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HELP!! Won't use litter box anymore!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well I bought some Hartz Gold at Wal-Mart to control fleas. I had used it before and didn't think there would be a problem, and did not know all the problems that have occured with the medicine. He had a BAD reaction spent two nights at the vet wit antiseizure medicine and all sorts of stuff.

Now (of course) we have a different cat, since I think that used up two lives at least. He is insecure, and always stays close to me and his daddy. The oddest thing is now he won't use the litter box. He has pooped in our daughters bathroom twice now. Once on the rug and the second time in the tub.

We have a litter box which he has shared with princess for years. It is located in the garage and has a cat door to access it. Very private and it is large since we use an underbed storage tub for the box. Nothing has changed except him.

I read the posts about possible reasons for this behavior and we don't really think any specifically apply to our situation. Why would he stop using he box?

Could he have forgotten where is was? Could it now be too scary to go into the garage through the door? He obviously knows the bathroom is for going potty.

ANY HELP is greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 16
1) is he neutered?

2) has he been to the vet recently to be checked for a UTI? It wouldn't be checked for on a routine visit.

Once he hits a spot he will keep going back until it is throughouly cleaned wth an enzymatic cleaner. Also, if the problem does appear to be medical, throw out his litterbox and get a new one because he will associate the box with the pain of the UTI and not return to it.
post #3 of 16
I confused as to how new the other cat is???

Also do you keep the litter box clean, on a day to day basis? If you have two cats you should have two litter boxes especially if the cats aren't found of eachother. Some cats don't like to share the same litter box because of the two scents.

When I brought my baby girl Leya back from the vet, granted that's when she went blind, she stopped pooping in the box as well. She would use the litter box the first day I put new litter in it then poop outside of it. We ended up buying a semi-automatic cat box cleaner and now she uses it all the time.

It sounds like your cat went through a lot of stress as did poor Leya, maybe that triggers something....Who knows!?
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
1) is he neutered?

2) has he been to the vet recently to be checked for a UTI? It wouldn't be checked for on a routine visit.

Once he hits a spot he will keep going back until it is throughouly cleaned wth an enzymatic cleaner. Also, if the problem does appear to be medical, throw out his litterbox and get a new one because he will associate the box with the pain of the UTI and not return to it.
Yes he has been neutered for about five years. He was checked for a UTI. He spent two days under the vets care and had everything checked and the only thing they found was that he was fighting the effects of the flea medication.

We cleaned the rug right after it happened (which was about three days ago) and the tub happened this morning.

This is why we are SO confused. We have tried to do everything we knew to do, and nothing fits. We really think he has some significant brain damage from the seizures and that his nervous system is all messed up now. We are conserned that he has lost some of his memory.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnzoLeya View Post
I confused as to how new the other cat is???

Also do you keep the litter box clean, on a day to day basis? If you have two cats you should have two litter boxes especially if the cats aren't found of eachother. Some cats don't like to share the same litter box because of the two scents.

When I brought my baby girl Leya back from the vet, granted that's when she went blind, she stopped pooping in the box as well. She would use the litter box the first day I put new litter in it then poop outside of it. We ended up buying a semi-automatic cat box cleaner and now she uses it all the time.

It sounds like your cat went through a lot of stress as did poor Leya, maybe that triggers something....Who knows!?

Our cats have lived together for three years and shared a single litter box that entire time. We clean the little box maybe once a week, since the cats go outside more than not. However since this happened we have gone to about every other day.

He has gone through a lot of stress his daddy (whom he was born under his bed) was out of town and he was scared and out of his element. He had to go to the emergency vet over the first night (since it was after hours) then to his regular vet the second night. He did go through an awfully lot and really affected him, but we are still confused about the litter box issue.
post #6 of 16
Does he pee in the box, and poop elsewhere...or he doesn't use the box for either function now? I wasn't sure.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beandip View Post
Does he pee in the box, and poop elsewhere...or he doesn't use the box for either function now? I wasn't sure.
I am not sure. I think he is using the box to pee, but since it is in the garage and we never really know when he does or doesn't know when he uses it. Well we do know he isn't peeing in the house. just pooping and only in the bathroom. REALLY STRANGE behavior.
post #8 of 16
Assuming he does not have brain damage, and I hope he does not (poor baby!!) -

I think it is very possible that he associates his trauma with the litter box. It could be that he first began to feel sick while in the litter box eliminating. Or it could be that he had an unpleasant experience with a litter box while at the vet and is reminded of it.

Another thing could be that he is sensitive to using the cat door, possibly from having an IV or other thing that could make it hurtful for him to push through the door. There is no way of knowing what happened to him at the vets that could have created an association, and now the aversion.

Yet another thing could be that he is scared to be by himself in the garage in the dark after his trauma, being fearful his seizures could happen again and not knowing what caused it.

There is a litter called Cat Attract that is extremely successful for treating cats who develop an aversion to litter boxes. I suggest that you get another litter box and put that litter into it. I would put it next to the cat door but not in the garage yet. If he uses it, I would let it be like that until he forgets his trauma. Then over time I would move him back into the garage.

Last but not least, cats can see in the dark but not pitch black. So you might want to put a night light by your litter boxes wherever they are.

Good luck and I hope this helps!!!!
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbB View Post
Assuming he does not have brain damage, and I hope he does not (poor baby!!) -

I think it is very possible that he associates his trauma with the litter box. It could be that he first began to feel sick while in the litter box eliminating. Or it could be that he had an unpleasant experience with a litter box while at the vet and is reminded of it.

Another thing could be that he is sensitive to using the cat door, possibly from having an IV or other thing that could make it hurtful for him to push through the door. There is no way of knowing what happened to him at the vets that could have created an association, and now the aversion.

Yet another thing could be that he is scared to be by himself in the garage in the dark after his trauma, being fearful his seizures could happen again and not knowing what caused it.

There is a litter called Cat Attract that is extremely successful for treating cats who develop an aversion to litter boxes. I suggest that you get another litter box and put that litter into it. I would put it next to the cat door but not in the garage yet. If he uses it, I would let it be like that until he forgets his trauma. Then over time I would move him back into the garage.

Last but not least, cats can see in the dark but not pitch black. So you might want to put a night light by your litter boxes wherever they are.

Good luck and I hope this helps!!!!
Well we keep a light on in the garage at all times, and not some small light either a six foot long double flourescent.

However while reading your post I recalled that we found him seizing in the garage. It never occurred to me that maybe he is not afraid of the garage as a whole. What would anyone (everyone) suggest as a way to treat his fear of the garage? or possible fear?
post #10 of 16
Yes indeed he could be avoiding the garage because he associates it with the seizure. That is extremely likely to be the case.

Reading your last post about the pee and poo locations and not knowing: It would be good if you could sort of keep an eye on him to see if he actually does go through the cat door and pee in the litter box. Because it could be that he has found a place to pee elsewhere and you have just not found it yet. It could be that he is peeing in the tub too and it is just going down the drain. I hope that is not the case!!

If he is peeing in the garage and pooping in the bathroom, or even if he is peeing and pooping both in the tub, my advice is to keep the bathroom door shut and put the litter box with Cat Attract litter right outside the bathroom door. Then as with my post above, slowly move it by degrees back to the garage once it seems like his trauma is over. Or you could start with it in the bathroom tub and move it slowly out the door by degrees. And then work on getting him to feel safe in the garage again. This could mean having play activities in there along with your other kitty, giving them both treats there, and helping him have positive associations with being there.

And really keep an eye on him for peeing or pooping activity. If you see him use the box, give him lots of praise and an occasional treat.

Someone else mentioned the need to clean thoroughly in the area where inappropriate elimination occurred. I TOTALLY agree. Once he goes in the wrong place, it starts a whole new behavior where he doesn't remember why he went there in the first place, and he continues to go there because it is where the poop smell is. I had a cat do this and it seemed like no amount of cleaning got the smell out. I actually ended up throwing everything out that she pooped on and getting new rugs, the works. You are lucky he is going in the tub because that is easy to clean.

You could ultimately try putting apple bitters near the tub drain. I doubt he will try and taste the area, but if he puts his paw there and then licks it, that may turn him off to returning to that spot.

But I would not do this until you get him comfortable with a litter box he likes. The fact that he is using the tub IMO shows that he is trying to find a place that is the next closest thing to his box. You have a wonderful kitty and I am sure he will recover. In the meantime he is very lucky to have you!!
post #11 of 16
BarbB has given you some great advice. I agree that it's important to figure out where he is peeing, as the info will be helpful in solving your problem. Cat pee is sort of hard to miss for any length of time, so I kind of suspect that he's peeing in the box...or the tub as Barb mentioned.

I also think you will really need to provide another box in a location inside the house, in addition to the one in the garage. It doesn't have to be permanent but I think it will help.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate your help and suggestions hopefully we can figure this all out.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well we are working with Faust to get him comfortable with the garage again. However he is still using the girls bathroom some. We continue to scrub the bathroom, but at least it is in the bathroom. Since he was a kitten that has been his thing if he couldn't get out he always has used the bathroom.

Thanks again for all your help.
post #14 of 16
If you have house plants I would check there for pee and poop as well. One of our cats was being terrorized by another of our cats and stopped using the litter box(with a lid) because he would get cornered in it when he went potty...So he started using my plants where he could keep a better eye out for the bully-kitty. Now he has an open litter box and leaves my plants alone!
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbB View Post
I think it is very possible that he associates his trauma with the litter box. It could be that he first began to feel sick while in the litter box eliminating. Or it could be that he had an unpleasant experience with a litter box while at the vet and is reminded of it.
That happened with Hemmy after a year's bout with serious UTI's that led to surgery. (He's all healthy now!) He knew it hurt to go to the litter box so he was afraid to use it. Luckily, Hemmy LOVES treats. A few on the back of it and he went right in and forgot all about the hurt. Maybe you could try the same and see if it makes him feel better about the box and garage. I'd recommend something super aromatic and yummy like tuna.
post #16 of 16
i definitely recommend the Cat Attract. Firefox, a former feral kitten, has been inside for a week now. she was pooping in her box, but peeing on the floor i got some of the cat attract & she is now using her litterbox for everything, independently! [& my others like it so much they want to go & use her tiny box instead of theirs!]
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