Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Do Cats Poop on Grass? 3 Likely Reasons & How to Stop It

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat pooping on the grass

Why Do Cats Poop on Grass? 3 Likely Reasons & How to Stop It

Usually, cats are fastidious about burying their poop in loose earth, sand, or their litter tray. As pet owners, knowing about our four-legged friend’s habits is an important responsibility. Catching our kitty pooping on the lawn—instead of burying it—can be worrying. Finding smelly piles of cat poop all over your lawn can also be a nuisance if you’ve planned a picnic lunch on a warm summer’s day.

This article will tell you more about why your cat is pooping on your lawn and provide a few tips on how to convince them to stop.

divider-catclaw1

The 3 Reasons That Cats Poop on Grass

Fortunately, the reasons that our cats poop on grass typically don’t include underlying health issues. Instead, they are often benign, even if scooping cat poop off our lawn is a bothersome chore.

1. “I Like It Here”

Cats are generally clean creatures, and they’re much like us when it comes to toilet habits. While they might not mind pooping wherever they want, they do like to feel safe when they do their business.

If your cat finds a spot on your lawn away from prying eyes and where they feel safe, they’re more likely to be happy to use the bathroom there before continuing on their adventure.

Pooping in the same area of your lawn can also be due to comfort and familiarity. Cats have favorite places where they like to nap, sunbathe, or use the toilet. That patch of lawn that always draws your cat’s attention might just tick all their boxes for a comfortable, safe spot to poop. While you could consider it a good thing that your cat has deemed your lawn worthy of their leavings, it’s understandably irritating.

orange cat pooping on the grass
Image Credit: topimages, Shutterstock

2. “Get Off My Lawn!”

Fences and walls mean nothing to cats, but territory is still important in the feline community. While we rely on physical barricades to mark out our spaces, cats prefer to express their possession of an area with their scent. You’re probably familiar with “spraying,” where an intact male—or sometimes, female—cat backs up to a vertical surface and uses urine to announce their presence. What you may not be aware of is that cats can mark their territory with poop too.

Cats will do this if they feel that their space is threatened, whether it’s the new kitten in your neighbor’s family or just the community cats getting too close for comfort. Either way, they’ll decorate your lawn with smelly piles of poop to tell all the other cats to get off their lawn.


3. Underlying Health Issues

The typical reason your cat is pooping on your lawn is that they’re marking their territory. However, sudden changes in your cat’s toilet habits can be a sign of an underlying health issue and may require a trip to your veterinarian.

Paying attention to your cat’s bowel movements can help you determine whether your cat needs a check-up. If their poop looks normal, your kitty is probably just announcing their presence to the neighborhood cats. Sometimes, your cat will have a single poop that’s off, but they’re back to normal later.

But in the case of bloody poop, diarrhea, or constipation that lasts longer than 24 hours, it’s best to contact your veterinarian immediately.

cat pooping
Image Credit: NeydtStock, Shutterstock

 

yarn ball divider

Is Cat Poop a Health Hazard?

Besides being unpleasant to deal with, especially if you spend a great deal of time keeping your yard looking nice, cat poop does pose a health risk. Cats can carry a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which they ingest when they eat infected meat—like rodents, for example.

While cats often don’t show signs of infection and are usually just carriers of the parasite, their poop will contain the parasite’s eggs. The risk of toxoplasmosis is why you should be careful when you clean out kitty litter, especially if you’re immunocompromised or pregnant. Cats can also carry tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms, the eggs of which will be present in their poop and can find their way into the soil where your cat does their business. If your cat’s preferred toilet is your vegetable patch, you’ll need to remember to wash any produce thoroughly before using it.

Washing your hands and wearing gloves before and after gardening, cleaning out the kitty litter, or even scooping the poop in your yard are ways to minimize the risk to yourself.

cat pooping outside
Image Credit: AjayTvm, Shutterstock

3 cat divider

How to Stop Cats Pooping on Your Lawn

Whatever your cat’s reason for deciding that your lawn is their perfect toilet, it can be difficult to get them to stop. But there are a few things that you can do to convince your cat—or the neighborhood feline gang—to stop using your yard as a bathroom.

Keep in mind that if you’re successful in convincing your cat to poop elsewhere, there’s no telling where they’ll pick next, and it could be your carpet.

Cat-Repellent Sprays

Cats rely on their sense of smell just like dogs do, and it makes coaxing cats away from an area as simple as using a scent that your cat dislikes. You can buy ready-made cat-repellent sprays or make your own at home with citrus fruits, like lemon or lime juice.

Use caution with these sprays, though. They should never be used on or around your cat, only in areas that you want them to avoid. Also, if you go the homemade route, remember that many essential oils are toxic to cats. You’ll need to find one that’s safe but still strong enough to ward your cat away from your grass.

Create a Better Kitty Toilet

Where cats are concerned, comfort is one of their biggest motivators. They’ll find the comfiest place to nap and only use the bathroom in places where they feel safe. Creating a more appealing toilet for your cat might be easier said than done, but it is possible.

It’s also the best way to stop your cat from settling for pooping somewhere else that you don’t want them to—like your favorite rug—and can be paired with other methods on this list.

The idea is to make part of your garden more toilet-worthy for your cat. Most felines prefer sand for doing their business, and you can use this to your advantage. Make a small, sheltered area filled with loose sand, and pair it with deterrents on the old area to convince your cat to use their new bathroom instead.

kittens in cat litter box
Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock

Indoor Cat

While it won’t stop community cats from hopping the fence into your yard, you can stop your own feline from pooping in your garden by keeping them inside. Not only will this keep them safe from traffic, dogs, and other cats, but it’ll also allow you to keep your vegetable patch in one piece.

This method isn’t completely foolproof, though. You’ll still have to use other deterrents, like cat-proof fencing, to keep other cats out of your yard. Also, if your cat is used to wandering around outside, it’ll take a while before they settle into their new lives as house cats.

Motion-Sensor Deterrents

Cats dislike sudden noises and getting wet. Motion-sensor deterrents enable you to use sprinklers or loud noises to scare them off. They require little input from you, besides making sure they work and setting them up. The motion sensors notice when a cat—or another unwanted invader—steps into your garden and depending on the deterrent you choose, splashes them with water or creates a loud noise.

If you live in a city, you might find that motion-sensor sprinklers are more accepted by your neighbors. Sudden loud noises throughout the night can be a nuisance.

water sprays
Image Credit: topseller, Shutterstock

Smelly Plants

You can use certain plants to keep cats away from your garden. Anything with a strong smell will convince your cat to steer clear.

Be mindful, though, as some plants are toxic to cats. Not all plants need to be eaten to cause issues either, as pollen can also be dangerous. Make sure the smelly plant that you use to protect your garden won’t harm your cat if they get too close.

cat paw divider

Conclusion

Cats pooping on your lawn is frustrating but isn’t necessarily anything to worry about. It’s simply their way of showing that they’re comfortable using that spot as a toilet or announcing to the rest of the neighborhood cats that a patch of grass is off-limits.

However, a sudden change in your cat’s pooping habits, especially when it’s accompanied by bloody stool, can be a sign of an underlying health condition. Pay attention to your cat’s toilet habits, and take them to a veterinarian if the symptoms don’t clear up within a day.


Featured Image Credit: Inoprasom, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart

Pangolia

© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.