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How to tell the difference between behaviour or health problem?

October 13th, 2006, 10:28 AM

I am looking for some advice to find out if there are some signs to look for to tell if a cat just has a weird litter box behaviour or if he actually is having some sort of difficulty?


My 2 yr old male ragdoll has a very strange habit of making noises when he goes to the litter box. He has done this since he was a kitten however it was only once in a while. About 6 months ago, he was making his usual cooing sounds in the litter box and naturally I was spying around the corner to see why he does this, but then I noticed he just layed down in the box, naturally I scooped him and rushed him to the vet, all results came back negative. Since then every once in a while he would coo in the box but finished his business and went his marry way. Through all of this everything else seems perfectly normal. The last couple weeks I noticed the cooing getting more frequent so I have been watching even closer, and today I noticed that he was running from box to box, cooing but not actually peeing, so naturally we're off to the vet again this afternoon, however I just have this feeling that the result will be negative again...however better to be safe than sorry! But for future is there some way I can tell the difference, I hate putting him through the stress of taking him to the vet, he takes it very badly, however I also can't take chances of not doing anything! HELP?

p.s. he has never (at least to my knowledge) ever gone outside of his litter box, as well I have 3 boxes (3 cats) in the house with 2 different types of litter.:frustrated:

October 13th, 2006, 10:29 AM
It will be hard to tell really. But any vocalization outside of his regular cooing, and not peeing should mean a trip to the vet.

October 13th, 2006, 01:29 PM
I think in the case of a male cat, it definitely is better to be safe than sorry, If his urethra is blocked by crystals from his urine, he could die fairly quickly.

Good luck at the vet.:)

October 13th, 2006, 05:20 PM
My cat used to make that kind of noise once in a while too when she went to her litter box and we discovered that she only did it when we forgot to clean her litter box. Once we cleaned it she would go and everything would be fine. Could this be the problem with you?


October 14th, 2006, 09:41 AM
The only way to know for sure is to go to the vet. However, I have one cat who frequently lies in one of the litter boxes. I have determined that she is being territorial and preventing the others from using "her" box by lying in it.

October 14th, 2006, 01:03 PM
How did your second trip to the vet go?

October 16th, 2006, 06:51 PM
Hello Everyone,

Thank you for the responses, well it has been a very busy, stressful and expensive weekend. As it turned out poor Samson was constipated. BADLY! The poor little guy had 2 enema's on Friday and still couldn't poop, we had to go back Saturday morning and he had enemas every 2 hours all day until 6 p.m. However they managed to remove the old poop. Unfortunately this morning we had to rush back as he was crying really badly again in the litter box and he still hadn't pooped on his own. They hope as do I that this morning he was just sore from all the poking and prodding on the weekend so they gave him some pain killers and sent him home. He seems a lot happier this afternoon however I am still soo worried that he has not pooped as he has been eating all weekend?!? I am trying to tell myself to calm down as I probably would be holding it in too if that was me. I am concerned as to why all of a sudden this happened and soo badly, however I just want to get through the next couple days. I am feeling very frustratred, tired and not sure how I can tell whose stuff I am cleaning out of the litter box. I know I should seperate everyone and I will, I have to, however then I have howling cats that will not let up, it just feels no matter what I do I am losing the battle. Anyway sorry for that vent!!! I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that we can get past this with no long term problems.

Any suggestions out there on how long before he may return to normal and his poor little bum won't be sore?:confused:

October 17th, 2006, 11:11 PM
I hear ya on tiring & expensive weekends, though I had a tiring and expensive week with my pets, instead of weekend.

My kitty got constipated once, and was on her way to the vet to have her cleaned out (her belly was round as a basketball!) when she pooped on her own. She was in a kennel at the time and the lady there gave her some kitty-laxative hairball stuff... I think it was like this (but I can't remember as this was 3 yrs ago):

As far as how long until things get back to normal, it's usually a few days... if they gave him that many enemas they probably washed everything out right up to his tummy, so it'll take probably a couple of days before his intestines get all filled up again. It might be a third day before he feels the urge to poo, depending on how fast or slow his digestion normally is (one of my kitties only poos every other day, but my dog poos 3 times a day!!). I think if you're concerned about him, it can't hurt to get & give him a little of the laxative stuff (check your local pet store or ask the vet) everyday. I know someone who swore by a hairball prevention stuff which was probably formulated with the same ingredients as that laxative; she put a blob of it on every kitty's foor everyday and rarely had hairballs and I never heard of any of her kitties (she had 7, I think) having constipation problems.
Actually, now that I think of it, I think it was this stuff she gave to her kitties: (and this is probably what the kennel lady used with my kitty).

I also just ran into an article which said that yogurt can help with hairball prevention (I give one of my cats yogurt daily, but he's short haired), and catnip is an excellent aid to digestion in either leaf, dried or tea form (for humans and animals). Perhaps you could give your kitties (all 3 of them) a spoonful of plain yogurt (flavoured usually have too much sugar for animals) with catnip and a blob of the Petromalt daily...

I have no advice on how you could identify if your specific kitty is going poo without isolating him (I understand how difficult that can be!), unless you were able to get him to eat some whole corn. I honestly don't know of any other way of "tracking" which poo is whose.

I hope that helps.
Good luck with your kitty and hope his litter box habits are back to normal soon. Despite the expense, I'm glad that you were aware enough to take him to the vet and get him back on the road to health. :cat: