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Help! Cat terrorism and litterbox problem

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

Just found your site tonight and hope you may have some advice for me! Here's the problem, sorry its kinda long:

My husband and I married in December, each of us bringing 2 cats (total of 4) to our new apartment. All cats are neutered/spayed. We have 3 relatively young males (Monty, Sammy and Jinx) and a small older female (Simon). We introduced everyone slowly, and at first it seemed like everyone was going to get along. Now one of the males, Jinx, has taken a strong dislike to Simon. As I said, she is old and somewhat grouchy so she hisses at everyone. With this particular male, though, it escalates to yowling, bushy tails and flying fur.

We are keeping Simon closed in the bathroom overnight with her own litterbox, food and water and some snuggly places, but the problem is getting worse. She has started pooping outside of the box, and today I found a gross freshie in one of her hiding places in the bathroom.

There are 3 other litterboxes in the apartment. We are taking the lids off, thinking that maybe she's been afraid of an ambush. We can't figure out why she's pooping in "her" territory. If she's marking, wouldn't it be peeing instead? She's ok with her old pal Monty (they were my cats) but she dislikes Sammy and loathes Jinx.

Any advice on how to curb this problem? More litterboxes? Keep Simon locked away in the bathroom? How can I keep Jinx from terrorizing my old lady? She is small, old and relatively defenseless. Simon is declawed ( please, I agree that its cruel too) and I'm afraid for her. She is a timid cat and just wants some peace, table scraps and a warm patch of sunshine.

Any advice would be really appreciated! Thanks!
post #2 of 7
My first thought would be a vet visit. Sometimes when cats are getting along famously, then all of a sudden one starts hissing at the other one- it can turn out to be a health problem, and Simon could be sick (and you not know it) but Jinx can smell it off her and thus the hissing begins. Adding to that the pooping out of the litterbox- if the box is kept clean and scrubbed with fresh litter in it enough to satisfy a fastidious cat- then I would take Simon in for a check up.

If Simon checks out okay health wise, then it could be the stress of the added cats just having built up inside of her, and also the isolation factor of being banished to a room for not being able to get along, even just overnight, she could be reacting to that isolation and not understanding it.

It could also be that being declawed, she is getting an infection in one of her feet and staying out of the litterbox because it hurts her. I would ask the vet to check her feet as well.

I would add more litterboxes, you have 4 cats, you should have at least 5-6 litter pans. Cats do not like to pee and poop in the same box- they will if they have to, but they are more comfortable having the option of other places to go. If you have ever watched a feral cat, when they relieve themselves outside, they move off after they urinate, and do their other business elsewhere, that really is basic instinct for all cats.

If all you have is yowling and fluffy tails, then the cats will learn to get along in time. They could be finally just figuring out the order of things, but again, to be safe I would take Simon to the vet.

Good luck!
post #3 of 7
I agree that the first step is a vet visit. It sounds as if you have tried the basics so far. Does Simon stay in the bathroom all day and night? I know you said night, but I was curious to see if she does it all the time at night, or if she's out during the day does she go outside the box in the bathroom?
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi Hissy and Sandie,

Thanks for your advice. Simon is going to the vet tomorrow, just to be safe. We have taken the covers off of all of the litterboxes and added 2 more. Everyone seems happy, no accidents today.

Sandie, we let Simon out of the bathroom in the morning. I think that she has been going outside of the box during the day because she is afraid of being ambushed.

Normally we've been kicking out all of the cats from our bedroom when its time to sleep, and keeping Simon seperate in the bathroom. Now we're thinking of keeping one cat in the bedroom with us when we sleep, rotating them around so everyone gets love.

I'm still wondering, though-is there anything we can do to keep Jinx from attacking Simon? It seems to me like the cats are establishing a hierarchy. Simon is the only cat that Jinx CAN beat. Monty is much bigger and Sammy won't fight with anybody. Simon growls at everyone....only Jinx calls her bluff and attacks her. They are fighting for real, with lots of fur flying. Other than keeping them seperate, we don't know what to do. Any ideas?
post #5 of 7
Jinx, perhaps you could try a Feliway plug-in. It releases a scent that mimics the calming, soothing scent that a cat has in his/her facial scent glands. This would help calm both kitties down and give them pleasant, happy thoughts. You can also buy Feliway as a liquid where you would dab a bit on a towel and let each kitty sniff it, especially when they come together. I would think in your situation the plug-in would be easier.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip, Heidi. I'd never heard of Feliway until I started surfing here....seems like a wonderful product. I'm going to check it out!

By the way, Simon got a clean bill of health today. Just a little on the chubby side. So glad I joined this site! Everyone is so supportive, with lots of great advice. Thanks, people!
post #7 of 7
With cats, only time will tell. Some are so much more emotional than others. It's really tough to say what's going to work for your family of 4. The feliway plug in's would be a great start. You can also try setting up a room for the cats (for the most part) and putting 2 that get along at a time. Keep switching them out during the day, and then that way they will get adjusted to each others scent.
So far, you have done a great job in understanding that she's not a "bad" kitty, just having a little trouble at the moment. I am sure they will come around with some time
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