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Alicia64

:( My cat is defecating (only) outside of litter box

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My kitty is 2 yrs. old. Is indoor only and spoiled. He eats pricey wet and dry food.

 

Nothing has changed in his life. Nothing. Same litter, same litter box, same home companions (ie. we didn't add a kitten), same everything.

 

And I keep his box spotless. I clean it every evening and always have.

 

For the past month he started defecating outside of his box. In a bedroom, outside of the bathroom, in the bathroom, but not in his box etc.

 

Thank goodness he urinates in his box. Like clockwork.

 

He started doing it when we were on vacation in August. The pet sitter had it happen once. I thought he was angry at us. A month later it's still happening. (At one point in all this, I did buy him a bigger litter box thinking that was a problem. His first had a lid and the second had a lid. But both were in the same location.)

 

I took him to the vet who worked w/ us on a flea bite or two (the dog who is being heavily treated had brought them in). But now there no fleas at all. And this is still happening. (The vet thought maybe the bites were bothering him and he was showing his upset by going outside of his box.)

 

Any ideas?

 

Alley

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The first thing to try is to add another box.  The standard rule for cats and litter boxes is one box for each cat plus one more.  So one cat gets two boxes.  The reason for that is that it's not uncommon for cats to want one box for urinating and one for defecating.

 

It might not solve the problem, but it's where I'd start.

 

If it doesn't solve it, my next step would be retraining.  Confine kitty in a very small room or large dog crate with his box(es), food, water, bed, toys and anything else he needs to be comfy.  He stays in that room for at least a week, preferably two.  The idea is that confining to a small space gives them no choice other than to use their box(es).  And after a week or two they're retrained.

 

You could also try Feliway, a pheromone product that helps relieve stress in some cats.

 

And then there are medications your vet can prescribe that have a pretty good track record for helping with inappropriate elimination.

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ditto what paws4me said & adding

try making the second box different than the first - ie if you've got one with a lid, try one without a lid

 

try putting the poop in the box. this is sort of 'out there' because most people say keep the box spotless but I've heard some use this successfully to re-start a poop in box habit. Put the poop in the box & hope the next time the cat gets in there they'll see it, cover it & resume using it.

& patience! ;)

 

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ditto what paws4me said & adding

 

try making the second box different than the first - ie if you've got one with a lid, try one without a lid

 

try putting the poop in the box. this is sort of 'out there' because most people say keep the box spotless but I've heard some use this successfully to re-start a poop in box habit. Put the poop in the box & hope the next time the cat gets in there they'll see it, cover it & resume using it.

 

& patience! ;)

 

 

 

Thanks guys. Two cat boxes: one lidded, one not. Add his poop to one. I'm on it.

 

Alley

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Another ditto for pawz4me :)

 

And a recommendation for Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter. We get it cheapest on amazon but some pet stores carry it.

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Another vote for the pheromone deterrent stuff. We have some we got from Petco called Boundary, so I know there are different brands.

 

This issue is rotten. IME, for cats with a propensity to do this, it only gets worse as they age. :( Yours is so young though!

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I put the poop in the box, put the cat in the box to cover the poop, praised her like crazy (wow, did she look ticked off about this whole thing), and then gave her a treat. 

 

I would NOT use a litter box with a lid.  I'd use two different types of litter to differentiate, or a box with higher sides vs. lower sides.

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Sounds like a cat for you :glare:

This is why I do not have and will never have a indoor cat. Just when you think you have them trained they throw you for a loop. 

 

I'm with my dog in that cats are the enemy. :laugh: :coolgleamA:

 

 

Sorry I know none of this is helpful.

 

eta I am sorry you are going through this.

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Cats don't have poop accidents because of anger. Insecurity, yes. Anger... not so much. That requires a level of thought that, frankly, is beyond our furry friends.

 

Does he go in any particular place when he goes outside the box?

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Cats don't have poop accidents because of anger. Insecurity, yes. Anger... not so much. That requires a level of thought that, frankly, is beyond our furry friends.

 

Does he go in any particular place when he goes outside the box?

 

In our bedrooms or outside of the bathroom. On the rug essentially.

 

I tend to agree w/ you on the anger point you make -- except I had a cat years ago who caught a bird and dropped it at our door step on the day our older cat died. The younger cat never caught birds. Ever. So I always saw it as a sign of grief. Which, again, seems too developed, but it's sure what it looked like to me.

 

But, yes, I don't think our kitty is showing anger.

 

Re: the cat lids on the box. He's had a cat lid since he was three months old. Doesn't that mean he's used to it?

 

Alley

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In our bedrooms or outside of the bathroom. On the rug essentially.

 

I tend to agree w/ you on the anger point you make -- except I had a cat years ago who caught a bird and dropped it at our door step on the day our older cat died. The younger cat never caught birds. Ever. So I always saw it as a sign of grief. Which, again, seems too developed, but it's sure what it looked like to me.

 

But, yes, I don't think our kitty is showing anger.

 

Re: the cat lids on the box. He's had a cat lid since he was three months old. Doesn't that mean he's used to it?

 

Alley

He may be used to it but cats can change their minds at any point about what is and is not acceptable for the litter box.

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We had to get rid of lidded boxes when our troublemaker boy was about 5. They can get spooked in one and not feel secure any longer. Or who knows why.

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My dd adopted a cat from the Humane Society, who had been going inside the lidded litter boxes there for 5 weeks.  I gave dd an unlidded box, and the cat went fine in it.  Then dd got a lidded box, and the cat refused to go in it and instead peed and pooped everywhere in her room.  I told her to take off the top of the box, and the cat started going in the box again.  Who can know the mind of cats? lol

 

Good luck, OP.  This is one of my great fears. 

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Re: the cat lids on the box. He's had a cat lid since he was three months old. Doesn't that mean he's used to it?

 

 

Cat can be weird about things like that. If you move the box to where he's going now (if that's even possible), you might be able to trick him into using the box again, at which point you can gradually move the box back where it belongs. But this method doesn't always work for every cat.

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He may have started because he was upset you were gone, or just upset that he didn't like the way the pet sitter scooped his box. I don't mean angry, just stressed.

 

But now that he's used to going elsewhere, he may just be going where he smells his own waste.  Make sure you get some enzyme spray to break down the microscopic remains of the mess.  We use Nature's Miracle from PetSmart. We buy by the gallon and transfer into a spray bottle for accidents.  Gallons last forever until you get a new puppy.  Anyway, spray all the places he's gone LIBERALLY.  Or just pour it into the carpet shampooer.

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Re: the cat lids on the box. He's had a cat lid since he was three months old. Doesn't that mean he's used to it?

 

The overwhelming consensus by the vets I know and the (many) people I know who work in rescue is that cats don't like lidded boxes.  They feel too confined and/or too vulnerable because they don't have a clear view of what's going on around them.

 

I've found with my own cats and my own experiments over the years that unlidded boxes are vastly preferred.  Granted what I've done isn't a statistically significant sampling, but . . . .  works for me. ;)

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Are you sure kitty isn't constipated which can make going painful?  I have an elderly cat who is the most fastidious cat on earth.  She has never had a single litterbox problem her whole life....until three years ago.  We started finding the occasional poo outside the box.  Luckily, our boxes are in the basement and it is most definitely NOT a living area (think rock floor and water running through canals) so it is not a big deal.  We just clean it up.  But we were concerned because we did not know which cat was doing it or what was causing it.  We did notice that it was very dry (a sign of constipation).  We figured out which cat it was when the other was gone overnight at the vet.  Our cats eat mostly raw food which can cause constipation in some cats due to the bones.  I started adding a bit of pumpkin to each meal which great reduced the incidents.  And now when we nice one, I put them on canned food for a day or two and it seems to clear up.  There are products that your vet can give you for constipation too....which might be easier than switching foods or adding pumpkin.  That is just what works for us.

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What worked for us is keeping our cat in the laundry room (it's bigger than it sounds, so it wasn't cruel!) with his litter box, food, and water for 3 weeks or so.  He had to re-learn that this was the place for him to do his business.

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I had a cat who did this!

 

several options, yes to getting another box. One more box than cat makes it easier. I now have one cat and two boxes and I am so glad we do. No litter problems for us!

 

If you can find it in your area, look for 'cat attract' litter. It has cat attracting pheromones, they want to use it. It is a clumping litter and is very nice. It is also expensive. So, just throw a couple cups on top of your regular litter, even that will help. 

 

Try a box without litter! My cat who only pooped outside the box liked to poop in an empty box I put on the spot she pooped. She didn't want litter, she didn't want a lid, but she liked the empty box. She would scratch and scratch on the bare floor of the box and then poop. I would then just dump it into the toilet. It was actually quite easy, lol.

 

And yes, lidded boxes are actually not that great for cats. It holds the smell in, can feel unsafe etc. So give it a try, but be prepared it might not work.

 

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