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My cat poops standing up (Why and what to do)

New and seasoned cat parents may come across things that their cat does that sound or look strange, so strange that you may hesitate to ask your vet or another cat parent for an answer. Remember that no question is stupid when providing the best possible care for your fur baby.

I have vets tell me there needs to be one litter pan for every cat you have in your home, including one extra litter pan. We have six fur babies, so we should have seven litter pans. We have six litter pans. We could put two in our basement versus the one already there, but we haven’t. Some cat parents do not have the room to place all these pans.

Once, we were given the idea of buying a cement mixing pan. These pans are three times the size of a regular litter pan and provide a lot of room for the cat to move about.

Why Does My Cat Poop Standing Up?

Rule out physical problems first

To rule out why your cat does this, you must rely on your vet to examine your cat. If your cat has a clean bill of health, it will take a bit of time to try different things to see if they help your cat stop pooping while standing.

While there is nothing wrong with your cat taking this stance, it is helpful to pay attention to all your cat’s unusual and seemingly abnormal behaviors. It is vital to talk to your vet about any abnormal behaviors, so they can eliminate any ensuing health issues.

Does your cat have arthritis?

Typically, cats squat to poop. This stance puts increased pressure on the hind legs. Cats with arthritis or hip issues may find this excessively uncomfortable, so they may adapt to a standing position to poop.

Is the litter box too dirty?

If you notice your cat poop standing up, it will probably put its front paws on the edge of the litter pan and poop inside the pan. Some cat parents believe this is strange behavior for their cat. Remember that cats have a reason for doing what they do. This position could be more comfortable for them.

It is vital to clean out your cat’s litter box every morning, every evening, and in between, as needed. This cleaning schedule works well for our six cats.

Cats are very clean creatures and do not like pooping in a dirty litter pan, especially if there are multiple cats in your household. Nor do they like stepping on another cat’s waste. Try to increase the cleaning of your litter pan.

Is this a habit?

If your cat has dealt with dirty litter pans for a while, then standing on the edge of the pan to poop soon becomes a necessary habit. I don’t know how a cat can do this, but I have had cat parents tell me their cat stands with all four legs balancing on the side of the litter pan when pooping. I always ask how often they clean the pan?

Three of our cats poop and pee in specific areas of the litter pan. For example, Isabella always uses the inside, top right corner. Some researchers say cats will not poop or pee in the same spot. I beg to differ with them on this, as our Isabella always uses the same area to poo or pee.

Kitty wants to stay clean

Most cats do not want poop coming in contact with their feet, so they try to get higher above the litter when pooping. The edge of the litter offers this ability to keep their poop away from their fur.


Constipation ranks high in the feline species. If your cat becomes constipated, it will strain to poop. Standing on the edge of the litter pan offers them a better way to help move the poop from the colon.

If your cat passes hard balls of poop, or they strain and pass no poop, they are undoubtedly constipated and cause for concern.

Dislike for the Brand of Litter

  • Your cat may assume this pooping position if it does not like the litter.
  • The litter could be too coarse and rough, hurting its paws.
  • The scent could be too overwhelming.
  • The texture of the litter is a common problem for cats.
  • The litter could be too fine and gets stuck between the paws.

If you notice the following, litter may be the problem.

  • Standing on the edge of the pan to pee or poop
  • Refuses to put any feet in the litter, balancing with all four paws on the edge of the pan
  • Refuses to walk through the litter
  • Refuses to dig in the litter
  • Not enough litter to cover the waste
  • The texture

I find it hard to understand why producers make a clay litter and why cat parents buy this crap, other than it is cheap. Clay litter is,

  • Hard on the cat’s paws
  • Is uncomfortable to walk in
  • Stays wet with pee and poop
  • Sticks between the cat’s toes and harden
  • Not eco-friendly or sustainable
  • Not scoopable
  • Cannot scoop out the pee or poop
  • Must dump the litter every few days and put in new

Litter Depth 

There must be enough litter in the pan so the cat can dig a hole to bury its waste. Too much litter in the pan makes walking difficult for the cat. The deeper the litter, the harder it is to balance. A good litter depth is two to four inches.

Litter Box is Too Small

Make sure you buy a litter box at least one and a half the length of the cat. We have always used a large litter pan that is the size of two smaller pans or a cement mixing pan with slightly higher sides and about three to four times larger than a small litter pan.

Covered Boxes versus Uncovered Boxes

Research says that, as a rule, cats do not like their litter box covered.

What To Do About My Cat Pooping Standing Up?  

The first thing to do about this dilemma is to make a vet visit. Your vet will determine if your cat has an underlying health issue. Hopefully, the vet will give your cat a clean bill of health. With this exam out of the way, you can now focus on other possibilities.

  • You are not keeping the litter box clean.
  • Your cat started standing on the edge of the litter pan to poop due to a minor change you needed to make. If you did not make this change, it would become a habit for your cat to poop standing up.
  • Your cat is constipated, and it is easier to push the waste out when standing versus squatting.
  • The litter box is too small and does not allow enough room to move around or dig.
  • The cat does not like the litter you buy.
  • The box has a cover; the box does not have a cover.
  • The cat does not want to risk getting waste on its feet.

I have been into cat rescue and care for nearly 40 years. I have run into the same problem a time or two. The problem with my cats was the litter pan was too small, and one cat had constipation. These were easy fixes.

You need to review all the possibilities and make some changes. Monitor these changes. If your cat continues to stand when pooping, you tried all these suggestions, and the vet has given Fluffy a clean bill of health, I would not worry about it. I would let the kitty pee and poop; however, it is more comfortable for them.

Leave Fluffy alone to poop and pee however it wants.