litter box aversion due to health condition

gibby2015December 4, 2013

Now that my new cat's diarrhea seems to be improving I'm starting to wonder if the inconsistent litter box use problem is going to be resolved and how long that might take. I had a cat with a UTI who started peeing outside the litter box and once the UTI was resolved she immediately started using the litter box again consistently.

If anyone else has had this problem what was your experience?

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In my experience, some cats will return to the litterbox once health is restored, and some won't. There is a product called Cat Attract that is used in the litterbox that may help, but I've never tried it. I think others have had good luck with it, though. Once your kit's stool has consistently normalized, you may want to give it a try.

Also, it would be worth the effort to buy a couple of new litterboxes, put different types of litter in them, and place them in different locations. You don't know if your girl is avoiding her litterbox because of associations she has with the box's odor, type of litter, or location ... so offer her other options.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Oh dear - that's my worst fear - that she will never consistently use a litter box. That would be very sad as I wouldn't keep her under those circumstances. I'm going to try not to think about that scenario right now and think positive that she will get back on track.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 12:52PM
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I would be interested in hearing from others that have had litter box issues and in their situation, where every solution was tried, did they ever see an improvement if the cat was allowed outdoors? I often wonder if anyone would see the problem solved by just offering outdoor access to either a run or kennel that had a sand or soil flooring....or a safely enclosed back yard.
Fortunately, my home has a yard and it would be easy for me to set up safe access to it, so that would probably be my last resort before losing all hope.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 3:00PM
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When a cat pees outside the box it's usually because it hurts to pee and they associate pain with the box. Have the cat checked for a uti which is a simple antibiotic fix. My one cat kept doing it out of the box but thankfully it was right on the floor in front of the box so I was able to put pee pads there. The vet was convinced this cat was neurotic and put her on a low dose of a sort of Prozac for cats. She has not peed out of the box since!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 6:53PM
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My new cat has been checked for everything and treated for everything she had. She didn't have a UTI. She has the runs and already treated multiple times for every kind of parasite and no evidence of remaining parasites. So the diarrhea is now thought to be related to food sensitivity. Been dealing with this for two months since we got her and it's been far from simple.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 10:12AM
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spedigrees z4VT

My guess is still that you are dealing with giardia or coccidia. Both are very difficult to cure and often take multiple treatments for at least a week. The protozoa do not reliably show up in fecal samples.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 3:27PM
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Could be - the vet acknowledged they can be tricky to deal with. Time will tell I guess.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 9:52AM
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She's making progress - most normal poop she's had since we got her. Not 100% normal 100% of the time but more and more of her poop is completely normal. Plus she's not going to the litter box 10+ times a day and pooping a few drops or a little puddle.

I'm still not completely confident she won't go outside the litter box but we have been letting her stay out and I'm inspecting all her corners and not finding any pee or poop. I really, really hope she has turned the corner.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Update - poop is now entirely normal on ID food and nothing else. I'm about to switch her off that to some kind of food she can eat long term, per vet's recommendation. She had the diarrhea problem when she was eating super, duper grain free Blue Buffalo so will switch her to something more like the ID which seems to have all kinds of "bad" stuff in it - grains, gluten, etc.

She's also doing much better with the litter box compliance though not 100%. She no longer poops outside the box at all. I think the litter boxes and litter are now all to her liking as she uses them most of the time but still does head for the corner sometimes to pee. She seems to do it right in front of us and I've caught her several times as she squatted and when I use the "bad kitty" tone of voice, she runs right to the litter box. She also often comes in and uses the litter box when I'm in the utility room so I get quite a few opportunities to use the "good kitty" tone of voice and pet her and praise her after she does her business.

So I'm hoping the positive reinforcement, behavior modification efforts will get her to the desired consistent results. She is SO much better and her "accidents" continue to decrease in frequency so maybe there's hope.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 12:36PM
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New kitty is now doing great - knock on wood. She's been using the litter box consistently for at least two weeks. Aside from clearing up her stool problems, I think she has really responded well to the "good kitty" praise. She comes into the utility room with me every time I go there and does her business in the litter box so I've had a lot of opportunity to praise her with the "good kitty" tone of voice and pet her when she hangs around by me when she's done. I also caught her a few weeks ago about three times ready to squat in a corner and gave her the "bad kitty" tone and she promptly ran for the litter box so clearly she gets it.

I think she's over the hump on the litter box issue. Now if I can just get her to stop scratching the latest project.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 4:12PM
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Glad to hear!!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 4:52PM
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