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Cat pooping outside box
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Author:  mandycoot [ Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:41 am ]
Post subject:  Cat pooping outside box

This is kind of a novel, but I'm hoping one of you cat geniuses can offer some new ideas for me! Most of the information out there seems to be on cats who urinate outside the box so I'm sort of at a loss at this point.

boring story even more boring(ish): Our cat Carlos is female, ~12, not declawed, and has never buried her poop but until last year always went in the box. Last summer, 2nd cat had to be rushed to the e-vet and was ultimately PTS from an inoperable tumor. Immediately after 2nd cat's disappearance from her life, Carlos stopped pooping in the box every 1 out of 3 poops or so. She would poop about 8 feet from the litter box in a wide-open area our master bathroom (box is in the walk-in closet, which is connected to the bathroom). We cleaned the area with Bac-Out, Anti-Icky-Poo and Nature's Miracle, but she kept pooping there.

When it first happened we took Carlos to our vet and tested her for parasites, infections, and whatever else the vet thought might make sense. All test results came back totally normal. We tried a few-week course of a painkiller because the vet suggested that as an older cat, she may have back pain and hunching in the box to poop might hurt. At this point we figured it was probably related to the sudden trauma of 2nd cat's death.

We had two litter boxes already, but we also tried different litter, different litter depths, bigger boxes, boxes with lower sides, you name it. The boxes kept super clean and are scooped as soon as she uses them. We switched up her food (the cats are not vegan, we feed grain free Orijen and tried other grain-free foods), tried Feliway diffusers, and gave her more attention and play. The behavior stopped only when I tore up the tile floor of the bathroom (it was already slated for remodel).

Fast forward another 6 months or so...she just started doing it again. I have a vet appointment next week -- is there anything else I should ask the vet to test her for? The only change in our household has been having a baby (not insignificant) but I'm a stay a home mom now and Carlos actually gets way more attention now than back when we both worked! Is it possible that she's just at an age (12) where it is more difficult for her to adapt to life changes?

What else do we try? This is really starting to ruin our relationship with our cat! We are hesitant to use any sort of barrier or mat to keep her from the place where she poops because if we can't solve the behavior we at least like that it is so far restricted to the bathroom. If she starts pooping elsewhere around the house or doing it furtively we will have a bigger issue. And we can't go spend a ton of money at a cat behaviorist since we already have a hella expensive dog behaviorist.

Author:  celyn [ Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

I can think of two things I would try: adding a litter box right by her chosen spot and placing tin foil on top of the spot where she's going. Also, Nature's Miracle is not the original formula any more. The original company was split, with one taking the name and one taking the formula. I think that the old Nature's Miracle that worked so well is now Petastic.

Author:  mandycoot [ Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

Do you think we could start by putting the litterbox where she poops and if she takes to it, sloooooowly move it to somewhere more out of the way? It would be in a doorway for a while, but I could deal it it worked!

Author:  Butternut [ Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

Maybe others will disagree with me, but poop is way better than pee outside of the litter. At least you can pick it up and clean pretty easily. Pee is so hard to find and difficult to clean. My elderly cat could not consistently poop in the the littler, but he always did it in the vicinity of the box. Tin foil did help a little bit, at least to encourage him to poop somewhere else. Good luck and don't be too put out with her.

Author:  Petunia [ Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

mandycoot wrote:
Do you think we could start by putting the litterbox where she poops and if she takes to it, sloooooowly move it to somewhere more out of the way? It would be in a doorway for a while, but I could deal it it worked!

This was going to be my suggestion. If she still doesn't use the box, the only thing I can think of would be trying a different box size/shape, maybe something with really low sides or larger... you could experiment with different size cardboard boxes until you find one she likes.

It seems like you covered the medical issues and this is occuring both times after major life changes - maybe it is her way of expressing her fear/dislike of change...

Author:  celyn [ Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

From what I have read, you don't want to make drastic changes to their existing environment (ie moving her current litter box). If it was me I would add one at the spot where she is going. Then if she starts using it, like you said, I would move it an inch or so a day until it's where you want it. Let us know what you decide to try and what happens!

Author:  mandycoot [ Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

I'll try it! The only reason I have been hesitant to move one of the litter boxes is that I am worried about more change affecting her negatively. I feel silly but I never actually considered adding a third...I guess I just imagined three boxes for one cat was kind of extreme, but it may be a good interim solution. Let's hope Carlos catches on.

And I supposed I'm glad it's just poop after reading your responses. Maybe I should count my blessings in this situation!

Author:  mandycoot [ Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

A little update... the extra litter box didn't help, but the vet suggested that maybe she is constipated and it's not comfortable to strain inside the litter box. I'd never thought about it, but her "stray" poops are a little on the dry side. So we have switched Carlos to canned food (for the added moisture) and are no longer using a grain-free formula so that her fiber intake increases. I'm hoping it makes a difference!

Author:  seitanicverses [ Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

Hopefully it will. My kitty was getting constipated at one point, and I found changing his food made all the difference and his poops became smooth, bulky and easy again with no more constipation or fossil dry turds in the box.

Author:  vijita [ Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

Poor kitty! Madame Puddington was peeing outside the box and it turns out what she desired was a larger dome-style (nay, palace-style) litter box, and a pricier litter. I know you've tried that stuff but I wish you luck!

Author:  quagga [ Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

One of my older cats has poop/litterbox issues. She seemed to be unable to control her bowel movements and would poop in weird places, like near where she was sleeping. She never had diarrhea, thankfully. An ultrasound revealed some inflammation in the colon (we were ruling out cancer, so that was a good finding), so at our vet's suggestion, we started giving her fiber to soothe her colon and ensure hydration. She enjoys (much to my surprise) canned pumpkin mixed 50/50 with turkey baby food. I try and get 2-3 teaspoons of pumpkin into her once a day.

So far it seems to be working!

Good luck!

Author:  mandycoot [ Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

Cautiously optimistic update: We've been giving her wet food for over a week and since then she hasn't gone outside the box once! Her poops are definitely smaller, too. Poor kitty, to have lived with this for so long. :(

Can constipation be brought on by stress or sudden trauma? The timing still seems so linked to our other cat's death.

Author:  Sophiagrt [ Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

Cat will stop using the box if they are uncomfortable. They associate the box with discomfort and will try going someplace think another location will make them not experience the pain. I hope she continues to get better. Did they check the cat's stool for blood?

Author:  Tofulish [ Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cat pooping outside box

It sounds like you've found that the source is health related, and hopefully is alleviating, but we have also been very happy with Cat Attract Litter.

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