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My very unclean bathtubs

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello all! Long time lurker, first time poster, life-time cat owner.

I really hope y'all can help me.

We have 4 cats, one of which has pooped in the bathtub off-and-on for roughly 6 years (he's 9). He goes in the bathtub about once every 2 weeks, sometimes more frequently, sometimes less. Occasionally, he pees in tub too, but usually it's just poop.

We've ruled out health problems, tried different types of litter, moved the location of the litterboxes, increased the number of litterboxes, changed the type of box ... We've methodically reviewed the areas around the litterboxes for things that might scare or upset him. We've lived in several different houses, and he's loved the tubs in them all.

Years ago, before he started pooping in the tub, he *loved* to play in an empty bathtub, especially with rubber bouncy-balls. He just loved to carry the rubber balls into the tub and watch them bounce around inside. I don't know what changed for him, but it really breaks my heart.

Does anyone have any ideas for how to fix this? I'll try anything.
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchard View Post
Does anyone have any ideas for how to fix this? I'll try anything.
i keep my bathroom door closed. not because of this, but because i have a couple of toilet drinkers & a towel bar tightrope walker. but it'd work for you, too.
post #3 of 18
Either leave a little water in the tub or put the litter in the tub and then move it out slowly. Just don't forget to remove it before you take a bath!
post #4 of 18
Hmm, I know you've done a ton with the boxes, but how often do you scoop them? And are you using clumping litter? Have you also tried retraining him.. in the nature that you close him off in a small room (could be a bathroom if you have a sliding shower door that you can lock him out of the tub).. with a litter box and then slowly give him more space as he correctly uses the box?


You may also try some Feliway spray... um.. there are some off brands that you can try.. the Feliway itself is pretty expensive, but make sure that it has the same ingredients. Just spray it in the area that he's pottying inappropriately at... and maybe that will work.

Also, did you put a litter box in the bathroom where he's pottying at?
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
a towel bar tightrope walker
Okay, that's must be adorable.

One of our bathrooms doesn't have a door right now, so that won't work ATM. (Old house, very strange) He loves all tubs equally.

Quote:
Either leave a little water in the tub
We've done that, actually. Let me just tell you, cat poop in water is not fun. Not fun at all.



Quote:
Hmm, I know you've done a ton with the boxes, but how often do you scoop them? And are you using clumping litter?
We generally clean the boxes twice a day (when we're on our best behavior) He'll use the tub even when the boxes are pristine and sparkly clean. My husband is convinced the two are not related. But I think that he uses the tub more frequently if we've forgotten to empty the boxes ... my cat, that is, not my husband.

We use clumping litter, and have tried every kind out there. All the kitties seem happiest with Arm & Hammer Super Scoop, fragrance free. I'd love to hear other kitties' preferences ... mostly because I like to know what kitties prefer.


[quote]You may also try some Feliway spray... um.. there are some off brands that you can try.. the Feliway itself is pretty expensive, but make sure that it has the same ingredients. Just spray it in the area that he's pottying inappropriately at... and maybe that will work. [/italic]

From reading here, it seems like this stuff really works. Can humans smell it? I've hesitated to buy it because I really don't want a stinky tub ... well, okay, I already have that.


Quote:
Also, did you put a litter box in the bathroom where he's pottying at?
Yes. Honestly, he loved having the litter box in the bath tub ... but I just couldn't live with it. Kitty litter residue on your bathroom floor and in the tub is pretty miserable.


I think I need to try "retraining," like CAB and CK suggested. I haven't really thought of that as an option because he doesn't go in the tub *all* the time. But maybe we can put the litter box in there and slowly move it out.
post #6 of 18
If the retraining doesn't work, another thing to try would be to keep a bowl of dry food in the tub... since cats won't go to the bathroom where they eat.

My cat has also gone in the tub now and then, and he's also obsessed with playing in the tub and fascinated/terrified by water running in the tub -- I think the traits may all be related in some way. In my cat's case, once I resolved some health and behavioral issues he had, the going in the tub stopped. Sounds like your cat is more stubborn.

I never tried keeping a little water in the tub, because of all the places an unhappy cat can go, that's the easiest to clean... I didn't want him to move on to someplace worse.
post #7 of 18
Hmm, well, I've heard of some people trying dirt in their litter boxes, and some people have mentioned sand.. I've never personally tried either of these. As long as my boxes are cleaned frequently, and I have to say, two times a day is more than I scoop.. cause I'm not quite so diligent.. mine don't go inappropriately (unless I just have a horrid week and forget to scoop for a few days). Oh, but I meant to ask you... are you getting the sections where the "soiled" litter has touched... for instance, are you taking a cleaning wipe and cleaning that section off so that the smell is gone too? I have to do that with the inside of our domes because one of my cats sprays when he pees... and it's always stinky in there. And they'll stop using it if the box itself smells even if the litter is clean.. it took me a while to figure that one out since I never stuck my nose in the dome.

I wonder if it's something he likes about the texture, and if so, if it can be replicated somehow. Or maybe that the tub is cool to the touch?


We've been using feliway.. and sometimes I *think* I can smell it, but honestly, it's almost non-existent to my nose. My sister has asthma and it doesn't set her off, but she says she can smell it. Of course, she's also got a picky nose and she doesn't complain about the Feliway. It's got a pleasant odor anyway, if you smell it at all.


You know, I'm honestly not certain how retraining will work with him. I'd say if he were pooping all over the place, it might work better, but given that he's specifically targetting the tub.. I don't know. We have had success with retraining kitties to use the box, though, so maybe it will work with your little boy too.
post #8 of 18
Boy, reading this thread just gives me that more more reasont to believe my own outlandish theory. Cats are from another planet.
post #9 of 18
This may be a silly idea but if none of the other great ideas work maybe you could try a large porcelain pan as his box? Perhaps line it with a bit of litter and see if he prefers that to the tub?

Have you tried any stinky stuff in the tub he may not like?

You are so sweet to keep on loving this kitty even though he poops in the tub.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie1965 View Post
This may be a silly idea but if none of the other great ideas work maybe you could try a large porcelain pan as his box? Perhaps line it with a bit of litter and see if he prefers that to the tub?

Have you tried any stinky stuff in the tub he may not like?

You are so sweet to keep on loving this kitty even though he poops in the tub.
I was thinking that myself, like an old porcelain sink or ..dish tub or something.. unless it's a plastic .. um.. what's the word for it.. the modern molded plastic one piece shower walls and tubs.. then I don't know what to suggest, lol.

You might try bitter apple sprayed in the tub, although I don't know that the scent will keep him out.. in theory that's been used for somethign that they lick or eat, but the smell might do it.

My cats hate the smell of pepper, and often the smell of mint oils, although I've never put a mint oil down where they could get at it, and you'll probably want to look into it to see if it's toxic to cats or not before you put it in there.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie1965 View Post
This may be a silly idea but if none of the other great ideas work maybe you could try a large porcelain pan as his box? Perhaps line it with a bit of litter and see if he prefers that to the tub?

Have you tried any stinky stuff in the tub he may not like?

You are so sweet to keep on loving this kitty even though he poops in the tub.
A true test of patience and love indeed.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchard View Post
From reading here, it seems like this stuff really works. Can humans smell it? I've hesitated to buy it because I really don't want a stinky tub ... well, okay, I already have that.
I spray the carriers when I take the cats to the vet, and I really don't notice any scent. I also sometimes have one plugged in because Cindy gets nervous for a week or so after a vet visit and it helps her. I have one plugged in right now, and I don't smell anything. I don't know how Feliway would work for your problem, but it definitely works to calm Cindy down.
post #13 of 18
If you decide to get some feliway plug ins, let me know and I'll try to find the site that has them the cheapest. It was like $23 for a diffuser and then like $13 or something for the refills which is cheaper than anywhere else I found em. I do find that the off-brand spray works well to keep ours from killing each other.. two have suddenly started to not get along... although I haven't tried the actual feliway spray... the off-brand does work well, and that's only $10 in the PetSmart.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsAreBetter View Post
If you decide to get some feliway plug ins, let me know and I'll try to find the site that has them the cheapest. It was like $23 for a diffuser and then like $13 or something for the refills which is cheaper than anywhere else I found em. I do find that the off-brand spray works well to keep ours from killing each other.. two have suddenly started to not get along... although I haven't tried the actual feliway spray... the off-brand does work well, and that's only $10 in the PetSmart.
You might be thinking of www.valleyvet.com ?
post #15 of 18
Could be... I took the week off work and the link is on my work email...
post #16 of 18
There was another site... it had them 3 for like 65 for the plug-ins.. but the refills were almost the same price. Let me go log in to my work email and see if I can find it.

http://entirelypets.com/feliway.html Okay, so it may be a toss up.. what one charges for shipping might make the difference between which one is cheaper, but those two sites are definitely the cheapest I've seen.
post #17 of 18
Why not just get a door?

I don't know alot about cat training, but I figure if you see him when he goes in the litterbox, praise him alot, talk to him sweetly, give him a favorite treat. When you can tell he has to go, follow him and see if he tries the tub. When he does, pick him up and set him outside the bathroom doorway and firmly say "NO". This may not be the fastest theory, but... I work with horses alot and I know that two things work the best: pressure, then reward, and consistency. I would try this, atleast on the side if you want to try some of the other theories.

But seriously... I would be rushing to Home Depot for a door if I were you!
post #18 of 18
Well, there may also be the possibility of "clicker" training, which supposedly works, but I have not tried yet, so...I dunno. No idea if it works or not.. in theory it does.
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