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Fecal Felix

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am having an issue with my cat and would appreciate some advice.

Here are a lot of facts. Our 7 year old, mixed breed cat started defecating throughout the house but will not do so in his litter box. He seems to urinate *only* in his litter box. This started 5 weeks or so ago. He has had hair ball issues previously, but it does not seem associated with this issue (I asked the vet). We had 2 cats until 3 weeks ago. The second, younger cat died for no apparent reason (the vet did a thorough job of investigating), but the older cat's misbehavior had been occurring prior to the younger cat's death. I change the litter every 4 or 5 days which might not have been enough when we had 2 cats. We have not changed the box itself for a couple of years. However, I wash it with detergent when cleaning it. The detergent itself may be a factor. The age of the box itself may be a factor in that my definition of clean may not be clean enough even with washing. We have a new born (7 months old) which may be a jealousy factor, but I have been lavishing the cat with attention in case that was the issue; seemingly to no avail. Also, he seems to love the baby and plays with her. One other potential factor is that we have excluded him from our bedroom which was previously part of his domain (in fact that is where he slept most nights). That room is upstairs while all misbehavior has occurred down stairs with one exception. All misbehavior previously has occurred in early AM (4-6AM). I caught him in the act for the first time this evening at 9pm. I frequently fall asleep downstairs and only go upstairs before his misbehavior.
Any help, advice, etc. which you can offer would be very very much appreciated.
Kindest regards,
post #2 of 10
I would try adding a second litterbox. Some cats don't like to use the same box for both types of waste.
post #3 of 10
Here are some things to try for cats who poop outside of the litter box (gathered from previous posts by TCS members and experts).

Pooping outside the box is often a sign that the cat is sick. So, a vet visit will be a good idea. If the vet rules out medical problems, try some of these solutions:

If they poop in the shower or bathtub, statistics have shown this is health related- a vet visit is warranted and quickly.

Pooping outside the box will often happen when the cat has had painful bowel movements. The cat associates the pain with the litter box and becomes afraid to use the litter box to poop in. If you notice that the feces are hard and dry, try adding a little Libby’s raw pumpkin to her diet or give a little hairball medicine on a daily basis until the stool becomes a little softer.

There are many cats who refuse to pee and poop in the same box. Simply adding a second box often solves this problem. (scoop both boxes daily)

Also, many cats will do this if they don't think the box is clean enough. Just imagine yourself sitting and concentrating on a toilet full of excrement....not a pleasant thought! So, make sure you keep the litter box very clean (scoop daily).

For cats who poop just outside the box: This is often due to the box being too small for the cat so the cat stands in the box, but her bottom hangs outside while pooping. Switching to an extra large box (such as a rubbermaid underbed storage container) will solve this problem.

Also...she may be telling you that she just isn't comfortable with where you have the boxes right now. It is possible that if you put a second box in a completely different room, she may start using it instead of pooping where she is pooping. If the boxes are in a place where she feels vulnerable
while she is having to sit and concentrate she won't use the box there. A quick pee in a scary spot isn't as uncomfortable as taking a poop, which takes longer and makes the cat feel more vulnerable. For some cats, they prefer their boxes to be out in the open so they can see the comings and goings of others...this way they can easily escape if they feel it is necessary. Other cats prefer hidden boxes where no one can see them while they are doing their thing. If the litter boxes are in a closet...this may be her way of telling you that at least one of them needs to be in a more open place. If this is the case, you can put it in a corner of a room and then surround the box with pretty house plants so that it isn't noticeable. Or vice versa; if the boxes are in an open spot, you might need to move one to a more hidden area.

if a cat is pooping on a familiar object it is probably stress related. You then have to find out where that stress is and eliminate it.

What are you feeding your cat? If it is cheap not very nutritious the fumes could be noxious to your cat and make him go elsewhere.

Using litter box liners? Throw them out, they annoy most cats as they make noise and get caught in their claws.

The pan must be far enough away from the cat's food and water

If using clumping litter, check between the pads of the feet for small balls of litter. If a cat steps in pee, then covers it, these balls sometimes accumulate causing problems for the cat.

Is your cat happy with the litter? One way to tell is watch as she digs in it, the more she digs and the more the litter flies, the happier the cat is.

Last but not least, try putting a box where she is defecating, and if she starts using it regularly then you can work on moving it to your desired location. Move it tiny bits at a time, like 1-2 inches per day, so she doesn't really notice that it's moving. Little by little you'll get it to the place you like.

Good luck!
post #4 of 10
Hi everyone, I'm new to this site, but I have a similar problem with my 5 yr old male cat. About 6 months ago he started pooping outside his litter box. The odd thing is, whenever this happens, he always throws up too. I usually come home or wake up to both piles of vomit & poop throughout the apt., but only in the carpeted rooms. I took him to our regular vet, who gave him some type of upset stomach pills, & said he was fine. When this problem continued, I went to another vet who seemed more concerned. She ran x-rays, and bloodwork, all came back normal and had me switch to a low-reside food. He is a long haired cat, so I give him hairball ointmant, & even get his rearend shaved so nothing sticks to him back there. The problem still continues. I would think this is just a behavioral problem, but nothing major has changed during this time, & he ALWAYS vomits whenever he poops outside the box. Please help!
post #5 of 10
I would take him to a feline specialist. He sounds like he needs a full work-up by someone in the know
post #6 of 10
Thanks for the advice Hissy, but after checking, I found that there aren't any feline specialists in my area. Has anyone else had a similar problem? As I metioned, everytime he goes on the carpet, he also vomits. Besides this, his behavior and appetite are normal.
post #7 of 10
I did a quick search on Yahoo! and found this:

"Vomiting - After Visiting the Litter Box

If your cat throws up after pooping or trying to poop, there is a good chance your cat is constipated. It may not take much constipation to cause vomiting. In older cats, the muscles needed to poop may be weak which causes the cat to strain harder than a younger cat. The firmness of the stool should be ''adjusted'' to whatever makes your cat comfortable ... observation will help you be the judge. See Constipation."

It was from a site about assisted feeding, but comment may make sense. It might be worth looking into.
post #8 of 10
I have a couple thoughts in reply...Our Hobbes had similiar issues.

Cats are very finicky about their litterbox details: hooded, not hooded, lined, not lined, one or two, etc. Hobbes evidentally hated hooded litter boxes, and wanted one to pee in and one to poop in, so we now have two. I would suggest buying a second one and putting it next to the one you already have.

Could I ask a few questions? What is the status of each of these things:

Do you use litterbox plastic lining?
What kind of litter do you use?
Is it a covered litterbox?
Have you tried using two?
Do you use litter deoderizer (the powder you sprinkle over the litter)?
Have you recently changed the brand/type of litter you normally use?
Is the box in a place that's out where there's lots of human traffic, or is it in a quiet, solitary, calm place?
Is the litter box near his food? (Some cats have a serious problem going near their food...hence the phrase "don't sh^% where you eat".

The way he's acting (doing it only when you're not around) indicates that he knows what he's doing is wrong. If he's not having a problem being around the new addition to the family, I'm sure it's not a territorial thing, especially if he doesn't have a problem peeing in the box (if he had this problem, pee would be the one thing he did outside the box). I would suggest getting a second box, for one thing. Otherwise, if you could answer the above questions for me, I could answer more definitely what the problem might be.

Another idea, read these articles...they might help.


Hope that helps!!

P.S. Another quick thought...putting a new (and additional) litterbox where he's decided he likes pooping. Maybe he's decided he prefers that spot over where you currently have the litterbox he's deemed the "peeing" litterbox.
post #9 of 10
Thanks for all the advice and suggestions. I started giving him more cat-lax, and then he went diareha on the floor, so I cut back a little & he was fine
(going both ways in his litter box), for about about 2 weeks. Then on Fri. my husband came home to both vomit and poop on the carpet again. Just when I thought I finally solved the problem. Here are the answers to the questions from the last post:

Do you use litterbox plastic lining?yes
What kind of litter do you use?Tidy Cat clumping litter
Is it a covered litterbox?yes
Have you tried using two?no (I live in a very small apt.)
Do you use litter deoderizer (the powder you sprinkle over the litter)?yes (arm & hammer)
Have you recently changed the brand/type of litter you normally use?
Is the box in a place that's out where there's lots of human traffic, or is it in a quiet, solitary, calm place?it is right outside our bathroom door, not too much traffic(just me & my husband at home)
Is the litter box near his food? (Some cats have a serious problem going near their food...hence the phrase "don't sh^% where you eat".

Thanks again everyone for your advice!
post #10 of 10
The best thing I can suggest is to try varying some things a little. He might not like the plastic liners (the way they sound). If you can find space for a second litterbox (even if it's a small one), he might prefer having one for each (#1 and #2). It might be a good idea to find a place that's more private for him to go to the bathroom (he might not feel he's got the privacy he needs to go #2...they won't go in their litterboxes if they feel they'll be interrupted). You also might try taking the cover off for a week and see if that makes a difference.

So, some things I suggest trying, in this order, one at a time:

1. Try moving it somewhere more private and in a place that's not really frequented.

2. Try taking the cover off for a week

3. Try not using the liners

All else fails, try getting a second litterbox.

Let me know how it turns out!
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