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Will cats poop on bark?

I learned many things about cats within my 30 years of rescuing and caring for cats of all ages and breeds. I quickly learned that cats will do what they want, and there is a slim chance I can change their minds. 

It takes a lifetime of cat devotion to learn a fraction of what I need to know about a cat’s habits and the extraordinary life of a cat. New and seasoned cat owners should never feel that any question they may have about raising cats is stupid, such as the following question. 

“Do cats poop on bark? 

Read on to discover the answer to this great question. 

Will Cats Poop on Bark?

In 1991, while still living at home, my adult daughter begged to open our home to a pearly white, short-haired, one-year-old female cat living in the neighbor’s garden. We guessed Beebe to be about a year old. This event started our family on the path of cat rescue. 

Beebe was with us for a short time before we discovered she would be a mother in the next few weeks. The first year of taking care of Beebe and her two babies was trial and error. Truth be known, we did little for Beebe as she did everything a good mother does and more. Beebe continued to teach our family new and exciting things over the next 19 years. 

My daughter and I did not know the first thing about raising a pregnant cat. So, we had to do a lot of quick research into the care of cats. As the first year of having a cat passed, we learned a lot and had so much more to learn about the care of felines. We still do not know all we should know and are always open to learning new and exciting things about a cat’s life.

One such question raised recently is if cats poop on bark? I had never thought about cats pooping on bark until my neighbor lady came to me complaining. While this question seems odd, to say the least, there is a lot of information available referring to this very question. Read on to find the answers about cat poop and bark? This information may surprise even the most seasoned cat owner like me. 

Cat owners tell me that cats acclimated to out-of-doors are difficult, if not impossible, to litter pan train. Cats in the wild would rather go outside to pee or poo. However, we found that Beebe adapted well to using the litter pan, and we never had a problem with her wanting to go outside to pee or pool. 

As the years passed, we rescued at least two cats that insisted on relieving themselves outside, and these cats only rarely used the litter pan, such as when it was raining outside. Cats hunt for areas outside to relieve themselves. They look for places where they can dig a hole quickly. They go potty in the spot, and when done, they put the dirt they dug out back into the hole to cover it up. 

As I watched a few of our cats do this many times, I noticed that our cats never peed and pooped in the same hole. They usually dig two different spots. I never researched why they do this. However, I think the answer is quite simple. 

My Bark Mulch Pooping Sammie

Our mulch pooping problem started with our rescue cat named Sammie. We adopted Sammie, a Ragdoll breed, from an elderly lady next door. This lady had a heart attack, and when her family started moving things out of her house, they nailed Sammie’s cat door shut so he could not get inside. 

Sammie could no longer get food or water and lived under a car as he had motor oil on his back when I discovered his plight. After we adopted Sam, I met with the neighbor who was moving the deceased’s belongings, and I asked them, “What ever happened to this lady’s cat?”

They asked me if I had seen Sam, and I told them I adopted him and they would not get him back. I was livid with those people and their cruelty towards sweet Sammie. I accused them of animal abuse, but they just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Oh well!” Sammie had always gone outside to poo and pee, and by the time I adopted him, I could not retrain him to use a litter pan. Cats become set in their ways as much as their owners.

As Sam got used to his new home, he began climbing our other neighbor’s chain-link fence. This neighbor laid mulch every spring around the outside of their home in preparation for garden flowers. I never paid too much attention because the neighbors never seemed to mind. Sam always jumped back into our yard.

One day while I was doing lawn work, this lady neighbor walked to the side of her fence that ran along our driveway. This lady was furious about Sammie’s habit of peeing and pooping in her yard. She said, 

“Your cat keeps digging holes alongside my house and S###ing in my bark mulch, and I am getting sick of this. Do something now!” 

I told her I had no idea Sam was doing this, but she kept cussing at me.

I did not know Sam loved to dig holes and poop in her bark. I hated that she was so angry. So, I immediately started to mulch our yard, front and back, and I challenged Sam to use his own mulch to poop. As I remember, my idea worked well, and my neighbor had no further complaints. However, this lady got to know how sweet and intelligent Sam was in the weeks to follow, and they became good friends. He never again used her mulch as his outhouse.

However, this neighbor did adopt a Great Dane. This dog was allowed to roam their yard. This put a stop to Sammie jumping her fence. I guess Sam figured that a confrontation between him and this new dog posed a more significant risk than he wanted to take, mulch or not. This dog kept Sammie out of their yard, so this lady came at times to our door with fresh wild catnip just for Sam.

My backyard has a lot of mulched areas where we grow flowers. Our cats can roam the yard inside our privacy fence and go to the designated spot we fixed up specifically for the cats to pee and poop. They always cover their holes with mulch, and we cannot tell that they were ever there. 

How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Pooping On Chippings? 

If it makes you angry that your cat is pooping on your bark mulch, there are a few things you can try, but remember, cats will do what they want. Cats pooping outside is a natural instinct. Do you really want to try and take this instinct away? I would explore my options first while letting my cat continue with its natural instincts. Read on for some valuable tips that could make you and your cat happy. 

It only stands to reason that you want a meticulous garden, free from cat droppings and poopy smells. Cat feces will not damage your garden and is much the same as spreading cow manure. If you’re going to deter your cat from using your bark mulch for a litter pan, try some of the following tips.

  • Scatter slate chippings over your garden. These chippings are sharp and uncomfortable to walk upon. A cat cannot dig through slate chippings, so it is deterred from using that space. 
  • Mix a water solution of ground cinnamon, mustard powder, lemon oil, crushed garlic, and black pepper in a spray dispenser. Spray your mulch with this solution, and it is said to deter your cat from these areas. I question using garlic because I know that garlic is toxic to cats. Check your local pet store or big box store selling pet supplies as they may sell a cat deterrent spray. 
  • Try spreading stone over your mulch. However, I have seen cats pee and poo on rocks. So, this may not work. 
  • Lay chicken wire on the ground of your garden. Cats will not walk on chicken wire.
  • Lay pine cones throughout your garden area.
  • Invest in some ultrasonic repellant devices.
  • Invest in motion-activated sprinklers. Cats hate water. 
  • Plant flowers and plants that give strong smells but, make sure they are not toxic to cats.
  • Try to section off a sizeable part of your yard approximately two feet by two feet. Make a three-inch wood border around the site and fill the space with cat litter or mulch just for the cats who like to poo and pee outside. If you use cat litter, you will want to keep it covered when it rains, so giving your cat their own mulch area may work better. It worked for us.  

What Type of Chipping Do Cats Not Poop In?

Cats were blessed with sensitive noses and seemed to stray away from strong odors. To keep your cat from digging holes in your garden, you can mulch your garden with only mulch that has strong smells like cedar mulch, pine mulch, and pine straw. I read that these must be laid in a pattern, such as applying the cedar mulch first, then spreading the pine mulch over the cedar, and lastly, the pine straw over the pine mulch. 

As an added note, cedar mulch is a good deterrent for cats, but cedar mulch also helps keep the mosquito population down. 

For the area we made for our cats, we used the cheapest mulch we could find and one that had no odor. We clean this area, and every month or so, we top off the mulch. The cats do not go into our garden area and use this particular area to poop and pee. Our other cats refuse to poop or pee outside and strictly use the litter pan. They will sit and look at the door until we let them inside.