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He 'chooses' when to use the litter box?

probe
February 4th, 2011, 06:56 PM
I wasn't sure whether to put this in the senior cat forum or not. My cat is about 10 years old now, but he is a very active, and lively cat, I often forget how old he really is because of it. He's very intelligent, but for the past couple months, he has actually "missed" the litterbox and has pooped on the floor beside it. This happens a couple times a week and I'm not sure why. The litterbox is clean and has been scooped, and he NEVER used to do this. Also, it seems like he doesn't go to the washroom outside anymore, only if he has to. He's even come in from being outside for a couple hours just to poop indoors. I went out and bought him a BIGGER litterbox and still the same problem. He was never like this. Might I add every time he's gone on the floor outside of the litterbox it has been very soft, I'm not sure if that's a factor.

My father and I have 'punished' him for his accident before, by being stern and showing him what he did wrong.. and I know he knows he's done wrong.. but it doesn't help. It's getting to the point where I'm gonna need to cover the entire floor in that area with news paper or something. Feel free to ask questions if you think it's relevant. I'm asking here because I can't yet afford a vet visit (ran into some unexpected expenses this month) and I'd like some insight before I do spend that much money. Thank you very much.

Edit: I forgot to mention that he doesn't ALWAYS poop outside the litterbox.. seems he's selective lol. But it happens fairly often.

sugarcatmom
February 4th, 2011, 07:27 PM
Might I add every time he's gone on the floor outside of the litterbox it has been very soft, I'm not sure if that's a factor.

Absolutely it could be a factor. May I ask what you feed him?

My father and I have 'punished' him for his accident before, by being stern and showing him what he did wrong.. and I know he knows he's done wrong.. but it doesn't help.

Of course it doesn't help, because he's not doing this to be "bad". Please don't ever "punish" him for going outside the box. You will more than likely make the problem worse by increasing his stress around this whole situation. He doesn't WANT to poop on the floor. Something is wrong in his world, and instead of punishing him, it's your job to find out what that is and HELP him. A vet visit would really be a good idea, especially since he is entering his senior years. Plus, the fact that he goes outside means he may have ingested something he shouldn't have.

It's getting to the point where I'm gonna need to cover the entire floor in that area with news paper or something.

That would be a good idea for the interim. Also try adding another litter box. What kind of cat litter do you use?

probe
February 4th, 2011, 08:24 PM
I give him some soft food once a day, and keep his dry food bowl filled as he only seems to eat it when it's needed. I keep his water bowl filled as well. The soft foods are usually fish because he seems to like them most and always finishes, sometimes chicken/pork. He won't eat beef flavors. Then just a brand name dry food. I try to get healthy cat foods, recently tried 'senior' dry food though I didn't notice any difference.

Do you think it may be a bowel or digestive problem? If not then what? I try not to punish him too strictly, but I suppose now that I put myself in his position, any kind of scolding would not be very productive and even harmful if there is a bigger issue.

The litter I use is called Purina Max Scoop.


Come to think of it, I've also noticed he has had gas frequently which is something I thought rather unusual for a cat as he had never had a problem with it before. They are even fairly audible, and very smelly.

sugarcatmom
February 4th, 2011, 09:01 PM
The soft foods are usually fish because he seems to like them most and always finishes, sometimes chicken/pork.

What brand?

Fish can be an allergen for many cats and it's generally not recommended to feed fish-based foods more than a couple times a week (and not at all if there are intestinal or urinary tract issues). Here's a link on why fish isn't such a good idea: http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/why-fish-is-dangerous-for-cats/

Perhaps if you mixed half fishy foods with half non-fishy foods, and then gradually increased the ratio of non-fish to fish, you could eventually eliminate the fish from his diet.

Then just a brand name dry food. I try to get healthy cat foods, recently tried 'senior' dry food though I didn't notice any difference.

Which one?

To be honest, it doesn't really matter because ALL dry food is bad for cats. Some are slightly less bad, but they all have a few major things in common - inappropriate ingredients (too many starchy carbs for an obligate carnivore), the wrong texture (cats teeth are designed for gnawing on flesh and bone, not grinding nuggets of cereal), and lack of moisture (10% or less, where as cats evolved eating juicy prey with 60-80% moisture).

So my suggestion is to work at eventually eliminating the kibble from your cat's diet, and feeding some good quality meat-based, grain-free wet food. You can read more on what cat's should be eating at this link: www.catinfo.org

Do you think it may be a bowel or digestive problem? If not then what?

The fact that he also has smelly gas makes me think yes. You might want to pick up some probiotic capsules from a health food store and mix a pinch in with his wet food. Slippery elm bard or marshmallow root powder can also help with loose stool and is effective at soothing an inflamed intestinal tract. 1/4 tsp twice a day for a few days might be all he needs (can be mixed with his wet food as well).

One last thing: you can leave canned food out for snacking, so if your boy doesn't eat it all at once, maybe he will after a few hours. Especially if you don't leave kibble out as well. Adding a couple tsp of water helps prevent it from drying out.

Good luck! Let us know how he does.

probe
February 4th, 2011, 09:24 PM
The wet food that I just bought for him was Iams proactive health. It comes in a pack of two different flavors. Tuna and Salmon. I am thinking I'm going to take it back and exchange it for the chicken/pork package, seeing as only one can is missing it hopefully will not be a problem. What are some brands that offer a better solution, and are they commonly found at most grocery stores or outlets?

I'm not sure what type of dry food it was to be honest, my father always empties the dry cat food into a separate container and throws out the packaging. The name is not coming to me and he can't think of it either..

Your posts have helped a lot, thank you.

Kerstenk
February 7th, 2011, 01:07 AM
My male cat had the same problem not that long ago. It was af if he was deciding when and where he was going to relieve himself. More often than not the place he unfortunately chose was my bed - but then there were times where he would use the litterbox for days in a row. I could tell he was embarrassed by his actions because as soon as I would come home he would run and hide while I discovered the not so welcome presents he had left me.

I took him to the vet to see if they could help pin point what was wrong and so a solution could be administered. Turns out the poor little guy had a UTI. My vet prescribed some antibiotics for me to give to my cat orally and as soon as I started giving my cat his medicine he stopped wetting/pooping outside of his litterbox. My cat has not had one accident since his treatment and this has made for both a happy pet and happy pet friend.

If your kitty has a UTI this can be pretty painful and I was told that they can start associating this pain to the litterbox - thus not wanting to use it and choosing other places to go. Of course this doesnt explain why both our kitties chose to sometimes use the litterbox, but I simply chalked it up to my cat making routine checks to see if it would hurt to go in the litterbox...I know that sounds silly but ya never know. :)

I hope everything turns out okay, its not an easy thing to go through. :cat:

lindapalm
February 25th, 2011, 09:34 PM
Are you sure your cat is going on the floor, and not just hanging over the box and its falling on the floor? Mine does that once in awhile.