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Why has my cat has started going out of the box?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
My cat suddenly started to poop outside of the box. And I mean, right outside the box. It only happens once every 1 to 2 weeks now.

Anybody offer any advice?

Thanks!
post #2 of 21
The first thing that I always recommend is a trip to the vet to rule out any health issues. Second, is it possible that he's inside the box but is too close to the edge and misses? That has happened to my kitties on rare occasions.
post #3 of 21
It is possible that it is a health issue, I agree to take a trip to the vet to rule that out.

Is the litter box clean when it happens? Do you have any other cats that use that litter box?
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bnwalker2 View Post
The first thing that I always recommend is a trip to the vet to rule out any health issues. Second, is it possible that he's inside the box but is too close to the edge and misses? That has happened to my kitties on rare occasions.
She does seem healthy and happy. And it's not a miss. She poops a foot or two away from the box. Tonight, I saw what she did. We have 2 boxes. They had been cleaned less than 24 hours ago. She went up to the box, reached one paw in and scratched around. I then turned my back, and she was trying to bury what she had done outside the box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brittany_Nicole View Post
It is possible that it is a health issue, I agree to take a trip to the vet to rule that out.

Is the litter box clean when it happens? Do you have any other cats that use that litter box?

There are 2 other cats, boys. She has a "problem" with one. I wondered if adding a box might be a solution.

This problem has arisen now after living with the boys for over 5 years. What kind of health problems does this behavior relate to?
post #5 of 21
I've noticed that when kitties go outside the box it's almost always a health issue, assuming that the box is large enough and clean enough.

it can be anything, literally. It seems if they aren't feeling well that's how they let you know.

please take kitty to the vet, they are extremely good at acting healthy and normal when they are not.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
I notice that she gets pukey sometimes too. She'll have a day or two where she throws up her food. Usually the dry food. But this has been going on for a long time, and I figured the food just did not agree with her. Her fur gets clumpy too, which clumps I usually just snip out.

Could these be warning signs too?
post #7 of 21
I would say yes.
definitely.

your kitties coat is directly related to it's health, it should be shiny and soft if your kitty is healthy, assuming she's not rolling around in something.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
We are going to the vet on Wednesday. I hope I can treat her if there is something wrong. I'll let yall know what the Dx is. Thanks for your advice!
post #9 of 21
I'm so glad you're getting kitty to the vet. All of the above advice is correct - your cat's coat should be soft and shiney (unless she's been rolling around in something) - and cats that were using the litter box that start "having problems" using the litter box is usually a medical problem.

Throwing up? Can be sick, can be sensitivity - can be because she's got a fur ball going on and needs fur ball meds to help get it through (when they've got a furr ball that won't pass, sometimes they eat the dry food, it expands in their stomach - but is too much volume, so they throw up almost undigested dry food. This happens to one of our kitties and we now know "OK, time for fur ball stuff" ).

Also, just FYI, the rule of thumb is that you should have one more box than you have cats. So if it's not a medical problem, that could help. You can also try a litter called "Cat attract." This also really helps.

The other thing you need to do is to purchase an enzyme cleaner. Where she's been pooping MUST be cleaned with an enzyme cleaner, or just the smell of where she pooped before will encourage her to continue going there. DOUSE the carpet with it - and I mean down to the floor boards. Then cover the area with aluminum foil (unless it is directly in the path of their getting to the litter box - then maybe move the litter box a bit so they don't have to walk on the aluminum foil to get to it) and let it air dry naturally.

Hope she's OK!

Laurie
post #10 of 21
Save a fresh turd to bring with you to the vet for analysis. Put it in a baggy.

If it hurts her to poop because she's constipated then she could associate the box with the pain. Her solution is to poop somewhere else.

On the other hand if your cat is long haired and has knots of fur on her rear, she may also experience pain from the hair pulling and make the same association that it's the box causing it. You can have the vet do a butt buzz.

The condition of her coat is something to look at. If she's not grooming, she probably doesn't feel good.

What's the poop look like? Forgive the unfortunate association, but a healthy cat turd should look like a tootsie roll.

If it pellet like then it's too dry and probably is the act of elimination that hurts. If it's soft, she might have a parasite, which is easily resolved with a squirt of de-wormer from the vet.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraG View Post
Save a fresh turd to bring with you to the vet for analysis. Put it in a baggy.

If it hurts her to poop because she's constipated then she could associate the box with the pain. Her solution is to poop somewhere else.

On the other hand if your cat is long haired and has knots of fur on her rear, she may also experience pain from the hair pulling and make the same association that it's the box causing it. You can have the vet do a butt buzz.

The condition of her coat is something to look at. If she's not grooming, she probably doesn't feel good.

What's the poop look like? Forgive the unfortunate association, but a healthy cat turd should look like a tootsie roll.

If it pellet like then it's too dry and probably is the act of elimination that hurts. If it's soft, she might have a parasite, which is easily resolved with a squirt of de-wormer from the vet.
haha!! I about died laughing reading that!!!
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
She does throw up undigested dry food sometimes, but other times it's just slime or dryheaves. It's not as common as the pooping out of the box. Now she's averaging 1 to 2x a week. It was 2x this week.

Thankfully, the litterboxes are on a concrete floor. So it's not like I'm dealing with carpet. Her turds look normal. I'll take some to the vet tomorrow. I've been thinking of getting them another litterbox. I went to the store the other day, and couldn't find one I liked. I need to keep looking.

I'll bet they'll want to keep her over night.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well. The vet thinks she has arthritis and is having a hard time finding a comfortable spot in the box. She's not constipated, weighs exactly the same as she did 3 years ago, and is in good health. He thought the only other thing could be a thyroid, but she has no other symptoms.

He thinks that she is not grooming because of the arthritis pain too.

My prescription is to get her a big uncovered box, and see if that fixes the problem. If not, he can start doing tests, but that will get expensive because we have no idea what to look for, because she's otherwise normal.

I keep thinking she has cancer or something.

But anyway, that's the scoop. (pun intended)
post #14 of 21
Did he prescribe anything for the arthritis? You can purchase Cosequin without a prescription. It's a glucosamine table - it really helps some cats with arthritis.

If you need a new litter pan, I'd get a low-sided rubbermaid container. They don't make low-sided litter pans large enough for adult cats. I'd also purchase Cat Attract to help ensure she uses it.

.....did you get blood work done? If she had cancer, something wouldn't look normal. But if you're worried - get a second opinion. Two of our cats would be dead (really!) if we hadn't followed up on our instincts that something was wrong and NOT relied on what an initial vet visit said.

Laurie
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well, my instinct tells me there is nothing wrong with her. Arthritis is understandable because she is 10 years old. I once tried to give her a medicine that would help with dandruff. I mixed it in her food. When she got close enough to smell it, she literally jerked back. I suppose I would need to have her x-rayed to be sure what is what. I'll get the new liter pan and go from there.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
She pooped out of the box again.
post #17 of 21
Have youre cat checked for UTI - most litter box problems are due to UTI - if a male, he could die if he gets blocked and can't pee.

If there is no UTI, then you might need to change to a different litter, different box, or add a box if you have more then one cat.

Also you might need to clean/scoop and change the litter box more often.
post #18 of 21
Did your vet do a senior panel - they're not horribly expensive and, if nothing else, you'd have a baseline for your cat's health.

Also as a veteran of litter box issues with my male, after checking with the vet (which for me including a bladder ultrasound), you must clean clean clean with something like Nature's Miracle or other enzyme cleaner - using a black light to make sure you got everything. Otherwise, they'll just keep going back to the same spot.

The new, larger, open boxes would be good -with three cats, ideally you'd have four boxes, but I think you at least need three. Cleaning at least once a day is an essentially - twice a day is probably better. And, I swear by Cat Attract. Hmm, have you used the Feliway diffuser - just in case the poor baby is nervous in general?

Also, where are the boxes - are they in quiet, low traffic areas? Away from her food bowls?

And, bless you for your patience - I know it's not easy, but keep trying - litter box issues are troubling, but with patience (and some money for trying different litters, boxes, diagnostics etc.) they often can be resolved.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the tips. I'm getting enzymatic cleaner and upping the cleaning, and we'll see where that gets us. I'm going to have to try some of those other things too.

The boxes are in a low traffic area away from their food, I'd say 20 feet away on the other side of the basement. Plus, it's separated by the furnace and water heater.

I found some poop in another room in the basement, which was out of the ordinary. So I will have to keep an eye on everything.
post #20 of 21
I know this thread is a few days old, but thought Id add this.. Depending on the size of the cat, maybe look into the litter boxes specially made for ferrets and rabbits. I got one for my ferret when I still had him, and my cat prefured it to her normal one. Just have to clean a lot because they are kinda small. But they are nicely low fronted and easy to get in and out of. Got mine at Petco I think it was.
At this time I have 4 cats and 2 litter boxes, the ferret one and a normal one. Both filled with same litter in same area, and all the cats go in the ferret one untill it needs to be cleaned and *then* start using the cat one. Just a thought.
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've been cleaning the boxes everyday, and I've only had her poop out of the box 2x in the last month. They all use the great big box, and will only occasionally use the other ones.

One of my cats has a very disgusting habit. He rolls around in the litter box. It's so gross, I have to wash my hands after I pet the little beast.
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