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My cats are pooping outside the litter box!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I am new here, someone recommended I try posting here for ideas.

We have 3 cats who we have had for about 3 years. We adopted the first one from an animal shelter and the other two showed up at our house and we couldn't turn them away (this is important later)

The oldest kitty uses the litterbox no matter what. She has never once relieved herself outside of the box. The other two kitties used the litter box fine for about 2.5 years, but recently have taken to pooping in our dining room. Exclusively. We have 2 litter boxes, changed every other day at least with entirely new litter and liners, not just scooping. They go #1 in the litter boxes. Our carpet was ruined by this new habit. We replaced the carpet with hardwood and before it was installed, my husband used one of those industrial strength cleaners that is supposed to get all of the pet smell out of concrete. A week after the hardwood was installed, the two younger cats were pooping in the exact same spot.

This is incredibly frustrating. I have tried so many things to make them stop including the "cat away" spray that smells like rotting meat, lemon scents, tin foil in the area (they poop right at the edge), yelling at them when caught in the act, putting the litterbox in that corner (they poop right outside it). Nothing has worked. We even took them to the vet, thinking it might be an illness, but he says they are 100% healthy. We can't block off the dining room because our house has a very open floor plan. Also, if we lock them in a room with the litter box, they will use it. They ONLY go in the dining room, not other rooms.

Here's the most pressing problem: my husband is starting to get really frustrated that none of our efforts are working. Literally there are 2-3 poops a day to clean up minimum. He's resentful of the 2 cats who are doing this and feels like since they were stray anyway when we took them in that we have given it our best shot and that it's not working out, at least they are better off than they were, etc. I am 8 months pregnant and he has set an ultimatum that if this hasn't stopped by the time the baby is crawling, he wants to try and find them different homes and if we can't, then take them to the local no-kill shelter.

I just don't understand why they are doing this!!! Why does nothing work? If anyone has any suggestions I will take them, these cats are like my babies!

eta: I did look at the other threads and didn't see anything we haven't tried yet...
post #2 of 3
First off, get a couple more litter pans. Get rid of the liners (most cats hate them) Instead, take PAM cooking spray and every time you clean your pans out and replace all the litter, spray the inside bottom tray with PAM let it air dry then pour the litter in. You really need 2 pans per cat. In the wild, a cat will pee in one place and then walk over and poop somewhere else.

Remember that a cat's nose is very sensitive. They can smell urine even if we can't. Make sure your boxes are clean and scooped. I use a big flat plastic box that sweaters go in and then slide under the bed. I also have regular sized litter pans.

Stop screaming at the cats especially when they are doing their business. You can cause them to become ill by stressing them out like that. They could be responding to your pregnancy, your smell is subtly changing and I am sure there is high excitement in your home with the impending arrival of a new baby.

Also please see our Behavior Forum at the top is a stuck thread that says Have a Behavior Problem look here first- we have one of inappropriate pooping-

Good luck-
post #3 of 3
Kristeen...first of all..welcome to TCS!! I agree with Hissy..sounds like you need more litter boxes. You may also want to try a couple without litter in them...do you have a reminent of the carpet you had in the living room?? If so..place a piece in the litterbox...since they seem to enjoy the wood flooring..perhaps you should have a couple of "empty" litterboxes...place them in the exact area where the cats have been pooping to see if they will use the boxes..you can slowly move the litterboxes to more appropriate rooms over time. I'm glad you want to do all you can for your cats and are committed to working to try to find a solution.

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