Kitty poo

SheeshareeIIJuly 7, 2014

We have three cats ages 14, 7, and 5. The middle furkid, weighing in at 22 lbs. of solid big kitty, has been less than thrilled since the arrival of DS two years ago. You could, and still can, see it all over his face. We sent a swaddle blanket home early with my parents to drop off at the house and we tried to introduce slowly.

About 3ish months after DS was born, kitty decided to start going #2 outside the box on occasion. It's maybe happened 10 times during the two year time frame. I was, and still am, pretty convinced it's behavioral but I'm going to take him to the vet Tuesday.

I wasn't sure which one was doing it for a long time until I caught kitty literally getting ready to do his business. Maybe four different times he would act strange and walk around meowing and going near the doors (all our cats are fixed and inside only). Later I'd find a present. Most of the times it's in the hall and a few times behind the couch and once or twice by the side door. Once I figured out what was going on, I believe there was a time or two that he didn't follow through when I paid him lots of gushing attention.

This evening he was meowing in the hall so I went and spent a little special attention time with him which I've been trying to do more anyhow. He was all happy. A few hours later after I came out from putting DS to bed there was a present in the hall right outside his door.

We have one litter box and I know I really should have three. However, I always clean it out multiple times a day, dump and clean the box often, and keep lots of litter in the box. The box is not with their food. The box always had a cover until I removed it about 8ish months ago. About one month ago I bought a new box with higher sides, still low in front. It's as big as they seem to make them. No change in litter. Yes, I have scolded him more than once with finger pointing and stern talking. I've since stopped because I've read you're not supposed to because cats don't understand.........I'd like to look into that more.

Assuming the vet gives him a clean bill of health I suppose I could add another box in the room to start. It's currently in the laundry room. Btw, I use unscented detergent, no fabric softener or dryer sheets. I really, really dislike the idea of having to put an additional box elsewhere, but I'll deal with that if the time comes.

I thought about making a storage bin into a large litter box by putting a hold in the front. Geez, I would hope that's big enough if size is the issue.

Feliway sound like it could work so that's on the list as well.

Don't worry I won't send him outside or get rid of him. And also please know we absolutely do not let DS pester the cats. We'll allow DS to pet the cats gently, say hello, then leave them be. I can't stand when anyone keeps messing with, picking up, chasing, etc. an animal when the animal isn't all for it. I could get on a huge soapbox about this so just please know we don't allow 'that' crap. (Ha, I kind of made a funny.) However, even with that, DS is an active toddler and it's commotion in the house that didn't used to be. All the cats do come out and around during the day. DS has only pet this cat a few times under our supervision, and you could tell he (kitty) wasn't sure what he thought of that.

So have any of you had your cats act like this? Did you overcome? My parents had a cat that started to urinate outside the box suddenly and it was related to a UTI. I also know (now - didn't when this started) poo outside the box can mean medical conditions. I'm going to feel quite horrible if that's the deal. Since it wasn't consistent and happened after DS was born I didn't link it to medical. Oh, and the poo looks normal.

This post was edited by sheesharee on Mon, Jul 7, 14 at 2:31

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It can't hurt to do the vet check.

Other things you might consider:

Have a special time of day when for 5 or 10 minutes you give this cat extra special attention. On your lap, extra pets, brushing if he likes that, interactive play. I had a cat who was jealous of a new cat and started peeing on my bed. Ten minutes a day, right after breakfast, of sitting on my lap (and getting to watch the other cat on the floor *not* getting pets), and the peeing outside the box stopped.

He got to the point where he knew when the breakfast dishes went into the dishwasher, it was his petting time and he'd run and jump up on the sofa to be ready.

A second litter box. Cats are funny about litter boxes. It wouldn't hurt to try this.

What are relations like between the cats since DS arrived. I've known cats to silently intimidate other cats and just by positioning themselves between a cat and the litter box, prevent the second cat from using the litter box. A second box in a different location would solve that problem.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 6:36AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

At least poo is relatively easy to clean. Pee, not so much. If the cat hollers and poos right in front of you, it may be painful and a vet check is in order. I agree about multiple boxes esp for multiple cats who can become territorial, esp if they feel threatened by a new "cat" in the house.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 7:17AM
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I have three boxes for two cats this time around and it has changed my life for the better! My last set of cats shared a box, I had never been informed by my previous vet about using multiple litter, and I had such issues. Definitely add at least one more box but I would actually add two more or even three more. I have one large and two small boxes so they do not take up that much extra room.
Hope he checks out ok after the vet's.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:18AM
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I hope it is a medical problem that is an EASY fix and nothing serious. The fact that he is meowing makes me wonder if maybe it is . . .

Two boxes is a pain, for sure. We used to have one box with 2 cats and it was fine, but tried (and failed) to have 2 more cats (long story-- we loved them but the cats did not get along at all, even though we did a very long intro, put them on Prozac, etc.) in addition to our two. At that time, I added two more boxes. While we are down to our original two cats, I kept one more box (we have two but should have 3-- technically you should have 4 with 3 cats, but I am guessing you know that). The only place for it is in our upstairs hallway (the first is hidden away in the basement). It's a thorn in my side, but I figure that esp. since one of our cats is upstairs a lot and does not like when we have company, it's less stressful for her.

Let us know how your appt goes!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:23AM
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Our cat (now deceased) used to do this when he got older. I never really found a solution. We did put a second litter box in the corner of one room he seemed to target and that did work but then he also found other areas to leave his gifts.

I read that cats don't like the smell of lemon so was starting to leave Pledge lemon wipes on the floor where he would go but that was toward the end of his life and not sure if it was working or not.

You're right that they don't respond well to chastising so not point in even going there.

I also tried changing his kitty litter because I'd read they can develop a distaste for their litter but, again, I'm not sure whether it helped or not. It was so hard to tell when something would work because he'd be good for awhile but then go back to his old habits..

Our cat was the only pet in the house with DH and I. He had a great life so I don't think his behavior was caused from being upset by anything in his environment. I wish you luck with this; I know how frustrating it can be.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:48AM
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Definitely yes on the vet, for your own peace of mind as well as for the chance that there could be a health issue. And yes, on the extra litter box - this may solve the problem immediately. I had never had multiple cats before until starting a few years back. Now we have 4 indoor cats and are caretakers for a colony of ferals which at its height numbered around 15, but is now down to around 9 or 10. (Hard to be exact, as some go walkabout and then reappear later. I should add that ALL of this cats, inside and out have been spayed or neutered.)
All, with the exception of a few, DEMAND my attention - and to a lesser extent with the outside crew - my husband's attention. I guess the ferals aren't very feral anymore. :)
But the point I was getting to is that they are each one jealous at times of the others. Amazingly, I haven't had to deal with any peeing or pooping issues - except right in the beginning during this past horrible winter, because we allowed 4 of the better-behaved ferals (meaning, they didn't pick fights and they proved they knew the purpose of a litter box) to come in during the sub-zero nights. (The others still had the well-insulated shelters we built for them on the porch.) One of the ferals on a few occasions peed inappropriately (he hasn't since). We cleaned it up - fortunately just a "squat-pee" not a "spray-pee" - but it had the effect of prompting one of our indoor girls to squat near the location. (She hasn't done this again either).
We seem to have reached truce status between all inhabitants. Of course, I spend a lot of time with all who ask it of me, though not as much as they seem to think is necessary. :) And since there are so many, we have a cattery, 5 litter boxes and the inside 4 get almost daily leash walks (we're out in the country, so no cars for distraction). In other words, they're all spoiled rotten! :)
I'd also like to know how things go with the appt and the pooping issue. Best wishes!
- Alex

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 9:09AM
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Ask your vet about prozac. I know some people will read this and laugh, but my oldest DD and her DH are both vets and she told me about this. Many years ago when they were first married, they combined households of two dogs and about six cats. One of the cats just couldn't get along with anyone, and besides constant fighting was acting out in ways you are describing. So they put him on a relatively should course of prozac (a few weeks), interrupted the behavior, and after he went off it, he never resorted to those behaviors again.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:34AM
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This post was edited by jstell2008 on Fri, Sep 26, 14 at 20:33

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:14AM
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I would also recommend a larger litter box for the big guy to turn around in. I have a very large corner-shaped box I got from Petsmart but they also have a large rectangle one, too. I use World's Best cat litter.

Our little kitty had IBD and sometimes he just literally could not make it to the box, so you might want to talk about that with the vet. Is his stool hard or too soft?

I agree, poop is way easier to clean up than pee!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 4:39PM
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I had pooping outside the box problems but it was with a new cat who had significant parasite problems. Once that was resolved (which took months) she finally quit using the floor but it took catching her about to go on the floor and taking her to the box along with a lot of "good kitty" praise when she went in the litter box.

When we were going through all this everything I read and heard from the vet is that you should have a litter box for each cat plus one so four litter boxes if you have three cats. I have at times had three boxes (all next to each other) and at one point I did add a fourth but about that time we were getting to the end of the problem so I removed that one and eventually got rid of the third one as well and just have two giant litter boxes remaining. At our weekend lake place where we have regular size boxes, I do have three. I've noticed that they seem to prefer to poop in one box and pee in a different one. I think I would start with a vet check (including a very fresh stool sample - they find more stuff in fresh samples) and adding another litter box.

We had a different behavioral problem with one of our cats when we introduced a new cat to the household. She went on a hunger strike - wouldn't eat anything. We had her checked by the vet and nothing wrong with her. He said we needed to give her more undivided special attention away from all the other cats. After two weeks she finally started eating again but to this day she likes her special time alone with us, without the other cats. Maybe you could try something like that too.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 5:46PM
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Well it's been confirmed he's healthy. I've added another litter box. I actually thought you only needed one box per cat and then after I posted this the other day saw it's that plus one. I'm going to start with just the one extra due to lack of room. She also suggested the plastic storage bin. I just used the extra (large) litter box we had for now.

He went again tonight, while I was putting DS to bed, beside his door. No meowing. So that's three times in a week. His stool still looks normal. She doesn't feel this has anything to do with DS. DH and I still aren't convinced, but hopefully the extra litter box makes a difference. I'll also be sure to spend extra time with him.

Forgot to ask about the Prozac, but I'll keep that as a last resort since it's medicine and oh so much fun to try and give him.

On the positive, I'm really glad it's not urine. That would be horrible.

Thanks for all the feedback and info! I'll report any changes.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:40PM
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My neighbor's cat is on a low dose of Xanax.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:19AM
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Just a thought in case it hasn't occurred to you already: if and/or when he does it again, scoop the poop up and put it in the new litter box, then take him in and show him and praise him.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:31AM
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Do you close him out of any rooms? I had a cat that got mad because we kept the door closed on a spare bedroom that I didn't want to heat/cool. He would poop in front of the door every night. If the door was left open, he didn't leave any presents.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:31AM
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I wonder how things are coming along with this problem.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:20PM
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I've been dealing with a similar problem for months & months. The cat also walks around and meows when he's about to go (I used to chase him around with a litter box, but that got old.) Went to two different vets who said he was physically fine, although I'm not totally convinced he doesn't have a hemorrhoid or something. What typically happens is that he enters the litter box, tries to go, and then freaks out in the middle and starts running. I can't tell if the trigger is a physical or psychological.
I have second cat, which causes some territory conflicts, but ironically the cat with the problem is the one who harasses the other cat when she's using the litter.

Things that didn't work:
New styles of litter boxes - CleverCat, Booda Dome w/ ramp, one from Japan that looks like it has a toilet seat on it
Adding another litter box next to the old ones
Pheromone collar (this actually worked for a day)
ThunderShirt (returned for refund)
Switching to a higher quality food
Separating the two cats while I'm at work

What did work: putting a litter box in a room that has a different floor & wall color than everywhere else.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:07PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

shmooo, what an interesting observation and solution...I would've never thought of it. Have you noticed if the stool looks particularly hard or dry? I once asked a vet about hemorrhoids in cats and he said he never heard of it. But they can get constipated....

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:36PM
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HOpe you've resolved the problem, shee. Our cat started doing this for a while and I was describing it to a friend who has had many cats. She said to look for a few things. One was that they can acquire a dislike for the type of litter, so try to change that. Also, they hate the litter box being close to any heat source. We had our box in a smallish room with a hot water rad. We moved the box and she was just fine. She also mentioned having more than one box, but we didn't have to do this after moving the box.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:03PM
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One of mine did that. I tried extra boxes, different litter, spraying no-go in the area's he'd go, bigger boxrs, covered vs uncovered, foil on the floor...oh my gosh, sooo many things.

He DID have a parasite that the vet did not find. I got Drontal at a Feed Store and have not had a problem since.

One thing I found amusing (not) was despite having MULTIPLE boxes throughout the house-all the cats would use one box, even filling it up and going on top of that! While the others would be empty. I think it was a dominance thing-one would go and another come in and go on top-kind of like what dogs do.

Good luck with this!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:42AM
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Things seemed to be going well, but then found some tonight behind the couch. Company was arriving soon so I cleaned it up quick and didn't think about any of the suggestions at the time. The stool still looks normal. I then checked the litters (they're using both) and they were really full despite cleaning them out, again, a couple hours prior. I'm not sure what's up with that, but I'm assuming it was because they were too full. I'm going to be even more extreme on keeping them clean and if it happens again I'll add another litter. I only have room for three in the laundry room. If I had to add a fourth, it would have to go in the corner of my bedroom - for real. I'm really hoping it doesn't come down to that.

Dktrahan - We do have one room closed, but he's always known it to be that way. That's something I wouldn't have thought of, thanks. It's funny how animals are sometimes.

Shmoo - Thanks for sharing your story. I was also thinking maybe mine had a hemorrhoid. Once in a great while this cat will try and bully the other two. He usually goes after the younger, girl kitty. I've never caught him doing it while any of them were in the litter boxes though.
Wow you tried a lot! I was hoping to hear one of the other things worked before moving the litter box. Perhaps he's sick of BM Northampton Putty and wants to jump on the gray wagon. :)
I'm going to look up ThunderShirt!

Daisy - I tried a different litter in the new box hoping to stumble upon something. It took them about a day to start using the box.

Pesky - Did you end up seeing a parasite then? I was thinking maybe it was that too, she said everything looked fine under the scope. I'll look up Drontal, thanks!
I'm surprised they kept using the same one. I just love it when the keep going over the same spot since it makes it so much fun to scoop.

Speaking of, why on earth doesn't someone invent a decent scooper? A large ss scooper with a square holder. I can always find the chunky colored plastic ones with no holder. Um, the job of the scooper is a wee bit germy. I did manage to find one with a holder once but it was ridiculously flimsy and on the small side. When the scoop broke I replaced it with another chunky colored plastic one doesn't fit in the small container. I found some online with holders but they look flimsy. Found one shaped like a cat statue and the scoop fit in the back, but I thought it looked cheesy. In this day and age I seriously just can't believe there isn't an ideal, good litter scoop with a holder available. End rant.

Thanks everyone! Praying something changes.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 1:19AM
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You may find these 2 articles interesting/helpful.

''Middening is a form of marking (technically, “non-spray marking”). More dominant or confident cats may midden to send territorial messages, while less confident or anxious cats may midden on a human’s things in order to mix cat and human scents into an anxiety-relieving cocktail. The latter is also called associative marking.

Middening is not only a strong visual signal, visible from a distance (unlike spray-marking), but a very strong olfactory signal as well. Cats usually deposit their midden in very prominent locations so it’s not easily missed by other cats, a.k.a. the competition: in hallways or the frequently walked paths of household cats, near doorways leading outside or into certain rooms in the house, and on elevated locations like couches, on top of the dining room table, tables, beds, and the pillow on your bed. They often choose to midden on paths that lead to important resources or in locations that are important pieces of real estate (and about which a cat may feel competitive with other cats).

Many cats will simply defecate in these listed locations as well, but it’s more common for them to defecate in less prominent locations like the corner of a dining room. Typically middening is done away from the center of the home, and away from the nesting area’s food and cat beds. However, a dominant cat who wants to deter other cats may even midden territorially in front of litter boxes or food bowls.

In multi-cat households, one cat may feel an impulse to cover the odor of a housemate’s waste with his own. A sort of cherry on top, if you will. Cats who are insecure about their territory might even step outside the group litter box and leave stool right next to it. The cat’s motivation ��" marking ��" makes this middening rather than mere defecation.

Signs of mere defecation also include your cat trying to cover up the stool with nearby laundry, or claw marks in the carpet from their attempts to cover their stool. Cats will not cover a stool if they’re leaving it for marking purposes. They want it to be seen!''

Here is a link that might be useful: Middening.

This post was edited by mdln on Sat, Jul 19, 14 at 2:07

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 1:53AM
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Shesharee - I use a metal scooper available at the local petco store, and simply store it in a plastic bag, but keep the handle sticking out. Never will I go back to crummy breakable plastic ones again.
BTW, LOVE the tip about wrapping paper box for a litter box; plan to try that one soon! (never knew 1 box for two cats is not considered enough)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:26AM
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So had a similar experience with one of my cats, daisy. It started when she was 2 1/2. She is now 6. After having her medically cleared, I order Dr. Else's Attract cat liter. It works. I have it delivered through Chewy's.

Since our problem was behavior, we determined it was competition between my older cat and his dominant personality with me. Believe me daisy actually received the more attention. It's just his personality was large. Since his passing and since I now use attract there has been a 99% improvement.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 12:08PM
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I have a heavy duty metal scoop too. The plastic ones are just too flimsy for the scoopable litter. I think I got it at Petco.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 12:14PM
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I tried Attract and was thrilled. For about three days. Then he returned to his old ways. Cats are so complicated! (But so darn cute!)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 12:22PM
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DuraScoop (got it at Petmart) - even gave it as a Christmas gift, to a friends kitty. Yes, our cats exchanged gifts.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Mdln - Thanks for posting that. I saw a nice metal one recently, but it didn't come with a container to rest the scoop in. Did that one? It just seems like something you would definitely design with the scoop.

Happy to report there have been no more accidents.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 9:22PM
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Very glad to hear no more accidents.

Yes, a container would be perfect. Unfortuately, it did not come with one. It is very sturdy - don't think it will ever break and you can really soak & scrub it without fear of it breaking. I used a mini trash can as a container.

Thanks for the kitty update!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Oh, a mini trash can is a good idea! I'll look into that.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 12:27AM
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