Female cat defecating in the living room
Maggie is a 7 year old DSH. She is spayed and declawed and entirely indoors.
We moved to a new/old house a little over a year ago as a small family adding Sam (the laborador) to our group in late June. There were some previous animals in the house as evident on the carpet (which I had cleaned before we moved in) and the bare floors in the stove room. This home is a 2500 square foot rambler with the litter box at the opposite end of the house from the living room.
We switched food for the cats about July of last year and food for Justin around August of last year. The cats and Justin eat at the same spot in the kitchen (they always have), while Sam (the laborador) eats on the opposite end of the kitchen since he is large and invasive, not to mention a vacuum when it comes to any kind of food.
Maggie started using the living room as her powder room a short while after we moved in (before Sam) for all aspects of her potty needs. We only noticed the urine aspect of the issue when the urine smell in the room became apparent. Previously we had only thought it to be the defecation. We collected a fecal sample and drove her off to the vet. Tests were ran, anal glands were cleared, and the results came back negative on all fronts. She did not do this everyday and we chalked it up to a behavior problem due to the prior smells still left in the home. We cleaned with Odor Remover, special solutions from my carpet guy, nothing was working.
3 weeks ago we ripped out all the carpet left in the house and sealed the floors with Kilz. I had come to my wits end and although I love my cat, it was either her or the carpet and the carpet was going eventually anyways. I laid down a few area rugs to ease the human pain of walking on bare floors until we could afford to remodel. We thought the problem had stopped. Maggie was a good girl again.
Last week I had surgery and was laid up in bed for a couple days. The others in the house closed my door to deaden the sound and let me sleep. 3 days ago I see her prowling behind the television and I think 'oh no', we are watching a movie and she poops right in front of us all on the area rug. I scolder her, rubbed her nose in it, carried her to the litter box. The next day I wake up to a pile in the same spot. This morning we are laying in bed and I am petting both Justin and Maggie together. Maggie hauls off and bites him, so I swat her off. 2 hours later another pile in the same spot.
I am not sure what to do any longer. I have tried everything I know and we are going back to the vet today.
Could try putting a littler box in the room and see if she'll that instead of the floor.
[QUOTE=Maggie Troubles;1064708]Maggie is a 7 year old DSH. She is spayed and declawed and entirely indoors.[/quote]
Not sure if you had her declawed or if she was like that when you got her, but just so you know, declawing can be a major reason that cats stop using the litter box. [url]http://www.pawproject.org/faqs/[/url] Arthritis also tends to develop much earlier in declawed cats, and that can also have an impact on litter box usage.
[QUOTE=Maggie Troubles;1064708]This home is a 2500 square foot rambler with the litter box at the opposite end of the house from the living room.[/quote]
How many litter boxes (covered or uncovered?) do you have, what type of litter do use, and how often are they scooped?
[QUOTE=Maggie Troubles;1064708]We switched food for the cats about July of last year and food for Justin around August of last year. [/quote]
What do they eat?
Maggie started using the living room as her powder room a short while after we moved in (before Sam) for all aspects of her potty needs. [/quote]
Stress can often be a trigger for inappropriate elimination, and moving is highly stressful for cats. That initial anxiety of being in new territory may have set the habit of going outside the box. One thing to try would be to make the spot she's currently using less attractive by putting tinfoil in the area, and by making her litter boxes MORE attractive, by scooping them at least twice a day (if you don't already), using Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter, and adding more boxes if necessary. Maybe even putting a box or two in a different part of the house would help.
Last week I had surgery and was laid up in bed for a couple days. [/quote]
Was the litter box scooped twice a day during this time, or is there a chance it was neglected?
[QUOTE=Maggie Troubles;1064708]I scolder her, rubbed her nose in it, [/quote]
Very bad idea. Never ever scold a cat for going outside the box, you'll only add to her stress and exacerbate the whole situation.
[QUOTE=Maggie Troubles;1064708]The next day I wake up to a pile in the same spot. [/quote]
As barkingdog suggested, perhaps she needs a box in that spot for now, until you sort out what the issue is. Eventually you could ever so gradually move it (like by inches per day) to a spot you'd prefer.
[QUOTE=Maggie Troubles;1064708]Maggie hauls off and bites him, so I swat her off. 2 hours later another pile in the same spot.[/quote]
It really does sound like she's stressed about something. I'd recommend trying a couple of Feliway diffusers in the areas of the house that she hangs out the most.
In the meantime, some articles on litter box avoidance that might be helpful:
Well we are back from the vet and it is as I thought. Diagnosis unknown with a strong nod towards 'behavioral' issues. He did the regular checkup with the anal gland expression. One side hard and one side regular.
We are going to try the pheromone defuser in the living room, some extra attention to make her feel special again (she is quite possessive I am learning), and a daily sweep of the cat box area in the laundry room.
We have decided that our last resort is the additional litter box on the opposite end of the house. With the older cat fully trained and never an issue, we truly do not want to start her on a habit of using a litter box in the living room.
Maggie was declawed as a kitten at 9 months old, we have only one litter box uncovered and I clean it as it needs. I do not clean it as often as I should sometimes, but such is parenting. I appreciate the advice about scolding, I was not sure if that worked for cats as well as dogs. The vet also mentioned stress as a factor. She has developed an excessive grooming habit lately and we noticed some sparse spots on her forelegs. I am going to try to make her as comfortable as I can for the next week.
Great advice from other members :highfive:
[QUOTE] I do not clean it as often as I should sometimes, but such is parenting.[/QUOTE]
Wish you had written that in your intro paragraph in post 1.
In my experience, [B]by far[/B] the number one reason cats soil outside the box is because the box is dirty. Simple as that. A cat's nose is much stronger than yours so if you can smell that strong urine/fecal litter smell - you can bet your cat smelled it days ago and is not thrilled about doing its business in a stinky box. When I was a kid and went to my grandparents' house and they used the bathroom to do their business....If I then needed to do MY business I'd hold it in or use another bathroom. Cats have less control than we do and can easily find cleaner spots to do their business. Usually humans don't appreciate the cleaner spots that a cat may choose.
So my rule of thumb is that the solids need to be removed every single day. And the litter needs to be completely changed every 6-7 days.
Given that it's the number one problem for soiling outside the box, this needs to be corrected before even thinking about other possibilities for this behaviour. Imo you are wasting your time considering other solutions if you do first address this issue.
Hope that may help - and good luck! :goodvibes:
A boyfriend and I had a cat and my b/f was cutting up same yams and a piece went flying into the cat box. Our cat got up and went into his littler box and covered up the piece of yam then looked up at us and said " What slobs you're, if you're going to use my box at least cover up your mess!" Cats are very clean animals , I change the littler every other day because I have a good sense of smell too did not want my condo smelling.
Morning time here on the farm and we are happy. No accidents overnight and she slept with us all night. We cleaned the litter box area last night with the addition of fresh material and scooped said litter box this morning. Hopefully we are on the right path.
Now we are on with the day.
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