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Change in toilet habits. What does it mean and how do I reverse it?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Recently (the past few months) my cat has stopped using his litter. My mom claims it has been going on since some time in the summer but I dunno if I can trust that as we just found out about it.

Our cat is both outdoor and indoor. He sleeps, eats, drinks, and potties in our basement and spends most days outdoors. He rarely comes upstairs because my mom doesn't like having to let him down at random times during the night and if we don't he'll poop upstairs.

Anyway, in our basement we have three rooms. The main floor where his food, water, and litter is. Then we have the furnace/pump room which is part of the original house and is very old and rocky. The last room is the food room where we have our water heater. He likes to sleep in there; generally on a shelf.

About 12 months ago my brother was staying at the house and he opened the furnace room door (we usually keep it shut or else the cat poops in there) but he wanted it open because it made the rest of the basement warmer. We put up a little blockade so the cat couldn't get in there and things were good. Recently my mother went into the furnace room and found cat droppings everywhere so we closed the door up once more (my brother was gone anyway). As soon as we closed it he started pooping and peeing in the food room in front of the water heater.

We have no idea why he is refusing to use his litter box but it is extremely problematic and if anyone has any clues as to why he is doing this, please do tell. More information upon request!
post #2 of 8
Are you using scented litter? Or a covered litter box? Many cats HATE scented litter, and may refuse to use it. Some cat's get confused with covered litterboxes, or just don't like them-and I think that would be because when they pee in it, it fills the box with that amonia smell, and maybe they can't stand it just like us humans can't stand it. How often do you clean it, scoop, replace litter?
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
We've had the same uncovered litter box the entire time we've had him (10 years). Uh, I'm not sure how often my mom cleans it but we haven't had a problem with him for 10 years now. We've used the same unscented litter (or generally the same) for the same amount of time and my mom cleaned his litter out 2 days ago.
post #4 of 8
It would appear that he is NOT happy about having that door closed. I'm not sure how quite to handle this. Would it be appropriate to put the litter box right were he is going and see what happens?
post #5 of 8
Maybe a visit to the vet to rule out any health related issues?
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
It's happened in the past where if we left the furnace room door open he would go in there and poop, and then after we closed it he would go back to normal.
post #7 of 8
A few things come to mind for me./

Clean his litter box at least daily. Having cleaned a couple days ago may be allowing the box to be too dirty for his liking.

Add another litter box. Some cats are happier with one to poo in and one to pee in.

Take him to the vet for a check-up and a senior blood panel if that has never been done. Your cat is a senior now and he may also be having some issues making him avoid the litter box.

How close is his litter to his food and water? They may be positioned too close together for his liking.

I really do urge you to take the cat to the vet for a thorough checkup. That may give you some answers.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
His food and water are 12 feet away from his litter box. I will try the second litter box idea and see if it works.
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