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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    around Seattle, WA
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    3,238

    litter box issues

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    Calypso is getting used to being an only cat - enjoys her snuggle time, likes to wake me up in the morning, enjoys chasing squirrels in the yard. Life is good, and I should be happy, with one exception....

    She poops near the litter box, not in the litter box. This started when Bonnie and Herald began their decline. And I thought with their passing, and fresh litter in the box, the problem would resolve itself. It hasn't. Funny thing was, I took one of the litter boxes with us for a weekend visit to some friend's house, along with the cheap floor mats that are the usual targets (but she'll also go on the carpet), and she was a good house guest, using the litter box. Come home, put the box back, and she poops next to it. What gives

    Her vet is equally confused.

    And I'm using the Dr. Isley's (sp?) cat attract litter.
    Beth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff AZ
    Posts
    2,516
    Have you tried moving the box to another room or another area?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Big City
    Posts
    434
    So, cats defecate outside the litter box for a number of reasons. Sometimes just one bad experience with the box is enough to change their habits for the rest of their life (cats with cystitis comes to mind in particular). There are several things you can try, but I would probably only do one at a time, that way you know which one works.

    The first thing I would do is set up another box in another location if you have one you can put a box in. Make sure your kitty is using the new box and then you can get rid of the old one altogether. Sometimes just the location and the memory associated with that is enough to make cats eliminate outside the box. If you don't have another location, I would try moving the box just a little bit nearby where it is - sometimes just a reorientation is enough.

    You can also try a new litter. Gradually mix in the new litter with the old litter until it's all new litter. (I'd do this over a couple of weeks). Another thing cats get weird about.

    The last thing you might try is to closely examine everything in the area where you cat box is already placed. Is it near a dryer where the buzzer startles your kitty when she is using the box? Is there a lot of traffic with people coming and going? Sometimes just little things that would disturb your kitty on the box is enough for them to "make a statement" by eliminating outside of it.

    I know when my cat is stressed or upset because he will pee in my sink. I move the box for a few days, try to keep everything as low key as possible, and he will go back and be happy after that.

    HTH.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southeastern MA
    Posts
    215
    I don't personally have much experience with cats, but have heard that they are ultra-sensitive to household smells that we humans cannot detect: colognes, air fresheners, cleaners, etc.

    As someone else suggested, maybe the kitty doesn't like that brand of litter-or there is something (noises, foot traffic?) upsetting them within the litter box location, etc.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,403
    Whatever you do, don't buy the fragranced cat litter. I'm convinced it makes cats nauseous and causes them to dislike the box. When my cat was sick with cancer she became terrified of the box, and I now suspect the odor-eating stuff in the litter might have been making her nauseous when she smelled it.

    Get litter that is 'fragrance free' and as chemical free as possible.

    I now mix the fragrance-free litter 1/2 with plain cedar shavings litter. Seems to work for us.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    around Seattle, WA
    Posts
    3,238
    I discovered that she detests fragrance earlier, so I am using non-fragrance litter.

    I've moved both litter boxes to other parts of the rooms they're in - bathroom and office. She's peed in the bathroom box, and hasn't gotten to the time of day for pooping. Just what all y'all wanted to know
    Beth

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    around Seattle, WA
    Posts
    3,238

    relocated litter boxes, day 1

    Stinker pooped in the exact spot where the litter box used to be. Then later pooped on one of the floor mats.
    Beth

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
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    5,619
    The only thing I can think of is that she finds it difficult to get in and out of the box and CAN'T be bothered to go find where you put it. When she's gotta go, she's gotta go, and she IS a senior... Can you get a lower sided box?
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    My now-deceased cat, Sophie, used to poop (but not pee) outside of the box. It roughly coincided with the period in which her thyroid became hyperactive. I don't know if it was a physical or emotional response. Even after we got her thyroid under control, she only used the box semi-regularly. Thankfully, she at least limited her "surprises" to our unfinished basement. She never pooped upstairs, bless her heart. While I didn't enjoy cleaning up after her, I sort of took it in stride. I always did wonder why she was fine using the box to pee in, but not too poop. Maybe it did have to do with her urgency to do the latter but not the former. I don't know.

    If you haven't already, I would get a fresh round of bloodwork done to see, in particular, how her thyroid and kidneys are doing.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,403
    Is she peeing in the litter box?
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,821
    My first thought is that she's constipated, and she's scooching across the floor to get the poop out. I'd take her to the vet to have her checked.

    Edit, Oh, I see the vet already checked. So much for that idea.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,041
    We have a cat that pulls that same trick, exactly what you describe. She'll go in the box to pee and then come out and poop right in front.

    Spraying Feliway around the area seems to work pretty well. I guess it's more for multiple-pets issues but maybe she hasn't gotten used to being an only pet. I'm not sure exactly what is is or why it works, it's supposed to be like cat pheromone and calms them I guess? But it does seem to help her.

    We also got her Booda boxes, with little steps to climb into the box on, it seems to be easier for her to get in & out of.

    Good luck. It's a frustrating problem and I admire that you want to make it right for her. It's the only way she knows of expressing that something isn't right, but it's so hard to figure out what that something is so we can make it right for her.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    around Seattle, WA
    Posts
    3,238
    Will acquire Feliway and try that.

    Calypso is a youngster - only 4. Both my senior kitties have crossed the rainbow bridge, and they always used the litter box.

    Calypso is a stinker...
    Beth

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,403
    I don't want to scare you but i felt i should mention this story-
    I knew a family with a lovely young cat who started pooping outside the box, this was years ago. They were at their wit's end and began to 'punish' the poor cat (something I would never have done for sure). Finally the cat was getting ill and the vet found it had a large brain tumor and that was the reason. It had to be put to sleep but the woman felt terrible guilt about shaming and punishing the poor cat when it really was just terribly ill. Sorry, what an awful story. But I wanted to make sure people understood that sometimes the cat really cannot help it and it sometimes is not a behavior/habit issue at all.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    662
    Quote Originally Posted by Melalvai View Post
    We have a cat that pulls that same trick, exactly what you describe. She'll go in the box to pee and then come out and poop right in front.
    Same here. Or, she will pee in one box and then get out and go to the other box to poo. My theory is that she likes a really clean litter box and once one is used, it is no good until cleaned!

 

 

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