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Old June 2nd, 2010, 01:59 PM
LukeMePirate LukeMePirate is offline
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Exclamation Cat has Forgotten to use Litter Box! Need help!

I have two wonderful cats: Artemis and Baccus. They are both lovely, playful, active cats. There is only one problem. Baccus has started not using the litter box at all. He will now go number 2 right next to the box and pees in any corner of the house he can find. He was box-trained as a kitten, and is a fixed male. His sister uses the box fine and we have no trouble with her. I think the issues started when the cats wiggled their way into the pantry a few months ago and tore up a box of chocolate donuts, and became incredibly sick afterwards. But they are fine now. Since that incident he slowly stopped using the box. I did some searching and the only method I could find only to attempt to retrain him is to have him watch us clean it up and then isolate him in the bathroom. When in the bathroom he uses the box without a problem. But when he is let back into the house it's the same old problem again. This behavior has continued for months now, with varying amounts of success (He will use the box only when it has completely fresh litter and been thoroughly scrubbed, but I can't afford to do that essentially every day). It's getting to the point where the amount I have to isolate him for discipline may be interfering with his health, it is not a large bathroom and I don't think he is able to excersize enough. I really love the cat, and want to keep him badly, but its gotten to a point to where the house almost continually smells and its damaging the floor. Is my only recourse to give him away? I don't think anyone would want to keep him with this problem. Any and all advice is welcome!
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 02:10 PM
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Sorry that you're going through this. Inappropriate elimination can be a very frustrating problem to deal with! First things first, has he been to the vet for a check-up (including a urinalysis and a culture of the urine)? Medical issues need to be ruled out as a possible cause. Also, how often do you clean the box, and how many boxes do you have? Any changes to the type of litter you use?

Some reading for you in the meantime: http://www.catinfo.org/litterbox.htm
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 02:21 PM
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Males cats are more at risk for crystals and stones, you should check him for these first because he could associate the litter box with pain. Maybe different litters might help, look at the link sugarcatmom posted you may find some answers to behavioural reasons for inappropriate elimination.

Do everything you can for your cat, I wouldn't advise giving him up because first it is difficult to give away a cat that is not using the box, and if someone does take him and he goes outside the box his new owners might not be as patient as you which is opening up possibilities for all sorts of bad things happening.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 02:39 PM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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As stated by others, a vet visit is in order.

I had a similiar problem with a female cat only to find out that the problem was the location of the litter box. The box was in the basement and we found out that she had arthritis and for this reason she did not use the box. Now it is upstairs and she is fine.

If the blood panel comes out clear, then it could be behavioural. If so, I would ask a trusted friend who has no cats to take and see if the problem ceases. I know it is asking alot, but there are people that may help.

From a rescues' point of view..do NOT rehome if behavioural. A shelter will euthanize (without the presence of anyone who gives a hoot), a pound may sell to a laboratory and a rescue group will be burdeoned. Anyways - before even thinking about this - see the vet to find out if there is a medical problem.

Best of luck to you.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 02:44 PM
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NoahGrey NoahGrey is offline
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Cats will also not use the box sometimes..due to them being peeved at something, it could be the brand you are using or something totally different...but I agree with other posters..you should see a vet to make sure it is not a medical issue. How many litter boxes do you own? Sometimes sharing does not go over with them as well.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 02:58 PM
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Cats never ever "forget" how to use the litter box. There is always an underlying reason for the inappropriate elimination.
A few things to look at carefully:
A vet visit is an absolute must!! How old is your kitty? The older he is the more apt to have crystals or stones which makes peeing very very painful. Males are much more prone to them than females. Which leads to - what food is he eating?
Have you changed you litter, the boxes, or the location of the boxes?
Have you moved lately?
Is he now too big to be comfortable using the box? That is fixed very easily by buying a larger box. The under the bed storage boxes work fabulously!
Is the box near a washer/dryer/furnace/any other noisy appliance? If so it is possible he was in the box doing his thing when the machine started up with a loud noise and scared him. He may associate that with the box itself.
Is the box covered? Some cats just do not like covered boxes. They retain the smell and therefore stink. Imagine smelling your own doodoo every single time you used the toilet.
Is he being ambushed by the female when he is trying to use the box? That will make him not want to use it period.
How many boxes do you have? Rule of thumb is one per cat plus one more. Some kitties are very fastidious about not walking on their scat.
How clean do you keep it? You should be scooping minimum once in the morning, once at night.
I'm sure there are more things to add but this and what the other posters have told you is a good starting point for you.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 10:18 AM
LukeMePirate LukeMePirate is offline
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Thanks for the Replies everyone. He is now about 1.5 years old. I have two litter boxes. The litter definitely makes a difference, he will only used natural unscented litter. I have two litter boxes, both of a decent size, one upstairs and one downstairs. They were raised as kittens to share a box, and it hasn't been a problem until the last 2 or 3 months. He will always eliminate right next to the upstairs box (literally right beside it). Like I said before it doesnt matter how many times I scoop the box, he needs the box to be completely scrubbed and with completely brand new unscented litter. His sister is larger than he is and she uses the boxes with no problem. There is no cover on either box though one has the option. I haven't taken him to the vet, unfortunately Im going through a rough financial transition period and don't have the appropriate funds to take him to get looked at. It hasn't seemed to me like it is medical, he hasn't been behaving out of the ordinary. I will see if I can get a larger box or something soon to see if that will help at all. Thanks for the advice, bring any more comments if you think of something!
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LukeMePirate View Post
Thanks for the Replies everyone. He is now about 1.5 years old. I have two litter boxes. The litter definitely makes a difference, he will only used natural unscented litter. I have two litter boxes, both of a decent size, one upstairs and one downstairs. They were raised as kittens to share a box, and it hasn't been a problem until the last 2 or 3 months. He will always eliminate right next to the upstairs box (literally right beside it). Like I said before it doesnt matter how many times I scoop the box, he needs the box to be completely scrubbed and with completely brand new unscented litter. His sister is larger than he is and she uses the boxes with no problem. There is no cover on either box though one has the option. I haven't taken him to the vet, unfortunately Im going through a rough financial transition period and don't have the appropriate funds to take him to get looked at. It hasn't seemed to me like it is medical, he hasn't been behaving out of the ordinary. I will see if I can get a larger box or something soon to see if that will help at all. Thanks for the advice, bring any more comments if you think of something!
To me that comment says the box is too small. If he is right beside it he may be missing. Have you ever caught him in the act and seen if he is in or out of the box?
If it were me going through these issues, besides finding a way to get them to the vet, I would be getting two large boxes and placing them in the same room. Not too close together. The large Rubbermaid containers work really really well for litter boxes. If the walls are too high you can cut a hole in the side of the box so the kitties can get in and out without problems although I haven't had any problems with that. It may be an easy fix.
Just as an FYI - cats are very very adept at hiding illnesses and pain.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 11:31 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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I am leaning towards somesort of urinary infection. Somehow it does not make sense that all was fine and then up to 3 months ago, this problem arose.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 11:55 AM
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If you can't visit the vet right now, try the suggestion of a rubbermaid bin with a hole for him to go in, or some similar high sided box to see if he is just over shooting the box.
Also if he will let you have a good close inspection of his genital area (I know it's a bit gross) but if there is any traces of red staining it likely indicates blood in urine which means you will NEED to get to the vet because it's a pretty sure case that it's a tract issue. Inspect the litter as well to see if there is reddening in the urine.

Ask around your local vets to see if any of them have payment plans, a visit such as a UTI should only cost about $100 or so, especially if you are able to get a urine sample to bring in, but payment in instalments should be reasonably priced.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 01:07 PM
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You didn't mention what food Baccus is eating. If it's kibble, you can save yourself a ton of vet bills by switching over to wet food instead. Unfortunately male cats in particular are at great risk of developing a blocked urinary tract, and this is almost always caused by a dry food diet. More info on that here: http://www.catinfo.org/feline_urinary_tract_health.htm

Something else that might help is Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter. It contains a special herbal blend that many cats find irresistable to pee on. You can find it at most PetSmart stores.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 12:04 PM
LukeMePirate LukeMePirate is offline
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The only problem I have with the box too small theory is that he will go in places where the box isnt. When we used to "punish him" by putting him in the bathroom we would leave one box in there so we didn't have to move it all the time. When that happened, he would poop right next to where the box usually was. In terms of sickness: Im no stranger to animals, i was raised on a farm, and there are no real signs of it. I will take him to a vet at the first possible moment, but he isn't experiencing any weight loss, none of his orifices look unusual or irritated, his demeanor has not changed at all, he isn't puking, his waste is solid and regular, he urinates regularly, there are no signs of worms, etc. Im fairly certain this is a hygienic/behavioral issue. I am feeding him kibble, but once again that is a finances issue. If i had all the money I needed, I probably wouldn't be posting on a forum and just approaching professionals directly. However, since I dont have finances, and most of my experience lies with outdoor animals, I am posting. When I get my bills and rent paid I will invest in a larger litter box, but something tells me that wont be the end of it.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 12:15 PM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LukeMePirate View Post
The only problem I have with the box too small theory is that he will go in places where the box isnt. When we used to "punish him" by putting him in the bathroom we would leave one box in there so we didn't have to move it all the time. When that happened, he would poop right next to where the box usually was. In terms of sickness: Im no stranger to animals, i was raised on a farm, and there are no real signs of it. I will take him to a vet at the first possible moment, but he isn't experiencing any weight loss, none of his orifices look unusual or irritated, his demeanor has not changed at all, he isn't puking, his waste is solid and regular, he urinates regularly, there are no signs of worms, etc. Im fairly certain this is a hygienic/behavioral issue. I am feeding him kibble, but once again that is a finances issue. If i had all the money I needed, I probably wouldn't be posting on a forum and just approaching professionals directly. However, since I dont have finances, and most of my experience lies with outdoor animals, I am posting. When I get my bills and rent paid I will invest in a larger litter box, but something tells me that wont be the end of it.
I can relate to financial restraints. I did however manage to convince my vet for a payment plan as they know that I am good for it as I have been with them for years. I guess I am lucky in that sense.

I personally have no advice at this point. Maybe ask a rescue group or a shelter if they have any donated litter pans. I know that the SPCA here do have new ones and you pay a fraction of the price.

Good luck to you and the cat of course.
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