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I'm at a loss - any ideas?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Shep, my old girl (14-17 years old) has started sleeping in the litter box of late (in the last 2 weeks). She has a skin rash (vet thinks allergies) that I've been treating for close to 2 months now and the treatment has helped it a lot but not completely cleared. Had her in last Saturday for a complete blood and urine work up and it checked out fine. She has neither gained or lost weight in the last year. She is parasite free. Her oral stomatitus problem is as good as it's been in the last year. Health wise she is doing good for her age.

There have been no environmental changes that she would be aware of in the last 2 months. The fosters came in 5 weeks ago but are in a quarantine room on the other end of the house that she hangs in. I don't believe she even knows that are in the house. The other cats haven't changed their behavior to her - she has never liked other cats, they don't like her, and she keeps her distance from them and they from her (she has been the house pariah for 11 years). I've got feliway plug ins in the 2 rooms that she hangs out in.

I'm truly at a loss on why she has started this all of a sudden. This type of behavior change usually involved health problems or environmental stresses. The skin allergy, which is clearing up, is her only health problem, but she's had that for a while.

Any ideas out there?!?!?!?
post #2 of 6
Perhaps in her advancing age she finds the chaos of a multi-cat household a little to much for her. I would if she were mine and I knew she wasn't ill, I would buy a covered litter pan, stick a pet pillow inside of it, tuck it into an out of the way room that was fairly dark and quiet, and give the old girl the peace and quiet she needs. I would also keep a close eye on her, because she could be ill and feel off, and the results may not show for awhile, so just to be safe, I would watch her as closely as possible.

Sometimes they seek out the litterpans because when they lay in them the sides touch their body and they find that comforting (this is just my opinion of it) So I would try a covered litter pan, and if she shuns that, hey, you just have a new litter pan for your bunch! Then maybe I would invest in a kitty kave, or a heated cat bed for her, especially with winter approaching. Cat-Tail.com has wonderful heated cat beds. Also did the vet check her eyesight? It could be failing on her.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
The vet did not check her eyesight (good thought). And good thought on the "I'm getting too old for this" theory. She spent the prime of her life mostly outside and has confined herself indoors for the last year (her choice). It has been hard on her since she doesn't get along with other cats but still likes to snuggle with us.

I had rigged up a laundry basket with pillows/blankets that she sleeps in when she's not in the litter box - close sides but not covered. Her need to be surrounded closely is right on - I have seen that in other cats before, just didn't give her a roof this time. I'll pick her up a cave-type item tomorrow. She already hangs out in the least used room in the house and I do close it off from the other cats for a while each day for loving and feeding. She has her own food and water bowls that no one else uses.

She goes to the vet on a regular basis for her stomatitus, and my vet and I already talked about doing a blood/urine screening with each visit (due to her age and the fact that cortisone raises glucose levels). I'll get her eyes checked the next visit.

Thanks Hissy!!
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
I bought Shep her own new covered litter box with a few Purrpads to sleep on and she loves it. She remains in the quiet room of the house. I also had her back at the vet last week for another cortisone shot and we started her on antibiotics for her skin problems. Her eyes are fine for her age. The cortisone has increased her appetite (always a worry with old cats) and she is eating like a little piglet. I also changed the wet food that I was feeding her, which I suspected was contributing to her skin problems. Whatever the combination was (stress, food reactions, antibiotics, etc), her skin is finally clearing up nicely.
post #5 of 6
How nice you found a cozy place for Shep!

post #6 of 6
I am glad to hear she is doing well. My guess is all these vet visits really stress her out and she just needs the down time. You can take the most laid-back cat to the vet and the minute that front door opens and all those stress pheremones hit their face, they start reacting to it. She most likely just needs a place to be quiet and regroup. Good luck!
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