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Cat goes #2 in the sink and not the litter box

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have two cats, one male and one female (siblings). They are both 1 and half years old. They have always used the same litter box since they were kittens. However about a 3 weeks ago my girlfriend went out of town for a few weeks on vacation and the female started doing the old #2 in the sink. She has done this even after my girlfriend returned and continues to do this now. Both cats are more attached to my girlfriend then they are to me. We always make sure to clean the litter box, two cats it's kind of hard not to.

So my question is if this is a health issue for her, or is this some kind of mental reaction from the female cat?
post #2 of 5
Glad you found TCS. I sure hope we can help!

Going #2 on a cold hard surface is often a sign that there's actually a health problem. Not always, but often. What makes me think it's not a stress-reaction is that she keeps going in the same place. A stress-reaction is more often expressed in peeing outside of the box, and most often on something that smells like the person that comforts kitty, like a couch, the bed, or laundry.

I would do a couple of things. I think a trip to the vet for your female would be in order. Bring a sample of her #2 with you.

Are they both spayed and neutered? Poop is often used as a territory marker. This would be more of a predisposition thing if she's not spayed.

In the meantime, if it is not health-related, I would do a couple of things:

1) Purchase Feliway - either the spray or a plug-in. Feliway is a synthetic hormone that mimics the "friendly" markers in cats' cheeks and helps lower stress. http://www.catfaeries.com. This isn't the cheapest place to purchase it, but I post the link because I would also consider

2) Using Flower Essences. For this situation, I'd go with either Territorial Rescue or Calm and Serene. Flower Essences are not as universally effective as Feliway (which doesn't work for all cats - but it does work for most cats) - but the cats that respond, really respond.

3) I'd add at least one more litter box to your home. She's maturing, her personality is more developed, and she may becoming "pickier" about her bathroom. Some cats do not like to use the box if there is something else in it. Some also develop a preference for pooping in one box and peeing in another box. Just FYI, the rule of thumb to help cat owners prevent problems like this is to have one more box than you have cats. For people in apartments, it can be a problem. But I would consider at least one more box.

4) As a safety net, I would purchase Cat Attract additive to add to the litter. There is a "Cat Attract" litter - it is expensive - but I also hear it doesn't clump very well (though it works REALLY well for cats not using the litter box). However, there is a product developed by the same vet, and you add it to your existing litter (so the clumping still works). It worked really well for a kitty of ours that was peeing outside of the box due to a stress situation. http://www.thecatconnection.com/page/TCC/PROD/LTR-7551

The most important thing to remember is that about 85% of the time, a cat that pees or poops outside the litter box - that was previously using the litter box - has a health problem. Cats are great at otherwise disguising the fact that there's a problem. But they are creatures that operate "by association" - so if they come to associate the litter box with pain (in urinating or pooping), some of them will stop using it.

Hope this helps,

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the response. They are spayed and nuttered. We actually live in Poland, so some of these products by the exact name might not be available, but I'm sure they have some kind of equivalent. I guess a trip to the vet is in order. We were pretty much told the same thing it might be health related from a polish forum my girlfriend uses. Thanks for the help.
post #4 of 5
I'm so sorry, I usually check that, because I know some of the products can be difficult to obtain outside the U.S.

I expect you'll be able to find the Feliway (or its equivalent) because it's not a new product and its beneficial qualities are well known. And I'm sure you've got some type of calming herbal remedies available that are safe for cats. I don't know about the "Cat Attract" stuff - it's fairly new to the market, and it costs a lot.

But if it's not a medical problem, I'd try putting out at least one more litter box, since pooping, when not a medical issue, is most often a territorial thing, which means having another box for her to "mark" might just do the trick.

However, if that doesn't work, and the problem is stress-related, you may also want to consider both of you giving the female extra attention - both love (if she's into pets and cuddles) and play. A good 15 minutes each morning and evening of play-time focused around her can go a long way to help lowering stress.

Hope this is a little more helpful,

post #5 of 5
In addition to the great advice that Laurie gave, see if you can find an enzymatic cleaner, such as Nature's Miracle. If you can, you should use it to thoroughly clean the sink. You might need to do this several times.

If you do not use an enzymatic cleaner, the sink might smell clean to your nose. But your cat, with her superior sense of smell, will probably still be able to detect the smell of waste. This smell basically tells her that it is OK for her to continue to use the sink as a toilet.

The enzymatic cleaner recommendation applies whether her reasons for inappropriate elimination are behavioral or medical.

The concern that I always have with situations like this is that frequently it does not take very long for cats to develop habits that are hard to break. It sounds like your cat has been using the sink for about a month or so now. That is one of the reasons that Laurie mentioned Cat Attract --- because it seems to have a good success rate with luring cats back to the box.

Hopefully everything will work out OK and things will return to normal. Please keep us posted and feel free to ask any other questions that you might have along the way.
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