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Cat pooping on floor! Help!!! (14)

Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

I have two cats, one is just over 2 years old. She´s lived with me since she was a baby. I never had a problem with her litter behavior... that is until my fiance started living here almost a year ago.
She pees in her litter box, but ALWAYS poops about 2 feet away from it.
I´ve discussed this with my vet, and we´ve tried everything...EVERYTHING. Using different litter/sand, getting bigger litter boxes, cleaning more or less often, litter liners, litter deodorizers... we even have a self cleaning box. She´ll poop in the box only ONCE after we give the litter box a good washing outside... but there´s no way we can wash it out every time one of or kitties uses it! We scoop our regular box every day to every other day, and obviously the self cleaner cleans itself...
She knows she´s not supposed to do it, because if we´re watching her, she won´t... she paws at the floor and when we go over she stops and pretends she wasn´t doing anything and waits until we go to work or to sleep. Then, as if to prevent us from finding it and getting mad, she´ll cover it with different things... even going as far as bringing toilet paper out of the bathroom and covering it over.
For example, last night she kept going to the litter box, digging in it, jumping out and walking away then pawing at the linoleum. She knew I was watching so she pretended she was investigating our floor. I fell asleep on the couch for a few minutes, and awoke to her pawing at the floor around a pile of poo. She looked at me, hopped into the litter box, peed, and went on her way.
Any suggestions? I was looking into those CatGenie kitty toilets, but unfortunately based on the way they have to be set up, our bathroom is not big enough. Are there alternatives? HELP! I´m sick of cleaning poop off the floor... and god forbid we ever have guests over...!

Quote | 9 years ago
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I feel your pain - Sophie has a habit of pooing right beside her litterbox. We´ve also done and tried everything everything you have. She´ll use the box when it´s freshly clean once or twice then, back to the floor. Sophie´s issue started when I adopted a second cat and has continued now that I´m fostering. I think the stress has just translated itself into pooing outside the box, and she just wants me to know she´s not completely happy with her circumstances. So I give her a break between foster cats to regain her equilibrium, but I accept that they can be stressful for her and that I have to pick up her poo when it is. When there´s no physical/health reason (and I assume your vet has ruled that out) stress or a dirty box is the usual culprit. It sounds like you keep her box clean, so I´m guessing possibly stress. Was the other cat already there when you adopted her? How does she relate to your fiance? Is he responsible for any of her care/feeding? If not, that might help if she´s still having trouble accepting him. Above all don´t punish or frighten her for bad pooing - it will add to any anxiety she might be feeling.

Some cats hate sharing a box - do you have one box for each cat? Vets/behaviourists usually recommend 1 per cat plus an extra box (preferably placed in different rooms so the territories are different). I only have a storage room for litterboxes, so I have to keep them both in there. Most cats hate perfumes and won´t use any box if there are scented litters or deodourizers in it. I have used a scented litterbox deodourizer to discourage Sophie from floor pooing by sprinkling some on the floor where she tends to go. Can you put a small box with just a bare sprinkle of litter in it on the spot where she´s been pooing? If she´s gotten used to pooing on a bare floor you might be able to slowly increase the amount of litter until she´s comfortable with the box again. Can you put a plastic runner or mat on the floor in that spot? She might dislike the feeling enough to use her box. When I pick up Sophie´s poo I put some back in the box in the hope she´ll smell it in there and remember that´s what it´s for.

I googled "inappropriate elimination"+feline and a number of sites came up. These ones looked good. Good luck!

http://www.newmanveterinary.com/feline.html
http://cats.about.com/od/litterboxproblems/Inappropriate_Elimination_in_Cats.htm
http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/housesoiling.html

Quote | 9 years ago
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Wow thank you so much for the detailed response. Let me answer your questions to me one by one haha...

My other cat already lived here for two years before I brought her home.

She gets along very well and is very affectionate toward my fiance, however since he moved in he has changed a few things that I used to let her get away with (for example, she´s no longer allowed free roam of the bedroom or to sleep on our bed- he has allergies). I thought this might have caused a bit of stress to her, almost as if she´s saying "You´re in MY house now clean my poo off the floor". When he cleans her poo she watches him, but she watches me as well. He is definitely involved in their care... feeding, changing their water, cleaning their litter, playing with them. She even sleeps on his lap and he lets her. He´s started taking allergy meds to be able to be around them and not be uncomfortable.

We have two boxes, one for each cat. One is the self cleaner, the other is a regular extra large pan. We only have a one bedroom apartment, and the litter boxes are in the hallway, about ten feet apart (there´s no place for separate rooms, unless we want the box in our bedroom...which wouldn´t work well). She poops in the middle of the two boxes, smack in the middle of our hallway. I was thinking of putting down a runner there, but anytime we put anything there to dissuade her from going, she goes next to it. We do put her poo back in the box after picking it up off the floor, and she will go over and smell and bury it. But she doesn´t change her ways.

We have been using a scented Arm and Hammer baking soda deodorizer especially for cat boxes... maybe we should try regular baking soda.

However, wouldn´t she not be using the box at all if she disliked anything about it? She uses it to urinate every time (knock on wood)... although I suppose that could be because she knows the pee is liquid and gets absorbed by the litter instead of making puddles, which cats in general don´t like. Either that or it´s because pee is less smelly, or its quicker for her to pee, or... who knows. Any idea there? Not that I´m complaining, urine would be much harder to clean up and more messy, as it would get stuck in the crevices of the linoleum and such.

Anyways, I think I answered everything... do you have any other suggestions? I will definitely check those sites out, although I have read similar sites before. Maybe there will be something new on there.

Thank you SO much for your help!


Quote | 9 years ago
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Wow you really have tried it all. Sophie always pees in her box as well, so I don´t know why she has to poo outside it and she isn´t talking. Is you hallway too big to put a runner down that extends from box to box? I´m thinking of the plastic kind you can buy by the foot at hardware stores. The Arm and Hammer stuff I think you´re referring to is the one Sophie really hates - the scent is very strong. Try switching to either plain baking soda or a mineral/enzyme deodouriser. They are available at petstores usually - no scent at all. It´s supposed to be a chemical reaction that neutralizes the odour. if you aren´t already, try switching to unscented litter. In the end, it really could be as simple as her wanting to sleep in your room at night and not being able to. Even if she´s not scratching at the door, maybe she just wants to have that freedom. It´s also remotely possible that something frightened her one day when she was using the litterbox (and you weren´t there to see it) and she associates the fright (eg: loud scary noise in the apartment hallway) with pooing in the box. That´s remote though - she might have stopped peeing in it too if that´s the case. Keep an eye out for dander controlling shampoos or treatments you can try on her that might help with your fiance´s allergies. Febreeze also makes an allergen controlling spray (I suspect it just controls how much extra money you have in your wallet) but you never know.

And if you solve the problem, PLEASE let me know how.

Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

Well, I will try regular baking soda... I think I´ve tried it before but at this point I don´t even remember haha... And I have tried unscented litter. Different brands, scents, scentless, different textures, even plain sand. I don´t know!
The bathroom is right off of the hallway, but she loves the sound of water to the point where if we don´t close the bathroom door all the way she´ll watch us shower or stand on the tub and watch the water close up. Loud noises don´t scare her much, if anything she gets excited and tries to investigate...so I don;t think that´s it, and like you said... why wouldn´t it affect urination as well? lol it´s so frustrating!
Thanks for the allergy control hints, I think he´s becoming immune though (he didn´t have much of a choice...) but anything that can help is great.
I will continue on my mission to solve this mystery... and trust me if I do you´ll be one of the first people that knows the secret!!
Good luck... if you make any break through discoveries be sure you tell me about them! hehe

Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

I would try putting a bowl with a small amount of dried food in it over the place your cat keeps going where it´s not supposed to.
Cats are generally clean animals and won´t go to the toilet where they are fed or food is!

This seems to work well with toilet training kittens too, it worked with all of my cats and any of the cats at work who try and claim territory by spraying & pooing on the floor.

Hope it works for you!

Quote | 9 years ago
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Cats hate change. Mr pees on the boxes when I pack to move. Maybe she will stop when she is ussed to it. boots pooped under the bed and I figured that she only likes fresh step litter and if its another brand she will poop under the bed. gove her time and good luck.

Micini 
Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

I not a professional (of course) but there is here a problem of behavior and it is necessary to find the cause of it. Just two questions which appear important to me :
- How occurred the presentations between your fiancé and your cat ;
- How are their "relationships" ?
When I started to see my husband, my cat Mickey was terrible during a few months.
His behavior was very different in contact with my husband even if this last were very nice with Mickey.

Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

In response to bratzandcatz-
First off, thanks for replying to my post!
I will try putting the dried food there, however being that she poops right next to the litter box I´m afraid of putting food near there which might dissuade her from using the boxes even to urinate. Do you think that would affect this? And also, I´ve noticed lately after she´s done eating she´ll go over to her food bowl and paw around it as if she´s trying to bury the food like she tries to bury her poop on the floor. Could it be a food issue? I don´t know ho that would be related to her elimination location, but I thought I´d throw that out there now that you´ve mentioned food.
Thanks again!

Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

In response to teri13-
Thank you for replying as well! I guess I can give her time to get used to my fiance, although it has been over a year and she does seem to like him... but I know cats are generally finicky animals anyway so who knows. I guess we´ll have to see!

Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

In response to Micini-
Thank you for your reply!
My fiance was introduced to my cats pretty gradually... he used to come over a couple of times a week and worked into moving in... it wasn´t like one day all of a sudden some weird guy came out of nowhere and started living here. However when he first started coming around he didn´t liket he cats being all over him due to allergies... I wonder if she sensed this somehow and is nervous with him being around now or something?
Other than that their relationship is great, she cuddles with him all the time (he has started taking allergy meds), and he is a big part of their care (at the moment we work different schedules so he feeds them dinner for the most part, gives them water, and we alternate cleaning the litter).
My fiance has lived here for about/maybe a little over a year now... I would think she´d have gotten used to him by now but who knows!

Kris 
Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

The current issue of Cat Fancy (Just got it today in my mail) has an excellent article on this exact topic. You might want to check it out. But a few things.

First, have you had the cat checked by your vet to ensure there are no medical issues?

Second, the general "rule of thumb" is one litter box for each cat PLUS 1 extra - so for 2 cats, you´d need 3 boxes.

Third - have you changed the brand of litter lately? Is it scented?

Fourth - Do you use litter liners? Plastic retains odors (what most litter boxes are made of) and if you don´t use liners, that smell ´soaks´ into the plastic. I´d suggest washing them thoroughly with a bleach solution or getting new boxes.

Some ´smells´ that cats don´t like that you can put in the spot where the cat is eliminating inappropriately are orange (an orange peel works great), Feliway (can pick up at most pet stores) or a fav of mine - Jean Nate (yes, that body splash for us humans). I love using Jean Nate as it freshens up the room as well.

Just a few suggestions, but do check out the new Cat Fancy!

Beau 
Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

By all means, have her checked at the vet to rule out any health issues. But, it sounds like to me that it´s a territorial issue. He came into HER territory, and "took over" by changing things where YOU are concerned...she doesn´t get to sleep with you and she now has to share MORE of your time with him, now that he´s living there. Cats like routine and he changed hers, and also took you "away" from her some. If she´s obviously doing it on purpose, it could consequently be an attention getting scheme on her part.
Another thought I had is that by having the 2 boxes so close together, is it possible it´s confusing her as to which one to use, so she just goes in between them??? Just a thought....

Quote | 9 years ago
edited by

In response to bratzandcatz-
First off, thanks for replying to my post!
I will try putting the dried food there, however being that she poops right next to the litter box I´m afraid of putting food near there which might dissuade her from using the boxes even to urinate. Do you think that would affect this? And also, I´ve noticed lately after she´s done eating she´ll go over to her food bowl and paw around it as if she´s trying to bury the food like she tries to bury her poop on the floor. Could it be a food issue? I don´t know ho that would be related to her elimination location, but I thought I´d throw that out there now that you´ve mentioned food.
Thanks again!


Hi again, it shouldn´t bother her, hopefully it will make her be more accurate when going in the litter tray.
We had one particular cat at work aged 11 years who would never use the litter tray and her owner was going crazy so after the all clear from the vet, she came to stay with us, we set up her her room with about 12 small bowls on the floor with small amounts of dried food in them, not really enough room for a cat to go to the toilet easily except in her large litter tray (we have very large rooms,she had her viewing shelf and bed to relax on) , every few days a bowl was removed till eventually she figured out that she had to use the litter only and her room ended up being bowl free, besides the ones she ate out of and she went home completely litter toilet trained.
With mine and the one´s at work they don´t eat much of the food in those bowls either it just deter´s them from going in the same place. I´m glad you mentioned the food thing, does she do it with all food or have you tried a new one at all?, the cat´s at work who do the same thing do it because they don´t like a certain flavour, if I ever tried to give my cat Phoenix a cheap brand of cat food he would always tried to bury it too, even to the extent of dragging over paper or tea towels and putting them on top of the unwanted food, he is such a cheeky spoilt boy!
Maybe she could be going on the floor also because she´s gone off the food and she is trying to let you know!!!!

Let us know what happens!!!!
Good Luck.

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