or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Cat suddenly not using box
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Cat suddenly not using box

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. This site seems to be home to a lot of helpful and knowledgable people, so I thought someone might be able to give me some helpful suggestions to help deal with a problem my cat Rafael is having.

First, to give some background, Rafael is a 14 year old male, neutered and declawed, living entirely indoors. We (myself, my brother, and our parents) adopted him from a shelter when he was 3 years old and it's mostly been a great time. He is calm, affectionate, and friendly, and if he has gotten a little spoiled and demanding over the years, no one begrudges him his tummy rubs.

The years have brought their changes, of course, and Rafe now lives with only my parents, my brother and I having moved out on our own into situations in which we could not properly care for him. It's been a stressful last few years for the family, with first my brother moving out, then the family being uprooted (twice) due to the weak economy, and finally me moving out as well. I would say though that Rafael weathered it better than any of us, and he seemed to be living relatively happily in my parents' house for the past 2.5 years or so.

But about eight months ago he started defecating outside his litter box, something that's never been a problem for him. First it was infrequent, and would be done just outside his box, or in the bathroom that's nearby to the room where his box is located. Then he moved on to the dining room, which is still his favorite spot. Now he's begun pooping on the floors of the bedrooms as well, both upstairs and downstairs. Along with the locations changing, the frequency of this has gone way up as well. According to my parents, he now uses the floor for pooping (still always pees in the litter box, thankfully) almost exclusively.

We're at our wits' end trying to figure out what the problem could be. The vet has ruled out medical problems. Rafe has never had problems peeing and pooping in the same box. He's a big boy, but since my parents moved to Michigan, he got a new box that's bigger than ever. They switched to a clumping litter when they first moved out there, but he used it for almost two years without problems.

We've read many articles now about defecation problems, but none of them seems to shed any light on our particular situation. My parents are getting understandably fed up with cleaning up cat poop every morning, and are talking about giving him away. If anyone here can suggest anything at all, your help would be much appreciated.
post #2 of 7
Please tell your parents that Rafael has been a good companion for 11 years. I don't think he deserves to be given away. I am not an expert on elderly cats, although I have one that is over 10 years old. I know that when humans get old, they lose control over some of their basic physical functions. Perhaps it's the same with Rafael? I've read posts here of senior cats unable to reach their boxes in time either because of something physical or just that they forget.
I hope you get more advice from other members to help you. Rafael need not lose his only home and family.
post #3 of 7
Some cats don't like to pee and poop in the same box. Have you tried giving him 2 litter boxes. It's really not a lot of extra work and it may solve your problem. You must also clean the areas he has used very well to deter him from re-using those spots.
post #4 of 7
He is understandably stressed over the changes, and this is the way that he shows it. This is his way of telling you that he is unhappy and he wants his old routine back. I would strongly recommend if bloodwork has not been drawn, that he go back to the vet and get a Big Senior Panel run. Stress can cause illness in cats at a minute's notice and is not something to take lightly. It could be that the litter hurts his paws, he may not think the box is clean enough, he could have all sorts of issues with the litter pan, where it is located. He needs two boxes not one, there are hundreds of reasons. Please see the sticky threads at the top of this forum that deals with pooping issues.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

I read the sticky before posting. What prompted me to go on and post a message about a well-worn topic is that none of it seemed to apply to Rafael's situation. He's never had a problem in the past with doing all his business in one box. He's been checked out and given a clean bill of health by a vet. He's used his present litter box and type of litter for a long time without any issues. He's had some big stresses in his life in the past, but it's only now that things have settled down that he's not using his box to an acceptable degree.

I didn't mean to show disrespect by posting on a topic covered by a sticky; it truly seems to me that this particular situation is somewhat beyond the norm for litter box problems. I would be happy to be proven wrong, however!

Thanks again to everyone who has taken the time to read and give their thoughts.
post #6 of 7
No disrespect was picked up here. I deleted your one post because bumping is for moderators only on these forums.

I mentioned the stickies because so many people don't read stuck threads, instead they do an active search for their topic. I didn't know if you read it or not.

This cat has had to deal with a lot of changes. Unlike us, cats are trapped with how they react to stressful situations. One of the ways they react is to become ill. Sometimes, the sickness is easy to find, a lot of times it isn't. It's just there, and as time goes on and the cat gets sicker, then the illness is found, but by then it could be to late.
post #7 of 7
How is the consistency of the poop? If it's especially hard or clay-like, he could be constipated. I know there have been times when my kitty starts in the litterbox and then moves away as he is trying to defecate.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Cat suddenly not using box