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Poop outside the box

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Neither of my cats have had litter box problems before. I use two large covered boxes in a bathroom which has doors at both ends for escape, and the doors typically open only about six inches for privacy. I clean the boxes thoroughly every time they've been used. Really thoroughly, every little 1/8 inch piece of clumping litter I find. Red Cat demands this, and if the litter isn't clean enough for him, he whines until I clean the box better or dump the litter, wash the box, and give him fresh. I replace the clumping litter every two weeks (or weekly when Red Cat insists). I've been using the same type of litter and boxes in the same location for the three or so years Purdy has been here.

In the past, maybe two or three times a year I'd find a small piece of feces on the floor of that bathroom, on the carpet of an adjoining room or caught in Purdy's hair. I assumed that those elsewhere had been caught in his hair also, but had fallen off. But for the past several weeks, I've been finding a piece of soft feces on the floor in an adjoining room two or three times a week, not in the same spot, either. It is always just a single piece. (Well, once it was either a big piece or a couple of pieces, but that time I had to chase Purdy up and downstairs four times before I could catch him to take him to the vet. And I don't even know where it was I stepped in it twice, but there was a lot of it on my shoes! But since he was being "pursued," I can understand him doing a necessary duty wherever that time.)

So my questions are these: 1. Does a cat ever do a "partial duty" outside the box deliberately? I've always assumed in reading about these problems, that the cat was not using the box for said duty at all. 2. If this is an accident, with the feces clinging to Purdy's hair, what might account for the great increase in accidents lately? Could the fact that he has gained weight and is now a rolly poly 14 pounds make any difference?
post #2 of 17
Please see the following link and then click on the appropriate one-

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes, I read all that before posting, but it doesn't answer my questions.
post #4 of 17
Your first step is to be sure that there is not a health issue going on. The fact that your cat is obese though, could answer the question because he can't reach back there to clean himself. I would look into the food program you are giving him, add fiber to his diet and put him on a exercise routine to help him cut down the weight. It sounds too like he might need to be clipped back there to stop the feces from clinging to him. If you don't have a Drinkwell fountain for your cats you might invest in one for it sounds like he could benefit from more water in his diet.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Okay, I'm trying to understand this. What is it about the situation that makes you think they aren't getting enough water or enough fiber? The stool I've found most times has been quite soft, soft enough that when I gently pick it up in a piece of toilet tissue, it squishes a bit. And I suspect that the times it has been harder, it is entirely possible that I just didn't find it the first day. It is a big house, and with this 1970s-style harvest gold carpet, a small piece of kitty poo in an odd corner isn't that noticeable.

Purdy drinks plenty of water; I'm sure of that. He drinks it from the water bowl on Red Cat's tray. I've given up putting a bowl on his own tray, because he won't use it there. (Crazy cats!) And Red Cat refuses to drink out of a bowl that Purdy has been drinking out of, so he goes upstairs and drinks out of a bowl I put in the bathtub. He does this every time after he eats, as well as extra times after he's been napping. On those rare occasions that I've forgotten to put a water bowl back in the tub after my shower, he has a BIG VOICE and doesn't hesitate to tell me about it. So I doubt that water is an issue for him, either.

About 50-75% of their diet is Purina's Overweight Management diet, which I think is high fiber. They don't like it, though, so to keep the complaints about a monotonous diet down within a range I can tolerate, the remaining 25-50% is a mixture of Purina Pro Plan Hairball Management and a tartar control diet I also got at the vet's.

Purdy just had his annual physical yesterday. But, like a fool, I forgot to ask about this. But I still don't know for certain which one of them is doing it. That's why I asked if cats ever do a "partial duty" outside the box deliberately. Because if the answer to that is yes, then it could be Red Cat, who is currently on medication for anxiety. He is a short hair, so I don't think it is likely to be an accident with him. Red Cat has had all kinds of tests, including a full body x-ray just last week, so I don't think it is a physical problem with him. But it could be a psychological problem. Both cats are middle-aged (about 7-9 years).
post #6 of 17
from what Ive learned big cats tend to dislike , the covered litter boxes , we were having an issue where our kits were throwing litter and poop out side the box when they were covering their duty , my husband took a tote (the kind you may use as a toy box made by rubbermaid , he took off the lid and cut an opening (making sure there are not jagged edges ) , its been great they are happy to not be in a covered box and Im happy to have a high sided litter box so I dont have surprises on my floor

Good luck!
post #7 of 17
I will occasionally find a stray dingle-berry on the floor. These dingle-berries usually are the result of them getting stuck on the long-haired cat's fur. Whenever I find a dingle-berry, I know that it is time to trim the fur on their back ends. I trim not only around their bottom, but also the long hair at the top of the back of their legs, because it sometimes gets stuck there. Since you are feeding the high-fiber food, it is possible that the feces are sticky enough to stick to the fur rather than dropping to the box. So try doing a little trim and see whether that helps.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Okay, trim job coming up. I've never trimmed him. The recent increase in the problem could be that not only is the hair getting longer, but now that he is so fat, he may be a bit clumsy in the box, too. Those are pretty big boxes and I really don't have room for anything bigger. Now that I think about it, the increase in the problem may well correspond to when I started the higher fiber diet. Glad to hear it is not likely a deliberate thing, as Red Cat has so many pschological problems now it is scary.

I doubt that the type of box would be a factor, as I've used the same boxes for three or four years.
post #9 of 17
Originally posted by twofatcats
I doubt that the type of box would be a factor, as I've used the same boxes for three or four years.
You would think so, but cats are pretty wacky sometimes. We often see that cats with potty problems change their litter box preferences out of the blue. Even though they have always been content with the litter, box, and placement of the box, they suddenly decide a change is needed! So, if the trim doesn't work, a change in kitty litter or just buying a new box (even if it is the same size) might be the thing to try.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Sounds good. Guess I change my habits or preferences at times, too.

Thanks, everyone, for your assistance and insights.
post #11 of 17
a friend of mine was telling me recently that her 8 month old cat rarely finishes getting all the poop out. And then has this habit of figuring it out after she's done, panicing and then rubbing her butt on the carpet. Her theory is her cat is so hyper that she just gets bored in the box and moves on and then doesn't like the outcome but too young to figure out what she wants to do!

Cats are so funny that way. Mine has weird litter behavior but more about how he covers it up. And he won't use a covered box.
post #12 of 17

It sounds to me as if your friend's cat is a bit constipated or that the cat has little hard poops. These hard poops often get stuck part way out. Please tell your friend to start giving the cat a little hairball gell nightly or to start putting some Libby's canned pumpkin in his food, or to start feeding him cat grass. Increasing fiber in his diet should solve this very uncomfortable problem.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, Purdy is getting his trim today. Timing worked out well. He had an appointment to go to the vet for his dental cleaning today anyway, so while he is under anesthetic, they are going to trim him, too. Will be a lot less hassle that way.
post #14 of 17
I hope trimming solves the problem.
post #15 of 17
Marge, also as a precaution have her run a fecal sample to the vet. The problem could also be worms. But indeed adding fiber will help. Canned pumpkin, cooked and mashed green beans, even organic catnip will help the elimination problem.
post #16 of 17
This happens to my cats sometimes too. I'm pretty sure they get stuck to the kitties' feet while they're covering it up and then get dropped or thrown somewhere else. Does anyone else have this theory?
post #17 of 17
That certainly sounds possible.
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