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Cat missing litterbox! Need help!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
A common problem I know.

I have a mixed-breed medium hair who defecates outside her litter box. If she's constipated, she will try the litter box for a bit and if not successful, then tries the floor directly in front of the litter box. I don't know why she doesn't just keep standing in the litter box until she has a bowel movement...does she maybe not like the litter?

I've tried an additional litter box with a finer brand of litter (a generic instead of Tidy Cats). I've added yet another litter box with no litter. I've tried cleaning more frequently. Do I try yet another brand? The vet didn't find anything wrong except for larger than normal stools. I give her hairball remedy every day and add salmon oil to her food. Not sure what else to do...

She's done this before, usually getting worse as her coat got longer and more matted and better after a visit to the groomer's. It's just that the last few months the amount involved has gotten larger....
post #2 of 9
It's not uncommon for a cat to move outside of the box when there's a medical problem, even a relatively small one like constipation. If the cat feels pain when defecating they can begin to associate pain with the box itself and may eventually quit using it altogether. Address the constipation, then box use will likely resume to normal. If not, you can retrain her to the box.

Just curious, do you feed wet food or only dry? I've seen all dry diets cause this problem.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Only a very small amount of wet food, just enough to mix with the hairball remedy and the steroid she takes for asthma.

How does one "retrain" a cat to use the litterbox? Every cat I've owned has been an adult so they've already been litter box trained.

I can see your point about the the past a few times she's been badly constipated and in pain. We seemed to have gotten that taken care of, but she might remember those times when she uses the box.
post #4 of 9
you can try the CatAttract litter - it's worked well for me.
post #5 of 9
Canned pumpkin works very well for constipation and most cats take to it well... get plain pumpkin though, not the kind where you just dump it in a pie shell and you have pumpkin pie haha My mom's friend started using this for her dog who's having anal gland problems and she says it has helped his stool

If the constipation is fixed and she's still not using the box, then she probably is associating the box with the pain and you do need to retrain... the cat attract mentioned usually works pretty well
post #6 of 9
That's a good point about canned pumpkin.

When one of my male cats had serious UTI problems and consequent surgery he quit using the box because of pain association. Basically, you have to show them that the box doesn't cause pain. You do that by using stuff they like. My cat is a treat monster! I put some really good treats on the back of the box. It was situated in such a way that he HAD to get in the box to get the treats. He didn't want to at first but soon was hopping in, eating his treats and forgot that the box ever "hurt" him.
post #7 of 9
If she eats only dry and doesn't drink enough water she will continue to have this problem. None of my cats are all that into the water because they get so much of it from their diet.

When they move out of the box they are trying to tell you something.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Tried the canned pumpkin, but neither of my cats went for it. Maybe I'll give the Cat Attract a shot.

The funny thing is, she uses the litter box most of the time, just sometimes that she goes elsewhere...
post #9 of 9
Another thing to try that might help is Cat Lube. It's a tablet that you can break into pieces and feed to the cat, or crush and sprinkle over the food. I've seen it at some Petco stores and Petsmart has it online. I've had good results with it with one of my cats who is prone to constipation.

This article about constipated cats might help:

After addressing the constipation problem, you may want to try getting her a new box and trying a different litter. The Cat Attract is definitely worth trying. One of my cats was treated for urinary stones a few years ago, but continued to go out of the box even after he recovered. I was pretty sure it was because he associated the box with pain, so I bought a new box and switched to a different type of litter, and that solved the problem.
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