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How to Stop Cats Pooping in Gravel

Posted on July 7, 2023 @

Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Ian Dossary

Many cat owners are frustrated with their furry friends using their gravel as a litter box. Not only is it unpleasant to clean up, but it can also be a health hazard for both humans and animals. In this section, we will discuss effective methods to stop cats pooping in gravel. By implementing these methods, you can keep your yard clean and safe for everyone.

Whether you are dealing with a single cat or a colony of feral cats, there are several options available to deter them from pooping in your gravel. From natural remedies to cat repellents, we will explore different techniques for keeping cats out of your yard. Let’s get started!

Understand Why Cats Poop in Gravel

Cats are notorious for their finicky nature, especially when it comes to their litter box preferences. While some cats may prefer a traditional litter box with clumping or non-clumping litter, others may prefer unconventional surfaces such as gravel or even houseplants. Understanding why cats prefer certain surfaces for pooping is essential in preventing them from using your gravel as a litter box.

One reason cats are attracted to gravel is due to the texture and consistency of the surface. Cats are instinctively drawn to loose soil or sand-like substances that allow them to bury their waste easily. Gravel provides a grainy texture that cats find appealing for this purpose.

Another reason why cats may prefer gravel for pooping is related to their natural habitat instincts. In the wild, cats use loose soil or sand to mark their territory and leave their scent behind. When kept indoors, cats may seek out surfaces that resemble the loose soil or sand they would find in their natural environment.

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Create a Suitable Litter Box Area

One of the most effective ways to prevent cats from pooping in gravel is to provide them with a designated litter box area. This gives them a clear and appropriate location to do their business, instead of the loose gravel that is confusing their instincts. Here are some tips on creating the perfect litter box area to deter your cat from pooping in the gravel:

  1. Choose the right type of litter: Your cat may have preferences when it comes to the type of litter they use. Experiment with different options like clumping or non-clumping litter, scented or unscented, and fine or coarse textures to find what your cat likes best.

  2. Provide enough litter boxes: If you have multiple cats, it’s important to provide enough litter boxes for them. As a general rule, there should be one litter box per cat plus one extra.

  3. Choose a suitable location: Pick a quiet and private location for your cat’s litter box. Avoid placing it near their food and water bowls as cats prefer to keep their eating and bathroom areas separate.

  4. Keep the litter box clean: Scoop the litter box daily and change the litter at least once a week. Cats prefer clean litter boxes and may avoid using them if they are too dirty.

  5. Provide easy access: Make sure the litter box is easily accessible for your cat. If you have an older cat or a kitten, consider getting a litter box with low sides to make it easier for them to get in and out.

By providing your cat with a suitable litter box area, you can discourage them from pooping in the gravel and provide them with a comfortable and appropriate place to do their business.

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Use Cat Repellents

If you have tried creating a designated litter box area and natural remedies, but your feline friend is still using your gravel as their toilet, it may be time to consider using cat repellents. These products are specifically designed to deter cats from certain areas, including your gravel.

There are many different types of cat repellents available on the market, including sprays, granules, and electronic devices. Each product works differently and has a unique set of pros and cons.

Product TypeProsCons
SpraysEasy to use and apply. Can be used both indoors and outdoors.May wash away in heavy rain. Strong odor may not be pleasant for humans.
GranulesLong-lasting. Can be spread over a large area. Safe for pets and humans.May require frequent reapplication. Can be expensive.
Electronic devicesCan be effective in deterring cats from large outdoor areas. Some devices emit sounds that only cats can hear.Can be expensive. May not be suitable for indoor use.

When using cat repellents, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully to ensure that the product is used safely and effectively. Some products may need to be reapplied frequently, while others may need to be used consistently over a period of time to see results.

Before using any cat repellent, it’s also important to consider the potential impact on other animals and wildlife in your area. Some products may harm or kill non-target animals, so it’s important to choose a repellent that is safe for the environment.


  • Cat repellents can be an effective way to deter cats from using your gravel as a litter box.
  • There are many different types of cat repellents available, including sprays, granules, and electronic devices.
  • When using cat repellents, follow the instructions carefully and consider the potential impact on other animals and wildlife in your area.
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Try Natural Remedies

If you want to discourage cats from using your gravel as a litter box, there are several natural remedies you can try:

  • Citrus fruits: Cats dislike the smell of citrus, so placing lemon or orange peels around your gravel can deter them from using it as a litter box.
  • Coffee grounds: Sprinkle coffee grounds over the gravel, as the smell can be unpleasant to cats.
  • Vinegar: Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar and spray it over the gravel. The smell of vinegar can deter cats from using the area.
  • Cayenne pepper: Sprinkle cayenne pepper over the gravel. The spicy scent can be off-putting to cats.

It’s important to reapply these natural remedies frequently, especially after rain or heavy wind, as the scent can dissipate over time.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you have tried all the methods mentioned above and are still struggling to stop cats from pooping in your gravel, it might be time to seek professional help. A cat behaviorist can provide expert advice on how to modify your cat’s behavior and create a suitable environment for them. They can also help you understand why your cat is pooping in the gravel and find a solution that works for you and your furry friend.

Another option is to hire a cat deterrent service. These services use safe and humane methods to keep cats away from your yard and prevent them from pooping in your gravel. They can set up deterrents such as motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices that emit a sound cats find unpleasant.

Remember that seeking professional help should be a last resort, and it’s important to exhaust all other options before considering this route. With patience and persistence, you can make your gravel a poop-free zone for your cats.