their sensitive nose will get irritated by the smell, and they won’t find the lawn all that comfortable to poop on anymore.
These plants include citronella plants, garlic, lavender, peppermint, rue, chives, and germanium.
Keep in mind that this method will work for stray cats and deter your cat and make them not want to go outside. It might become a problem because cats love to roam and play in their territory.
2 – Using an Odor Repellent
Like I have stated before, there are certain smells that a cat can’t stand and will effectively keep them away from your lawn. Maybe you already have an established garden and don’t want to plant new plants, then using odor repellent will be the next best thing.
You can buy potent smelling essential oils that you mix in a spray bottle and spray where you don’t want them to poop. Strong smells that will deter them are lavender, peppermint, cloves, and citronella. Spraying these scents has the added benefit of repelling certain insects too.
You will need to repeat this process at least once a week to keep the scent strong enough to deter the cats. Using repellent sprays is only a short-term solution, but it is effective and affordable.
3 – Motion Activated Sprinklers
If you are fed up with cats pooping on your lawn, then installing a motion-activated sprinkler system will work for you. This method might be a little more expensive, but it is a brilliant method to keep the cats away from your lawn.
It is activated the moment the sensors pick up an animal’s body heat or movements and sprays them with a quick burst of water. It has a loud hissing sound that could scare the cat away.
Cats hate getting wet and loud noises will irritate them as well, so this is a perfect way to keep your garden and lawn watered and keep the cats at bay.
4 – Using Citrus
Another great method to keep cats away from your yard is to take lemons, limes, or oranges, chop them finely and scatter them all over the lawn.
Cats hate sharp smells, and citrus is one smell they don’t like; it is also a bit acidic, making the scent more potent.
You can also squeeze the juices out of the citrus fruits and mix them with water and vinegar for a more intense scented solution than simply using citrus.
5 – Motion Activated Sound Detectors
Motion-activated sound detectors work the same way the sprinklers do; as soon as the sensor detects a movement from an animal, it will emit a high-pitched sound that cats can’t stand, and it will keep them out of your yard and off your lawn.
The sound is loud for cats who, in addition to sensitive noses, have very sensitive hearing. However, this sound is barely detectable to human ears.
These motion-activated sound detectors only cover a small part of the yard, so you will have to put a few on the lawn to ensure the whole yard is covered.
6 – Using an Anti-Cat Fence
Anti-cat fences made from plastic are often used to prevent access to certain areas. These fences are made to resemble barbed wire but are not harmful or cruel to cats.
You put them up where you need to keep the cats away. You can find these anti-cat fences at most hardware stores. They are a humane and safe way to keep cats away from your lawn and garden.
7 – Using Mothballs
Mothballs are an effective cat repellent and will keep cats off of your lawn. You do, however, need to be cautious when choosing this method for keeping cats from pooping on your lawn.
Mothballs have toxins that will seep into your soil and kill any plants in your garden and the grass on your lawn. So you should use this method only for fake grass lawns.
8 – Using Litterboxes
The best way to get litterboxes to work for your cat is to place the litterbox or two outside near the lawn that your cat likes to frequent. Sprinkle repellent over the exact spots they like to poop on. It will deter them from this spot.
They will need a new place to do their business, so placing a litterbox a little bit away from their usual pooping place will give them an alternative and a safe place to poop.
9 – Changing the Type of Litter
You could try to change the type of litter your cat uses. Cats have a biological instinct to bury their feces, so when the litter is too rough or rocky, they can stop using this particular litter box.
The best litter to use is very fine litter that resembles sand. If the fine litter doesn’t work, don’t feel discouraged. Try different types of litter and see which one your cat uses the most.
Some cats don’t like the type of litter that clumps the urine and feces together for easy clean-up. Try a brand that doesn’t have that feature and see if your cat prefers it.
It will mean you will have to clean the litterbox and change the litter more often, but this is a small price to pay for a poop-free lawn.
Finding the ideal litter for your cat will help them feel safer and less inclined to use the lawn as a toilet.
10 – Hosing Areas Down
When you think about it, because cats have a great sense of smell, the one very inexpensive thing you can try is to hose down the areas where the cat has pooped on your lawn.
If you remove the poop and use a plant-safe cleaner to eliminate the cat’s scent, then it will stop reinforcing its ‘claim’ to your yard.
Cats will look for the scent of another cat in a yard, and if they don’t find it but do find smells they don’t like, it’s reasonable to assume they will leave your lawn alone.
Your well-tended lawn is the pride and joy of your backyard, so cats pooping everywhere could be a genuine inconvenience. If it’s your cat, you need to take steps immediately to control the situation before the behavior becomes a habit.
It could also be a sign of health issues, and you should see a vet for a check-up just in case. The very best, most humane method to keep cats off of your lawn is to use the motion-activated sprinkler system that is triggered when it senses movement or the heat of a small animal, designed to chase the animal away rather than to cause it harm.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.