Cat people - PLEASE help me!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by ChickenWisperer, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    KY
    Long story short...

    Chester was adopted from the pound about 6-ish years ago. He was born on the streets and had already been adopted once and brought back - why, they didn't specify. He is litter box trained, neutered when we adopted him, and an indoor-outdoor cat. Always has access to food an water. In the time he's lived with us, he's cohabited with two other male cats that were brought into the home as intact kittens and then neutered later. He's never had a problem.

    For a long time everything's been fine, but within the past year - some time after the second kitty came home - he started to pee and poop on the bathroom rugs. We closed the bathroom doors and forced him into the litterbox when he was caught in the act until he relieved himself in there. We thought perhaps the problem was that he wanted his own litter box or wanted it cleaned more often, so we did both.

    No such luck.

    For a long time he was forced to be a mainly outdoor cat to avoid the problem. Started getting cold, he was allowed inside more often. Then the real problems started....

    He started peeing and pooping on the rugs more. And then one day, it sort've went critical mass - now, he'll do it in our dogs crate, on the beds, on the rugs, in dirty clothes waiting to be washed on the floor, on purses or computer bags left on the floor, and just recently he's peed on the couches. Twice. In the span of a month. It's gotten to the point where we chase him downstairs or outside if he starts acting shady - because we know he's on the lookout for some place to use as a litter box. We've changed litter boxes. Litter. Nothing works.

    I'm really hoping for some help. If it doesn't stop, he's either A) going to be put outside permanently somehow (will be hard since he sneaks in when he wants in) or B) he's going back to the pound. At his age, his odds for adoption aren't good. I don't want to do it, but this has got to stop.

    Also, there's nothing wrong with his urinary system or joints, so he's got no excuse not to walk downstairs and use the litter box. As far as we know, he's also never had any kind of traumatizing "events" around the litter boxes.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

    67,972
    15,253
    776
    Sep 26, 2013
    madison Indiana
    the vet checked for infection?? did you change litter/box? i have one doing the same thing except his trigger is plastic and he is 15. guess i would try more litter boxes around the house. i cant do that here or i would. try putting them very close to where he pees.
     
  3. BlessedCountry6

    BlessedCountry6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would have the vet check him. The worse issues with my cat was just a couple yrs before she passed away. she would throw up more and more though. If it was 6 yrs ago he was adopted, was he a kitten or full grown? Is he reaching the end of his yrs? The last yr my cat was in the garage or outdoors because she was making a mess all over and then we put her down because her quality of life was going down hill. If the cat isn't that old in yrs I would think there may be other issues going on. I am no expert!! My cat passed away at 14.
     
  4. cheep cheep

    cheep cheep Out Of The Brooder

    26
    2
    24
    Mar 2, 2014
    Hi. I really feel for both you and your cat. We had a similar experience. We adopted 2 young kittens and in time they were neutered. We'd had them about a year or less and as my husband is in the forces we were posted to Germany. We decided to take the cats (1 female, 1 male) with us. All was well. They moved successfully. After the posting we were sent back to England but this time they had to go into quarantine for 6 months. We had the choice of having them housed separately or together. As they had always been together we opted for them to share. We were told they had got on well together during this time and we visited whenever we could but they were far away from where we lived. Eventually they were released and came to live with us again. All was not well. The neutered tom started spraying everywhere, on the curtains, walls, in corners, you name it it got sprayed! We felt sure this was because he desperately needed everyone to know this was his space and he wasn't about to share with anyone. Just imagine how awful it must have been for him in quarantine, having to smell all those other cats all of the time. He started spending more and more time at our neighbour's house until in the end, he moved in with her permanently. Not once did he spray there. I fear your cat may be experiencing the same feelings. He might simply be finding it too much having to share his home with 2 other cats. If you do ever feel he needs a home on his own why not privately advertise him as I don't imagine it would do him any good to go to the pound first. I hope he soon feels happy again. Good luck.
     
  5. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    6,820
    324
    331
    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    How old is chester?

    There are a few things I am thinking. Unfortunately with cats, it can be very difficult to figure out the root of these issues sometimes.

    Anyway, has he had blood work done at the vet? First thing I would do is get that done if he hasn't had any since the problem began. Kidney issues and thyroid problems can be pretty common in cats, especially older ones.

    Osteoarthritis in cats can be difficult to diagnose, even for a vet. They don't show the same symptoms as dogs and sometimes it doesn't even show up well on x-rays. It certainly wouldn't hurt to put a litter box on the main floor where he likes to stay.

    You mention it started shortly after you brought the kitten in. How is their relationship? It's possible Chester is being bullied by the kitten without you knowing it, and this is his passive aggressive way of showing his unhappiness. I would certainly keep a few litter boxes around. It could be as simple as the kitten ambushing him (Even in play) after using the litter box. Cats are weird sometimes, and its hard for humans to pick up on these things.

    Does chester fight with anyone when he goes outside? Do you notice any odd scrapes and scratches on him? This is another reason cats may start soiling outside of the litter box. In this case, keeping him as an indoor only cat may be an option. (Unless he is seeing cats outside through the window. Again, another common problem in cats.

    It could also be the type of litter you are using. You could try setting up a couple litter boxes with different litters to see if he prefers one over the other. Freshstep has been shown to be a cat's favorite.

    There are a few other things I can think of for you to try. Try removing all the rugs from the floor to see if that helps. Also, blocking off his access to these places he likes to go sometimes works. Or you could put a litter box in the areas he tries to soil. Try different kinds of litter boxes. Cats tend to like uncovered better. Try blocking him off to one area. For example, keep him in a bathroom (with no rugs) with food and water for a few days to see if that helps.

    I definitely wouldn't punish him for this behavior though. He's most likely having a huge struggle internally, and this is the only way he knows how to ask for help. Forcing him to stay in the litter box until he pees is definitely going to make this problem worse for you, as he will start associating the litter box with that. Cats can be such delicate emotional creatures!

    An alternative might be to speak to your vet about medication for him. There are some things that can help, especially if it is a problem of bullying. But there are definitely some great anxiety meds that could really help him. Its not a bad thing for people who are at their wits end. However, if it turns out to be a problem with the newer cat, then it may just be that Chester would be happier in a home where he is the only cat. Hopefully one of these options works for you guys though!
     
  6. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    KY
    Chester is probably about 8 or 9 now. Older, but not end of life. He's still climbing trees and catching squirrels, and seems to be of optimum health. Previous vet visits have proven useless.

    It wasn't shortly after the newest kitten came, but some time after. I can attest that Loki doesn't bully Chester in any sort of way - to put it bluntly, Loki is an idiot and is scared of everything. He's a much larger cat than Chester but is nothing but a giant kitten. He often tries to engage Chester to play with him, but unlike with the previous kitten Chester won't have anything to do with Loki. Loki's feelings are hurt after but he just plods off and finds a place to sleep. Chesters overt way of telling him off is ridiculous though, and due to it Loki rarely tries to play with him anymore.

    I've never seen Chester in fights, but he does spray outside and the previous other younger cat came home with scrapes. But all of this happened way, way before any of the problems started.

    We've tried several different litter boxes and litters. Nothing seems to work. The thing about putting the litter boxes next to where he will go, is that we never know where he will... it changes all the time for no apparent reason. The bathrooms and bedrooms are always closed and unfortunately, so is Hopes crate (which is bad for her), but there are still several places he will go.

    I tried hard to never give negative reinforcement in association with the litter box - but only when he was caught in the act of going anywhere but the litterbox. This just feels like running in ridiculous circles with no answer :(
     
  7. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    6,820
    324
    331
    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    It may worth it to look into a behaviorist for this problem. We have one here at the vet school and she is wonderful. She has saved quite a few cats from going to the shelter or being euthanized. I know the money spent can be hard for some people, but if this is a cat you are attached to or fond of, then I don't think the cost is that bad. Usually there is a consultation and then maybe one or two checkups, but a lot can be done over the phone. I think she also works with people far away over the phone, so maybe it could be an option.

    Here is the website for that: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/hospital/Services/Companion/Behavior/

    The vet I took classes with is named Dr. Perry and she is so helpful.

    I still think moving the litter box to the main floor should be considered. Also, I still recommend recent bloodwork if you haven't done that at the vet. It will at least rule out medical issues so you can focus more on the behavior.

    It's still possible the younger cat may be causing anxiety for the older cat, even if us as humans can't pick up on it. However, if this behavior took a little while to manifest and is now getting worse, there could be something else we are just not seeing. Does he spend a lot of time at windows? Sometimes indoor cats will see cats outdoors and this upsets them. Or even more likely, another cat has been spraying near your house and this is the only way Chester knows how to deal with it.

    If you confine him to a single room with a litter box, does he use the box? I would give this a try and see what he does. If that works, keep him there for a bit and let him get into the habit of using the box again.

    Cats (and dogs) don't usually connect being corrected while peeing or pooping in the house with the act of doing that in the house. Generally, they seem to connect it more with just the act of going to the bathroom while you are watching. This is why cats and dogs will try to get more sneaky when they do this, because they don't want you to see. Some animals, however, will feed off of this attention and do it more often.

    Can you borrow a crate from someone and put a litter box in it for Chester? Maybe he would be more inclined to use it.

    Once owners feel like they are going in circles, its worth it to just try and little thing if it will save the life of the cat.
     
  8. SavageDestiny

    SavageDestiny Chillin' With My Peeps

    410
    94
    118
    Jan 11, 2014
    Bend, OR
    How do you know nothing is wrong? At the very least, a blood panel (including thyroid) and a urinalysis should be done to rule out issues. These things are good to do every couple years anyway to stay on top of things. My oldest girl (14 at the time) was diagnosed hyperthyroid after a routine blood panel. She showed zero symptoms, we never would have known if not for the panel.
     
  9. Chikenbutwut

    Chikenbutwut Chillin' With My Peeps

    257
    15
    108
    Jan 3, 2013
    Benton, KY
    Cats can be quite quirky and hard to figure out sometimes.

    Make absolutely sure there is nothing medically wrong first. Have your vet. check him to rule anything out.

    If he checks out okay...

    Try increasing the number of litter boxes. I would try two boxes per cat. Make sure though that the litter boxes are in kept a quiet space.

    Be sure to clean the boxes out often.

    You may want to confine him to one room while he's in the house and keep a couple of litter boxes in it. Perhaps one with a hood and one without (in case he has a preference you don't know about). This is just to see if he will use the box while he's confined, or to get him reacquainted with the idea of using the box. My advice is not to put him in a bathroom though, as I've found many times they will either use the sink or bathtub drain as a litter box instead.

    If after a bit of keeping him confined and him using the boxes, if he does not use the boxes once he is let out from confinement, a couple of things could be wrong. One, it could be you're not cleaning the area where he's "gone" before well (?). You need a cleaner that removes all traces of where they've gone before, or they will continue to go back to it. I would use an enzymatic cleaner. Two, he could have issues with the other male. He may not like that the other male has invaded what he believes to be his space, so he marks his space by urinating and defecating. He may need to be placed in a home where he's the only cat or you may have to somehow separate him from the other cat, as in, he has his space, the other cat has his. Since he's an indoor/outdoor cat, he'll have had plenty of exercise outside, and while he's inside he can have perhaps a large room of his own.

    As Chickerdoodle said, it may be a good idea to contact a behaviorist if all else fails.

    Hope this helps. [​IMG]
     
  10. chiklee

    chiklee Chillin' With My Peeps

    When a cat rubs against your legs, trees and stuff he is putting his scent on it marking his territory. So he is doing the same by peeing on your stuff its a cat thing they get very jealous of other cats and dogs. If you noticed the urine smells stronger . Its his scent. The only breaker here is to cage him up with litter box no blanket because he will mark that too. Its tough love when it comes this problem. My daughter took her cat with her when she got a place of her own and she had a baby and the cat did the same thing . So I took it back and it never did it again it just didn't want to accept the baby . This is what the vet told me. Cats are finicky animals. Hope this helps .
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by