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Calling Litterbox (Poop) Problem-Solvers - PLEASE HELP!!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
We’ve been having a problem off and on for about a year, mostly "on" for a few months now, and I’ve read a lot of the suggestions in threads here and have tried some of them, but I’m really desperate for some help specific to my situation. This will be long, but it took me a while to get to this point. I’m just not sure what to do next and my cat’s place in this family is in serious jeopardy in my husband’s eyes.

Household: Two adults in a decent size house with one dog (male, age 4) and three cats: Mojo (female, age 5), Griswold (male, age 9) and Tao (male Siamese, age 11). I have had Tao and Griswold since they were kittens, so they grew up together and have lived several places with me. They have been around Mojo since she was a kitten, and around the dog since he was young. They have all lived together for about three years.

Tao has always been a little ‘edgy’, perhaps common for Siamese. He is very loving and friendly. He gets along with all the other animals, even the dog. He will rub and lick the dog when he is laying down, but when the dog makes any sudden movement Tao startles and runs. I think he's just a nervous cat in general.

In recent months he has started pooping outside the litterbox, in the hallway and along baseboards in a couple of the bedrooms. A few times he has peed, but mostly he just poops. We have two litterboxes – one upstairs and one downstairs. Tao spends most of his time upstairs, I see the other two cats using the downstairs litterboxes more. One of the cats also goes outside some. These incidents have happened just steps away from a freshly scooped litterbox. Yesterday was the last straw. I came home to poop upstairs, after several days of no problems. I admit it, I yelled (I KNOW that doesn’t work, it’s the first time I have snapped). This morning we discovered he had peed in a fresh basket of laundry (this has happened before – I think this behavior is emotional) and had pooped in two bedrooms. All overnight.

Things I have tried or considered:

* First of all, he went to the vet two months ago regarding this and all tests came back fine.

* I have treated all the areas thoroughly with enzyme cleaners, several times. I have tried a few deterrents, commercial and citrus scents. He visits the same 3-4 spots regardless.

* I have considered putting food at one of the more commonly-soiled spots, but their main feeding area is elevated to keep the dog from bothering it or them, and so I’d have to get creative to try that.

* I have a bag of Worlds Greatest Litter… I wonder if he might prefer the softer feel, maybe that is what draws him to the carpet? I plan to put that in a new litterbox (though, the box in there – a modified Rubbermaid storage bin with tall sides but no lid – is only a few months old… maybe it’s still not big enough!?).

* For a few days, a few weeks ago, we started confining him while we were gone to a small area with a litterbox, bed, food, water, etc. I made sure it wasn’t the bathroom where his upstairs litterbox is, so he wouldn’t associate that room with confinement. But he actually would go into the confinement area willingly as we left for the day! Then we felt so bad about that, we stopped, and the pooping started again. I’ll have to do that again this weekend just to appease my husband and get a game plan in place.

* I wonder if he has the issue of not wanting to pee and poop in the same box. I can’t even imagine where we would put a another litterbox upstairs… maybe just two small ones next to each other? Would an automatic box that ensures a fresh box every visit help with that?

* We briefly used the Feliway diffuser, but my husband hates how it smells. He has a really sensitive nose (not a good thing in this situation!). I didn’t believe he was smelling the Feliway, and I’ve tried to sneak it back in and he always smells it before he sees it. Would it really help with this??

* Although the vet tested his stool, I think it seems too “hard†– or, maybe it has just dried up when I find it on the carpet! I wonder if some supplement would help soften it for a better pooping experience? I wonder if it has hurt him in the litterbox in the past.

* I’m really wondering if an anxiety med would help calm him down? Or, maybe a supplement like Rescue Remedy – does that really help? My instinct is that some of this behavior is due to him being ultra-sensitive to things around him. I hate to do that, but I’m really desperate!

What complicates this is that we are trying to start a family! When I am pregnant, my husband will be on full litterbox duty. He doesn’t mind that, but he has lost patience with cleaning up poop from all corners of our upstairs. He has indicated something needs to improve, or Tao can’t stay when there is a baby in the house. He is not heartless, it has taken him quite a lot to get to this point. And, obviously, a new baby would bring more stress to the house, and I’m really worried about how Tao will handle it. I’d like to help him NOW while our lives are simple!

post #2 of 9
Some cats will simply not pee and poo in the same box. The rule of thumb is one box per cat plus a spare, so with 3 cats, you should have 4 boxes. I do have boxes placed side by side. Sterilite bins are less expensive than rubbermaid btw.

For odor neutralizers, Nature's Miracle has a cat version with an orange citrus scent. Many cats don't like citrus so that by itself can deter a cat from returning to a previous spot.

For an anxiety med? My personal opinion is to be wary of them. My vet just put one of my cats on one for cystitus issues and he became jumpy. When I went to a different vet for a second opinion, they told me that I had to wean him off of them or he could have withdrawel symptoms. Some folks here swear by Rescue Remedy, but I've not tried it.

I'm glad to see that you are really trying to work thru this problem!! With cats, it seems that you keep trying things until you find the solution that works.
post #3 of 9
I have gone through what you are going through, I know how you feel. But please don't give up yet. Of course, a vet check first is top priority. I just kept trying different types of boxes and different types of litter until my cat settled down. He is very particular and it took several weeks, probably even a few months until I finally figured out what he wanted. Believe me, I tried just about every thing on the market, and now he is fine. He does not like to share a box with any other cat, he has his own. I have 4 cats sharing 5 boxes, except Rudy with his own, and everything is working well. Three of the boxes are lined up together, and the other 2 are in different parts of the house. Hang in there!!
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by KRZ View Post
Of course, a vet check first is top priority....He does not like to share a box with any other cat, he has his own.
He was at the vet 2-3 months ago due to this issue, everything was fine. He goes in about a month for Rabies boost, and I'll get a chance to talk more to them then. But, it just doesn't appear to be medical.

The litterbox upstairs seems to get used mostly by him... But how could he "have his own" if the other cats have access to the same parts of the house as him!? Is there a trick to this idea of "assigned" litterboxes??

I just bought a new "litterbox"... it's a CLEAR sterilite tote, pretty big. I will cut a U on the side for access, and leave the lid off. I'm thinking, since he's skittish by nature/breed, that maybe a clear box will be better - he can see around him. Make sense? I'll try the World's Best litter I got, but would welcome any other suggestions. I tried to imagine... what is it about the spots he has picked that maybe he likes... soft substrate, no walls around him. Well, since I've got to have walls, maybe clear walls will be better. And I've hear the WB litter is good for softness, as well as odor.

Actually, we do have a third litterbox, in the garage. Our one cat uses that one some when he's outside. There would literally not be enough floor space in the upstairs bathroom for a second box for Tao, unless I get two smaller ones.

I'm going to order Rescue Remedy - I have nothing to lose but a few bucks! I may try again to institute the Feliway diffuser (would it work to use the spray instead near the new box, to help him think it is his and it's wonderful??). What about something to make his stool softer, might that help? Someone once suggested a little of a certain oil on their food, but I can't remember what it was (not just vegetable oil).

My poor little old man. Thank you all so much, please keep the ideas coming. I have been feeling overwhelmed with ideas, and not sure what to try, in what order.
post #5 of 9
Sorry for the confusion about Rudy having his own box. I really have no set plan for that, he just seems to only use one of all of the boxes that I have. On a very rare occasion when I am changing and cleaning boxes, he might use a different one, only right after it has been changed. Believe me, I tried everything until I found out what worked for him. His box is scooped everyday and most times twice a day and the litter is completely changed twice a week. And on the slight chance that I am just a little late one morning, he lets me know by pooping right beside the box!! He is probably the most neurotic litter box cat I have ever heard of. I am sure you will find the answer and everything will work out. But I know, it is very stressful while you are going through it.

Also, I did change litter boxes while pregnant, I just wore rubber gloves while I was cleaning them.
post #6 of 9
if the litterboxes are scooped frequently, then there's little risk - poop has to 'age' before it's dangerous.
quote from above link:
Change the litter box daily if you own a cat. The Toxoplasma parasite does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in a cat's feces.
try the CatAttract - works well for mine.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
try the CatAttract - works well for mine.
I started using that when the trouble first began, hasn't made a difference. I plan to switch to Worlds Best Catlitter (currently have a blend in there), and CatAttract says you shouldn't use it with that kind of litter. Wonder why?

As for not scooping the box if/when I get pregnant... well, I am actually willing to do it, it's my husband that will probably take a stand. We have had trouble getting pregnant, and now that I've been through surgery to make it possible, he will probably be overly protective if/when it finally happens. I'll share the facts with him, but I won't fight him on it.
post #8 of 9
Hi I have one cat but he is notoriously fussy about his litter boxes . I have two big litter boxes for him, one is in the kitchen, we ave a big kitchen and the other is in one of the bathrooms. We use clumping litter and I scoop in the morning, when i get home from work and in the evening before bed. I think a clean litter box is paramount. Also, if you have more than one kitty your kitty will be able to smell the scent of other kitty which isn't what they like. If my kitties litter boxes are not clean, he just won't use it. Simple as that. I also wash them out every weekend. I am not saying that yours are not clean, just suggesting how fussy some cats can be about it and could be a reason. I also have a spray that I put on once I have changed the litter and it takes any other smell away, my kitty seems to like it.
post #9 of 9
Originally Posted by sctalby View Post
I started using that when the trouble first began, hasn't made a difference. I plan to switch to Worlds Best Catlitter (currently have a blend in there), and CatAttract says you shouldn't use it with that kind of litter. Wonder why?
i personally think it's to sell Precious Cat [their litter brand]. it says to ONLY use that w/the additive - but i've used the additive w/other unscented clay clumping litters & it works fine.
however, the actual CatAttract litter works better than the unscented clay + additive. not sure why, tho - maybe the texture [the CatAttract litter isn't as fine-grained as some of the others...]?
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