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unacceptable litter box behavior

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
In the past couple of weeks my constant companion of 13 years, Missy, has developed a problem that is unacceptable. Nothing in our household has changed. We have been and remain one human, one precious cat nor have we been visited by any other pets. Two weeks ago Missy started defecating on the carpet in the dining area at night. She didn't generally do it in the daytime but always at night except for one daytime incident. Her litterbox is in the laundry room as it has always been and it is clean. I use the same litter that she has always used. In an attempt to deter this new unacceptable behavior I sponged the carpet around the perimeter of the dining area with white vinegar and water. That didn't stop her. I then began providing an additional litter box in that area that I placed there when I retired for the night. All was fine, she didn't defecate on the carpet but used both the new litter box in the dining area and the regular one in the laundry area each night. I gradually moved the new litter box toward the laundry room door over the period of the week. Then last night I did not put the second litter box out and sure enough, she again defecated on the carpet. I'm at my wits end as to what to do to stop this behavior. As she did this once in the daytime when I was watching I know that she is assuming the regular position for bowel movement. She just did it deliberately. When I loudly said NO to her she ran into my bedroom and finished on the carpet in there. Has anyone else been through this type of thing? What did you do? What is the cause of this? HELP!
post #2 of 16
This thread appears to have gotten lost for a day!

With no environmental changes and with the older age of Missy (13 years old), I would suspect that there is something physically wrong with her. Cats hide their illnesses well and they usually show up with sudden behavioral changes. Have you started annual geriatric profiles on Missy yet (they set baselines that you can use to recognize a sudden change in condition)? I would recommend getting her to a vet and see if there is something amiss.

Good luck and keep us posted!
post #3 of 16
I also just see this thread

I 2nd that on going to the vet with Missy , she may have some kind of infection . Cats usualy do that when they have pain releasing what needs to come out natauraly . So they just go a lot of time elswhere thinking there is no pain . So please go to the vet with her ASAP .
post #4 of 16
I would have to agree that a vet visit is definitely in order. The other day one of my cats went pee in the toy box. I took her to the vet to find out she has a UTI Sometimes, it is the only way an animal can communicate with their human by acting out or off.
post #5 of 16
Definitely, she needs to be evaluated for health problems. But I'd also like you to consider that at 13, the laundry room might simply be too far away for her to travel. If keeping a 2nd litter box is all that is needed to remedy the problem, then why fight it? Sure, you may not wish the 2nd box to be in the middle of your dining room floor, but some where in that room is perfectly acceptable. I have boxes in EVERY room of my home so the kitties do not need to travel far to find relief.
post #6 of 16
The other thing I have found is that once they have used a different spot (a chair, corner of the room etc.) for whatever reason, they will go back. I had to get an enzyme cleaner and soak the spots several times before Sam went back to proper habits.

(he was telling me that I had not cleaned out the litter box)
post #7 of 16
Please click here to read a thread about stopping this kind of behavior.

You will see in the thread that the first thing you need to do is to take your cat to the vet because these problems are most often due to illness. If he is healthy, then you can follow the solutions int he thread.

Good luck!
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your responses. I have made an appointment with the vet for tomorrow. I might add that for her entire life Missy's stools have been quite hard and dry. She has also had several episodes in which an anal gland became infected and ruptured so I'm in the habit of observing her quite closely. This behavior is not the same as it is when she has an anal gland problem so I'm completely stymied. When she last had an anal gland rupture she started turning up her nose at any and all canned food so for the past several months her diet has consisted of Science Diet dry, both hairball formula and Science Diet WD formula which I purchase from the vet. Did I mention that she WILL use the litter box? both of them? However, on Saturday last she didn't urinate or defecate at all. I have never used clumping litter but yesterday I decided to test one recommendation and switched one litter box to clumping type as it's softer. She seems to have decided that box is for urination only and the other one is for defecation. Puzzling! I so hope that the vet gives her a clean bill of health and this is a behavorial problem. Then of course, I'll have to find out what is disturbing her. Oh my!
post #9 of 16
I'm glad you are taking Missy to the vet. Sometimes a cat who is having painful bowel movements will become afraid of the litter box because they equate the box with pain. Solving the problem with the hard dry stool will help a whole lot as will adding a brand new box that does not have the association with pain.

Try giving Missy some canned (or fresh) pumpkin each day to add fiber to her diet.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you again. Missy and I have quite a history with things that are supposed to help her problems. LOL I've tried pumpkin several times before as the vet suggested it. He said that the majority of cats like pumpkin. Not Missy, she refuses it. The last two days I've given her a teaspoon Laxatone which she seemed pleased with. Today, she's suspicious and won't touch it. Can you tell who rules this household?
post #11 of 16
I have a cat who also needs the pumpkin or laxatone, but who refuses both. The problem was solved when I started feeding her Science Diet Hairball Remedy. It took about a week of eating this food before it took effect, but since then there have been no more dry stools!
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Oh my how I wish that would work that way for Missy. She's been fed Science Diet hairball formula for the past three years. It hasn't changed her stools at all. That's why the vet recommended Science Diet WD formula also but that's had no effect either. I worry that she may not be drinking enough water but there's no way to force her to drink as you know. When she was eating a tiny amount of canned food in addition to the Science Diet dry I felt that at least she was getting some moisture from that but now she won't touch the canned food. She's certainly my problem child.
post #13 of 16
One of my cats hardly drank any water until I got a Drinkwell fountain. She now drinks plenty! Apparently cats prefer running water. Perhaps that would work for you as well.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have noticed that Missy prefers running water. I have a three foot tall decorative floor fountain in my living room/dining room and she drinks from that frequently. I'll certainly try that......getting her her own fountain.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
An update on Missy since her visit to the vet yesterday. Her vet found no physical problems. He wondered if something might be going on outside of that area of the house at night that might be upsetting Missy, such as another cat. We decided to try a Feliway electric diffuser which works like a Glade Plug-in. It diffuses a synthetic feline facial pheremone and is supposed to make cats feel relaxed, happy and safe. Last night was the first night with the diffuser and although for two nights prior to her visit with the vet she hadn't defecated outside of a litter box, last night she did. She did it right in front of the diffuser. When I opened the blinds in that room this morning I noticed that a neighborhood cat that had been visiting the area for the past couple of months was wandering around across the street. When Missy has been outside on the lanai and that cat appears in Missys yard, all hell breaks loose even though Missy is an indoor cat and has never been out in the yard. She doesn't even want to SEE another feline. I suppose it's possible that the other cat may have jumped up onto the outside window sill occasionally so now I'm going to look for an outside cat repellant.
post #16 of 16
Thanks for the update! It's always so nice to hear when someone's working to resolve the problem, however difficult it is. Glad you got a few ideas, hope the cat repellent works.
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