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Litter Box issues........EEK!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Cleo used the litter box for both of her duties the first two weeks my mother owned her. Well...NOWWW...she has a habit of taking her number two jobs and doing them just OUTSIDE of the box. She will urinate in the box, but will not do the other job in it! I guess if I had to choose, I would rather have this happen versus the urinating! We changed to a different litter, but she still has done it. The vet suggested adding a second litter box, but that hasn't helped at all. The funny thing is she always does it right around the corner from her box. It isn't like it is in random places around the house. It is always just within inches of her box!

What is this that is going on? Now I am totally stumped!
post #2 of 12
Give her a second box to use, buy those large plastic tubs that fit underneath the bed. That's what I use for my cats, of course they don't go under the bed, I put them in a private place upstairs, plus they have their enclosure outside where some more litter pans are. Don't rule out she could have a UTI they come on quite quickly at times.
post #3 of 12
I personally have never had a problem with pooping outside the box...so I don't have any good suggestions. The only thing that I can relate to this is...Bud tends to point his butt out of the box instead of in towards the box. Sometimes he just misses the box even though he is inside it...he just hasn't figured out that he's doing it all wrong. He's a very unique cat...I think he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, if ya know what I mean! LOL!
My only suggestion is getting a big cardboard box and cut it down to size on the sides, but put the litter box inside the cardboard box. Maybe she has the same problem Bud's got...just can't hit the box!
I'm sure someone else will give you better suggestions...I thought I'd share mine with you. Good luck with Cleo! Keep us posted, ok?
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
There is a second box...but she won't use either of them

She doesn't urinate outside the box...just the defacation! How could that be related to a urinary tract infection
post #5 of 12
Sorry carrie, I read your post in a bit of a rush. My apologies.

If she is urinating without straining, and you know that she is, a UTI is probably not what is going on.

I would get a couple more boxes and set them out in private areas in the house, buy different litters and see which one she prefers. Some cats are picky and don't like certain litters if they are heavily perfumed, too dusty, or for whatever reason.
post #6 of 12
Perhaps it could be as simple as she's telling you where she would prefer to have a litterbox (just around the corner from the current one). The current one may not be as private as she would like.

Try putting a box where she is defecating, and if she starts using it regularly then you can work on moving it to your desired location. Move it tiny bits at a time, like 1-2 inches per day, so she doesn't really notice that it's moving. Little by little you'll get it to the place you like.
post #7 of 12
Carrie, This sounds too simple to be the right answer, but I have the Littermaid (the self cleaning one.) My cats choose a back corner to do everything. It's always the left back corner. I know this because the container that the rakes put the waste in is always filled on the left and empty on the right. On occasion, I find some B.M. on the plastic mat near (about 2 inches!) the left rear corner. This is rare, but it seems obvious to me that they have just missed the litterbox. The urine goes in the box, but their little bottoms must be just above the edge, so they simply miss the box. Perhaps I have put in a bit too much litter, and they have mounded it up. Try a deeper container that is also larger the whole way around, and don't use quite as much litter. That way their bottoms will stay in the box. I hope it's this easy! It seems logical.
post #8 of 12
I have the Littermaid self cleaning boax, cleans each time they go so no odor as I also use the step on wintergreen odor litter.

I think a very clean box is a must. It is difficult to scoop yourself each time they go
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I agree. A clean box is a must and Cleo's is! She has TWO of them now! But the thing with moving the box to where she is going is that it is in the hallway! There really isn't any room for it there. She literally DOES the job while she is OUTSIDE of the box and in the hall. I have no idea why she could be doing this, either.

If it is poo issue.....it really wouldn't be a medical thing, would it? Maybe just a behavior thing? My mother is gone all day and we thought maybe it was because she doesn't like being left alone, but who knows. I am stumped still.
post #10 of 12
Set the litter box inside a larger cardboard box then, as suggested before to give her taller sides. It could just be the litterbox is to small for her. That's why I love Walmart, those big plastic tubs make the best litter boxes.
post #11 of 12
Originally posted by valanhb
Perhaps it could be as simple as she's telling you where she would prefer to have a litterbox (just around the corner from the current one). The current one may not be as private as she would like.

Try putting a box where she is defecating, and if she starts using it regularly then you can work on moving it to your desired location. Move it tiny bits at a time, like 1-2 inches per day, so she doesn't really notice that it's moving. Little by little you'll get it to the place you like.
I think Heidi has a great idea! I know that having a litter box in the hall will be a big pain in the rear...but it will be temporary. Just remember to move the box only a little at a time so the cat doesn't realize that it is slowly making its way down the hall to the place where you want the box to be.

Also...she may be telling you that she just isn't comfortable with where you have the boxes right now. It is possible that if you put a second box in a completely different room, she may start using it instead of the hallway. If the boxes are in a place where she feels vulnerable while she is having to sit and concentrate she won't use the box there. A quick pee in a scary spot isn't as uncomfortable as taking a poop, which takes longer and makes the cat feel more vulnerable. For some cats, they prefer their boxes to be out in the open so they can see the comings and goings of others...this way they can easily escape if they feel it is necessary. Other cats prefer hidden boxes where no one can see them while they are doing their thing. If the litter boxes are in a closet...this may be her way of telling you that at least one of them needs to be in a more open place. If this is the case, you can put it in a corner of a room and then surround the box with pretty house plants so that it isn't noticeable.

Also...the only time any of my cats have pooped outside the box was when they were sick. So, perhaps a vet visit will be a good idea.
post #12 of 12
Cleo is not the only cat out there that chooses to defecate right outside her box. My cat Betty does too! I thought she was the only one until I read your post! If Cleo is like Betty you have a very sensitive and attached cat who is trying to communicate she misses you.

It may be as people have suggested that she wants more/less privacy or wants you to move her box. Cleo could also be constipated (it happens) or has an upset stomache in which case try switching food or adding fiber to her wet food. But if not...here is what I have found and learned dealing with my cat Betty when she does her business right outside her box:

1) she missed her original guardian
when i first brought Betty home she pooped in the shower. this lasted a week. she used her box normally afterwards

2) she misses her new guardian
after returning from trips or being gone all day i often find she has pooped right outside her box (despite someone coming to care for her every day in my absence). i have to monitor her box activity very closely upon returning. if i see her head for her box i escort her there. if see shes used her box i praise her when shes done. if i see shes pooped outside her box, i ignore her and dont draw attention to it (so she doesnt associate box misuse with me magically appearing to clean it) this usually corrects her behavior.

3) she is confused about a change in routine
i switched from working at home all day to having an afternoon job. the afternoon was when she would usually use her box to poop. when i would come home, not surprisingly, she pooped right outside her box! i changed her feeding schedule from full bowl in morning to full bowl at night so that she started to do her business in the evening when i was home.

4) the box is in too private of a location - she wants to be where you are
once i put her box in an empty dining room that no one used. i thought she would love having the room to herself but she peed in her box and pooped in a corner on the bathroom. i moved the box to the bathroom and she was fine. Perhaps Cleo finds where you put the box too private. maybe not the hallway but somewhere where you traffic.

As you can tell, I've thought about this quite a bit! I know it can be very frustrating. You can try the bigger box, the second box, the new litter, the motorized self cleaning litter box... but the only things that work for sensitive cats are keeping a routine and praising her when she uses the box (but not drawing her attention when she doesnt). oh, and lots of patience.

i hope that helps. good luck!
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