or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Behavior › Healthy Cat using the shower as a litter box
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Healthy Cat using the shower as a litter box

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
As the title of this thread states, my cat is healthy. He has recently been to the vet, and this behavior started long before that visit. He has no UTI or bladder infection or anything wrong with him elsewhere. The vet thinks its purely behavioral, and I'm out of ideas.

Basically, he has decided that the shower is his litter box. I have had issues with this guy in the past peeing outside of the box, so a few months ago when I saw him walk into the shower, and plop himself directly on the drain to pee, I was actually happy. I thought that it was gross that he was using the shower, but especially since he sits right on the drain, its so easy to clean, so I preferred that over him using the couch, bed, floor, etc.

But now its like it has become convenience for him and its starting to drive me crazy. I've tried changing the litter. I have litter boxes everywhere in the house that are cleaned twice a day. I've used the Cat Attract litter. He'll poop in the litter box, but he only pees in the shower drain.

I've been leaving the shower door open for him, because I'm still at the point where I prefer this over him using something much harder to clean, but its really starting to irritate me, because I don't understand why he just won't use the litter box! Or actually, I dont understand why he'll use the litter box to poop in, but he won't pee in it.

I was actually hoping that the vet would find something medically wrong with him that can be fixed, but she didn't, so now I'm dealing with a purely behavioral issue. My husband thinks I should just close the shower door so he can't go in there, but I'm afraid to, because I don't want him peeing somewhere else instead.

So...any suggestions on how to get my boy to pee in the litter box again?
post #2 of 23
Please get him to another vet and have a draw done of urine directly from his bladder. He is ill- 9 times out of 10 when cats are seeking hard objects to pee on- they are quite ill. Expressing urine doesn't give accurate reads on some bacterial infections.He needs a needle draw and quickly. If your vet refuses, find one who will do it. Ideally, a feline specialist.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy View Post
Please get him to another vet and have a draw done of urine directly from his bladder. He is ill- 9 times out of 10 when cats are seeking hard objects to pee on- they are quite ill. Expressing urine doesn't give accurate reads on some bacterial infections.He needs a needle draw and quickly. If your vet refuses, find one who will do it. Ideally, a feline specialist.
They did do a draw directly from his bladder and it came back perfectly fine. They ran one at their in office lab and had a sample sent out to a lab, and both came back fine. I already go to the best vet in this area, and since they've already done this - twice actually - once a few months ago and once a few days ago, I have to believe them when they say its behavioral.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
He had a full blood panel done too, and that came back perfectly fine also.
post #5 of 23
Sometimes a second urinalysis is needed, I've had cats test UTI- & 2 weeks later test UTI+. :rolleeys:

As inconventient as it may be, have you considered putting a litterbox in the shower? Before you try that, you may want to look into cat attract litter.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Sometimes a second urinalysis is needed, I've had cats test UTI- & 2 weeks later test UTI+. :rolleeys:

As inconventient as it may be, have you considered putting a litterbox in the shower? Before you try that, you may want to look into cat attract litter.
I'll talk to the vet about a second urinalysis, but since this is now the second time we've been through this, I'm not really convinced that anything will change. I know that he can test negative, and then test positive just a short while later, but he's been peeing in the shower for months now, and the urinalysis several months ago came back normal, and the one done a few days ago was normal, yet throughout that whole time his behavior stayed the same. Believe me though, I would LOVE for it to be a medical problem (as long as its curable) because then maybe I could get him using the litter box again! I'd much rather have a curable medical problem than a behavior problem!

As for putting the litter box in the shower, I've thought about that, but I don't see how it can work. Its the shower that we use, which is my biggest reason for getting annoyed by this behavior. I wouldn't mind it so much if he used our guest bathroom shower. And my husband and I can't switch showers because the majority of our litter boxes are in the guest bathroom (we have them in other rooms too, so they are spread out), and even though we clean them, I still just feel kind of gross using that bathroom to shower in. I can't switch the bathrooms around because the one we use is basically the size of the shower and toilet and no bigger. One litter box wouldn't even fit in there. The sink is in our bedroom. I suppose I could take a shower, then put the litter box in there, but putting the litter box in and out of the shower constantly might end up being more of a hassle than its worth.

I wish there was an easy fix to this.

I've tried the cat attract litter with no results. He poops in it, but still pees in the shower.

I don't know if this makes a difference, but hissy said that when they pee on hard surfaces something is wrong. He's not actually peeing on the hard surface. He's peeing right into the drain. He sits his butt right smack on the drain (its a flat drain) and pees. So I guess technically, the shower is hard, but it almost seems like he doesn't want to see or feel his urine, because he definitely seems to know that he's using a drain. About a year ago he was using the sink as his litter box - he'd pee in it, but he'd poop in the actual litter box. That habit stopped pretty quickly though, but if its not medical, it almost seems like it has something to do with how he feels when he pees. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't like the way the litter feels? But if thats the case, why does he still poop in the litter box? Plus, I've changed out the litter several times to try different types, including Cat Attract, and that didn't help.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy View Post
Please get him to another vet and have a draw done of urine directly from his bladder. He is ill- 9 times out of 10 when cats are seeking hard objects to pee on- they are quite ill. Expressing urine doesn't give accurate reads on some bacterial infections.He needs a needle draw and quickly. If your vet refuses, find one who will do it. Ideally, a feline specialist.

That statement isn't entirely true, unfortunately. We had this same problem with one of my cats, and had every test that could be done, done, and was done more than once. Everything was fine. It was all behavioral, nothing physically or medically wrong. She started peeing in the bathtub after my son was born, which was fine, it was easy to scrub clean in there. Then, when we brought home a kitten, she decided to start peeing on the floor in the kitchen as well as the tub. The only explanation that we could really come up with, was pure jealousy, as she was pretty much my cat, and my son took some of my attention away from her, then when the kitten came, he decided that I was his favorite in the house, and she didn't like that either, even though I continued to show her lots of attention and affection.
post #8 of 23
FWIW, I had one pee down the floor drain after he watched wash water from the washing machine drain down there a few times. He still pooped in the litter box, but always peed down the drain.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jersey39 View Post
That statement isn't entirely true, unfortunately. We had this same problem with one of my cats, and had every test that could be done, done, and was done more than once. Everything was fine. It was all behavioral, nothing physically or medically wrong. She started peeing in the bathtub after my son was born, which was fine, it was easy to scrub clean in there. Then, when we brought home a kitten, she decided to start peeing on the floor in the kitchen as well as the tub. The only explanation that we could really come up with, was pure jealousy, as she was pretty much my cat, and my son took some of my attention away from her, then when the kitten came, he decided that I was his favorite in the house, and she didn't like that either, even though I continued to show her lots of attention and affection.
Cats get emotionally stressed over a lot of things, particularly with the introduction of new family members, whether that be of the 2 legged or 4 legged variety. I put stress into the same category as a mental illness if that stress is extreme, so I do have to agree with Hissy that 9 out of 10 times this behavior is triggered by some type of illness.

I had a sink pee-er and had a similar reaction to yours - it could be in a lot worse places. DH and I used to "flush the sink" every time we passed by the bathroom. This went on for at least 8 years until we finally found what his physical illness was. He had an undiagnosed auto-immune disease the entire time - he was bald from the shoulders down and even with repeated skin biopsies, they could never find the cause. They chalked it up to allergies. It wasn't until his disease morphed into something that they were able to diagnose that we were able to treat him and he's stopped this peeing habit completely. No amount of blood work, bladder tests, or biopsies ever found anything until 8 years into his illness.

Another thought I had was this: do you have at least 2 litter boxes for your cat? Some cats simply refuse to pee and poop in the same box. Continue to use Cat Attract, as my cat refuses to use any litter box containing anything else.

Is there anything stressful going on in your household that would affect his emotional well being?
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jersey39 View Post
That statement isn't entirely true, unfortunately. We had this same problem with one of my cats, and had every test that could be done, done, and was done more than once. Everything was fine. It was all behavioral, nothing physically or medically wrong. She started peeing in the bathtub after my son was born, which was fine, it was easy to scrub clean in there. Then, when we brought home a kitten, she decided to start peeing on the floor in the kitchen as well as the tub. The only explanation that we could really come up with, was pure jealousy, as she was pretty much my cat, and my son took some of my attention away from her, then when the kitten came, he decided that I was his favorite in the house, and she didn't like that either, even though I continued to show her lots of attention and affection.
Cats get emotionally stressed over a lot of things, particularly with the introduction of new family members, whether that be of the 2 legged or 4 legged variety. I put stress into the same category as a mental illness if that stress is extreme, so I do have to agree with Hissy that 9 out of 10 times this behavior is triggered by some type of illness.

I had a sink pee-er and had a similar reaction to yours - it could be in a lot worse places. DH and I used to "flush the sink" every time we passed by the bathroom. This went on for at least 8 years until we finally found what his physical illness was. He had an undiagnosed auto-immune disease the entire time - he was bald from the shoulders down and even with repeated skin biopsies, they could never find the cause. They chalked it up to allergies. It wasn't until his disease morphed into something that they were able to diagnose that we were able to treat him and he's stopped this peeing habit completely. No amount of blood work, bladder tests, xrays, MRI's or biopsies ever found anything until 8 years into his illness.

Another thought I had was this: do you have at least 2 litter boxes for your cat? Some cats simply refuse to pee and poop in the same box. Continue to use Cat Attract, as my cat refuses to use any litter box containing anything else.

Is there anything stressful going on in your household that would affect his emotional well being? The obvious things that cause stress in cats are new family members (or some leaving), a change in routine within the household, change in diet, change in household, etc. Think about anything that may have changed around the time the behavior started. I've seen things as simple as changing the layout of furniture triggering a stress episode for a cat.
post #11 of 23
How about trying a litter box without cat litter in it?

I'm trying to think about what he is telling you he likes.

The drain is stainless steel right? How about a large stainless steel pan. Or if you think that is too shiny, (is the shower tile?) an enamel pan.

I would start this by keeping the pan in your bathroom. You could first try putting it down in front of the shower, not in it, but leave the door open to see what he does.

If he uses the drain again, try covering the drain with something like a paper towel. If he pees on the paper towel, put it in the stainless steel pan, so he knows what it's for, and then close the shower door, just leaving the pan with the peed paper towel.

If he uses it, perhaps you could start gradually adding litter to it. Go with a completely different type, no clay or clumping. Try the corn, or pine or swheat, yesterday's news?

By the way. A few Feliway plug in diffusers might do some good too.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooklet425 View Post
I don't know. Maybe he doesn't like the way the litter feels? But if thats the case, why does he still poop in the litter box? Plus, I've changed out the litter several times to try different types, including Cat Attract, and that didn't help.

I think this is the crux of it.

They don't squat the same way when they poop.

When he squats, perhaps he squats so low he gets debris from the box on himself. So he's found himself a nice clean place to go. The drain keeps it from getting on his feet.

And don't forget. Cats are the original copy cats. he sees you pee on the toilet and your pee disappears. Why not him?

It's why I think my idea of the metal pan with no litter in it might work., Hmm but wait he would get pee on his feet in the pan. Unless you rig it at a slight angle.

OH I know!

Put a wire cookie cooler thingie (what ARE those called?)in the pan for him to squat on. Or a gravy rack? Then he can pee, nothing will stick to him and it won't get on his feet.

You'll be giving him his own drain!
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post
How about trying a litter box without cat litter in it? I'm trying to think about what he is telling you he likes.
I did something similar with Seti. He too pees in strange places but has no medical problems. While I appreciate people on the forums emphasizing excellent health care and ruling out medical problems first (it is without a doubt the right thing to do), sometimes the answer really is pure behavior. Enter Seti.

He likes peeing on all kinds of things so I give him a dish pan (he's tiny) with a hand towel in it. This has been a hit. I change the towel daily and throw the dirty ones in the wash with bleach. It's a bit of a pain but it's SO much better than him peeing on my stove which was what he did before his pan.
post #14 of 23
I bought him a new box...the feline pine one they sell online. I only put 1/2 cup of feline pine in the top section and he goes in it all the time. It took me almost a year of vets and trying different things but he really likes this.
Prior to this...he would urinate in my tub...in any empty clothes basket or anything with a smooth bottom.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jersey39 View Post
It was all behavioral, nothing physically or medically wrong. She started peeing in the bathtub after my son was born, which was fine, it was easy to scrub clean in there.
And I thought I was the only one who had the same problem, i.e. after our daughter was born our cat, (who is now deceased), started pooping in the bathtub. He would still pee in his litter box but not poop in it. We ended up putting an inch or two of water in the tub, just enough to make him not want to jump in and it worked. I think it was an adjustment period with a new baby in the house. Fortunately he went back to pooping in the litter box.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the suggestions and stories everyone! Otto, I LOVE the idea of the metal pan with the cookie cooling rack. I'm definitely going to go out and buy something metal and a cooling rack. The idea seems brilliant, so let's hope that it actually works! I can't really fit a litter box in the bathroom forever (the bathroom has the shower and toilet and no room for anything else), but I'm going to try to squeeze it in there for a few days at least, and if it works, slowly move it out of there to a better location. If I put it right in front of the shower I'm hoping that he'll choose it, instead of walking over it into the shower. I'll be so happy if that works so wish me luck!

I'm also a person who is always quick to jump to the "get a vet checkup first to rule anything out", so this is driving me crazy that its not a medical problem. I ultimately don't want my cats to be sick, but if it was something fixable, this would be so much easier to deal with!

I'm happy to know though, that I'm not the only one with a cat who likes to use the shower/bathtub as a litter box. If anyone else has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! In the mean time let's hope this metal pan with his own personal drain works!
post #17 of 23
Thanks for the clarification about what tests were run. Normally, the vet will just express the urine- so it is good that your and your vet are diligent. Again, this could be a health issue. I am just speaking from experience (30 plus years living with strays) My past shower pee'ers turned out to have illnesses- one had cancer, the other like momofmany an auto immune disease and the third had string tangled in her innards- that was expensive. I still don't know where she got the string from- as I keep all of that from my cats.

So I was just cautioning you that it could he health-related and not show up for some time because your cat unfortunately can't talk-

Good luck
post #18 of 23
I have a tiny bathroom, so I'm pretty sure I know how yours is set up. There really is NO room for a litterbox in our bathroom, either. I think that if you use the suggestion by Neely -- place a few inches of water in the bottom of the tub -- plus use the drained litter pan idea, it will help your kitty figure it out. He will not want to use the tub if it already has water in it, but HEY! there's an alternative right there. How about that? SO I think he'll use the next best thing since it's right there.

Also, you can get folding, coated stacking wire racks at most Wal-marts. They are coated with a black coating that keeps them from rusting, and they come in 3 packs so you would have replacements while you're soaking/washing one or in case one wears out. I really hope this turns out to be a perfect solution for you. Good luck!
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy View Post
Thanks for the clarification about what tests were run. Normally, the vet will just express the urine- so it is good that your and your vet are diligent. Again, this could be a health issue. I am just speaking from experience (30 plus years living with strays) My past shower pee'ers turned out to have illnesses- one had cancer, the other like momofmany an auto immune disease and the third had string tangled in her innards- that was expensive. I still don't know where she got the string from- as I keep all of that from my cats.

So I was just cautioning you that it could he health-related and not show up for some time because your cat unfortunately can't talk-

Good luck
No problem and I appreciate the cautioning. I haven't had cats nearly as long as you have, but every single one of mine have been strays/ferals, so unfortunately, in just a little over 5 years, I've dealt with way too many medical problems for my liking. The only good that has come out of that is the fact that I am super paranoid and rush my cats to the vet at any sign of something being wrong. Plus, I've learned a lot and done lots of research on all things medical that can go wrong with cats. I'm not a vet, and I don't have as many years of experience as a lot of you do, but I do think I'm as educated as I can be right now about a lot of things, though every day I learn something new. My husband is in the Navy so we move every few years, and so far I've been very lucky to find amazing vets everywhere we've lived. The clinic I go to now has been in practice for over 30 years (one vet owns the clinic and has owned it for 30 years, and 2 younger, but wonderful vets work under him). It was this group of vets that saved one of my cat's lives back in November, and they went above and beyond what I ever would have expected of them to do that, so I do trust them, though I know they can still be wrong about things. I know that not everyone is as paranoid as me though, so I know there are lots of people who wouldn't think to have tests redone, or get second opinions, etc. So I really do appreciate the advice! For the moment though, I'm going to assume this is behavioral, simply because nothing medical has shown up. However, I'm definitely hyper aware that something might potentially be medically wrong with him, so I'll be paying extra attention to him. I'm hoping that Otto's idea will be the solution I need, but if its not, we'll probably head back to the vet just to check him out once more.
post #20 of 23

This is what worked for my cat:

 

My cat had a behavioral issue. Recently it had moved from my sister's house where it had lived for a long time to my mom's and then to mine due to life changes causing home moves that did not allow pets. The cat did not pee in the shower at my sister's, but started when it moved to my mom's and continued when it moved in with me. Behavior started about 6 months ago. The cat is 18 years old - so naturally thought it could be a medical issue, however after visiting the vet, Kitty got a clean bill of health. Kitty would poop in the box, but not pee. Occasionally she would pee in there or pee over the side of the box, but for the most part, preferred the shower. 

 

1. Swapped her kitty litter to Cat Attract. We had been using Tidy Cats which has a really strong smell. Cat attract I can't smell at all. 

2. Started cleaning kitty box 2x a day - morning and night now. She does go a lot because she is old and has elevated kidney levels, although doc said she's fine and doesn't need to be treated.

3. Removed the cover off the box. This was recommended on a few sites.

4. Stated feeding her canned food 2x a day to help keep things moving, minimize grains that are in hard food.

5. Each time kitty went to the shower to do her thing (usually after eating), I picked her up and put her back in her box. She always jumped out immediately but hoped re-introducing her box to her when she needed to eliminate would help.

6. I did re-position her bottom a couple times in an attempt to get her to pee in the box instead of over the side. She seemed ok with this and finished her business in the box. 

7. Most importantly, each time she did anything in the box, I gave her a treat. This clearly worked because shortly she started giving me the expectant eye soon enough whenever she went anywhere near her box!  I also sprinkled some cat nip on her scratch pad several times which she also loves. This is her routine:  eat, eliminate, scratch pad. So she got 2 treats after eliminating.

 

After about a week of this she stopped peeing in the shower with the exception of 1x when I got home really late from work and she had been home alone all day. A little retribution was fair. We've been in good shape for several weeks now. I also make sure to give her a lot of attention so we don't get too many repeats. 

 

Originally I did put water in one of the tub's that she pees in - in an attempt to get her to stop going in there - and we did have some accidents elsewhere in the house which was worse (cleaning out of carpeting), so I wouldn't recommend this tactic. Many sites recommended not cleaning with bleach because cats are attracted to that smell. I used vinegar to clean around her box when she peed over it; in the shower I would just rinse it down the drain.

 

I hope some of this helps!

post #21 of 23

Hi @Little G and welcome to TCS! :wavey:

It's great that you wrote such a comprehensive post... keep in mind, though, that this thread is over four years old, so you're probably not reaching those who were asking the question.

 

Would you like to come and introduce yourself here? http://www.thecatsite.com/f/20/new-cats-on-the-block

We'd love to meet you. :)

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooklet425 View Post
I don't know. Maybe he doesn't like the way the litter feels? But if thats the case, why does he still poop in the litter box? Plus, I've changed out the litter several times to try different types, including Cat Attract, and that didn't help.

I think this is the crux of it.

They don't squat the same way when they poop.

When he squats, perhaps he squats so low he gets debris from the box on himself. So he's found himself a nice clean place to go. The drain keeps it from getting on his feet.

And don't forget. Cats are the original copy cats. he sees you pee on the toilet and your pee disappears. Why not him?

It's why I think my idea of the metal pan with no litter in it might work., Hmm but wait he would get pee on his feet in the pan. Unless you rig it at a slight angle.

OH I know!

Put a wire cookie cooler thingie (what ARE those called?)in the pan for him to squat on. Or a gravy rack? Then he can pee, nothing will stick to him and it won't get on his feet.

You'll be giving him his own drain!

 

Awesome idea! I was also thinking something along those lines:

 

Why don't you put an empty litter pan beside the drain, with a puppy training pad (the type you lay on the floor for puppies) inside the litter pan. That way the litter pan is lined with something absorbent, and it's flat so nothing will touch him as he's peeing. Just change out the training pad every day. After a few days, move the litter pan outside of the shower itself, but still in the bathroom. Maybe eventually you can move it outside of the bathroom. Might take a few days/weeks, but if it works it might be worth it!

 

Hopefully you find something that works! Best of luck :)

post #23 of 23

Okay, I'm totally confused.  We recently bought a Ragdoll kitten -he is 12 weeks old.  We keep him out of our bedroom at night, but when I get up in the morning for work, I let him in to our ensuite bathroom while I'm getting ready for work.  He has decided he likes our shower to pee in, but it just happens first thing in the morning.  The rest of the day, he uses his kitty litter.  Behavioral or illness?  Any suggestions?  I generally remove him from the shower before he does it and puts him in his litter but he just jumps out again and follows me back to the bathroom!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Behavior › Healthy Cat using the shower as a litter box