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Cat Won't Use Litterbox Anymore

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  • Feb 19th, 2019 10:08 pm
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[OP]
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Oct 9, 2010
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Windsor

Cat Won't Use Litterbox Anymore

History:
This female cat is 17 years old, my GF has had her since birth, and until about 3 months ago, used the litterbox when she needed to (rarely). She is an indoor-outdoor cat, where she spends basically 100% of the time in the hot season outside, and almost 100% of the cold season inside (we let her out in the winter when she wants, and I work from home). Until about 2 weeks ago, she would almost always be in one spot; go outside for a "bathroom" break, go right back to her spot. We also have another cat, and he exclusively uses outdoors as a bathroom unless absolutely necessary.

2.5 years ago, she broke her hip somehow; hit by a car, kicked by someone, fell off a high spot (she has "grand mal" seizures maybe 1-2/year), etc. Doctor reset the bone, we did all the things that needed to be done, and now she's better. However, odd thing we noticed after the injury, is she jumps away from her poop/pee after she's done ... like it's a grenade; she may have done this before, but we don't think so.

Now that it's cold, she's inside all day except for ~5 minute outside breaks (where we are assuming she goes to the bathroom, and definitely licks dirt [prefers clay] ). When it was later fall (lets say November), she was inside long enough that she needed to use the litterbox, so she pooped beside it. So, we cleaned it (it was probably not even used yet), and moved it slightly. Then she peed beside it again; bought a new box, new litter. Then she peed on my clothes (which she sleeps on ALL THE TIME). So, no clothes on the ground anymore, she then peed on a random bag somewhere. Then with immaculate floors, she peed randomly in a hallway. Etc etc, she won't use the litterbox. I also vaguely recall her falling out of our corner litterbox, so maybe she's traumatized.

We took her to the vet, and there's nothing physically wrong with her. We've ensured the litterboxes are immaculate, and spread around the house. So, now she's peeing randomly in the basement, which is "better", but obviously not the best. Positive thing is that she's actually randomly walking around the house like a normal cat, so there's a positive.

Question:
Anyone have any advice? I honestly think she WANTS to use a litterbox, as she seems to pick something random to pee on (generally). However, I wonder if she doesn't like how loud it is when she gets in it, is wary of it tipping, etc, and she's been soured to the idea? We use the crystal litter that looks like salt, and no turds are in there for more than maybe 6 hours before I clean it out. I was even debating a "natural" litterbox, full of dirt, but I expect the other cat WOULD use that (he likes digging in plants).
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
6 replies
Newbie
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Jan 23, 2019
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There are a lot of reasons a cat might not use the litter box. When my cat had litter box issues it was because of diabetes and it got fixed once his blood sugar was under control. Kidney problems could also be an issue. But if the vet cleared her then ... it might be a change in the enviroment or she may be having difficulties with it. Was there a change in the house recently? They have these plug-in things that release a calming hormone for cats that can help with stress. You could also look at the litterbox, does it seem like it will be hard for her to get into it? turn around in it?

Honestly, it probably be a lot of trying different things and seeing how she reacts. Hope you can figure it out.
Member
Nov 18, 2004
437 posts
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Kidney disease and diabetes are very common in old cats and can cause peeing and pooing outside the litter box. I find that it's their way of telling us that they are not feeling well.

My, then 16 year old cat (now 18yo) started peeing on the floor in front of me, then we diagnosed his kidney disease with geriatric bloodwork. With food change and supplement, his urinary habits went back to normal.
He recently started to step into his pee and poo in his litter box after using it, and then track it around the condo. It was a nightmare coming home from work everyday. We finally diagnosed him with hookworm and giardia. He still has some soft stool, but at least it's all contained in the litter boxes. We diagnosed the hookworm and giardia with fecal testing.

Has your GF's cat had any bloodwork or stool test recently?
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Our 18.5 year old cat was perfect at always using the litter box and then started to deteriorate rapidly to where she would stay in one spot and just pee there. It was time to put her down.
Yours is 17 which is towards the end of life expectancy, you can run tests and see if there is anything wrong but you should prepare that the end is coming and could be here.
Alex
[OP]
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Oct 9, 2010
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Windsor
CatherineD5079 wrote:
Jan 24th, 2019 2:30 pm
There are a lot of reasons a cat might not use the litter box. When my cat had litter box issues it was because of diabetes and it got fixed once his blood sugar was under control. Kidney problems could also be an issue. But if the vet cleared her then ... it might be a change in the enviroment or she may be having difficulties with it. Was there a change in the house recently? They have these plug-in things that release a calming hormone for cats that can help with stress. You could also look at the litterbox, does it seem like it will be hard for her to get into it? turn around in it?

Honestly, it probably be a lot of trying different things and seeing how she reacts. Hope you can figure it out.
I have managed to get her to pee BESIDE the box, so that's progress :). I am hoping to try and find a box where the litter is in the middle, but the surrounding area is like a bowl; if she pees outside, it'll funnel into the litterbox. Thanks for the help.
iris1026 wrote:
Jan 25th, 2019 5:43 pm
Kidney disease and diabetes are very common in old cats and can cause peeing and pooing outside the litter box. I find that it's their way of telling us that they are not feeling well.

My, then 16 year old cat (now 18yo) started peeing on the floor in front of me, then we diagnosed his kidney disease with geriatric bloodwork. With food change and supplement, his urinary habits went back to normal.
He recently started to step into his pee and poo in his litter box after using it, and then track it around the condo. It was a nightmare coming home from work everyday. We finally diagnosed him with hookworm and giardia. He still has some soft stool, but at least it's all contained in the litter boxes. We diagnosed the hookworm and giardia with fecal testing.

Has your GF's cat had any bloodwork or stool test recently?
She went in for a checkup when this peeing outside the box started; I remember having to give them stool (which is easy; she always poops in the carrier on the way there), and they managed to get a urine sample somehow. They also did blood tests; all AOK. About 3 weeks ago, we did it all again; again, all good.
sherman51 wrote:
Jan 25th, 2019 5:52 pm
Our 18.5 year old cat was perfect at always using the litter box and then started to deteriorate rapidly to where she would stay in one spot and just pee there. It was time to put her down.
Yours is 17 which is towards the end of life expectancy, you can run tests and see if there is anything wrong but you should prepare that the end is coming and could be here.
We know she's old, but she gets around totally fine, seems to have no signs of being in any type of constant pain, she's maintaining her weight, so really nothing that would indicate she needs to be put down other than her issues with the litterbox. In fact, I asked the vet the last time, and he said that he doesn't believe this is something that is imminent.

Thanks for the info though; the GF will be sad to see her go, but she knows full well that this is a decision that is getting closer.
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
Jr. Member
Jul 24, 2018
124 posts
61 upvotes
I'm sure that you've done a lot of searching on your own, but perhaps this article will give you an insight that you and your vet hadn't thought of:

Caring for Senior and Geriatric Cats

Section: "Your Older Cat is Going Through Changes"

Also, you didn't mention if the vet visit included bloodwork?

Some cats live into their 20s...good luck!
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Feb 11, 2009
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gvr
Mine is 21 years old. We went through a nightmare year of him peeing outside the litterbox right at the entrance of our townhouse (thanks god that's almost the only area with tile so he is kind to me... in a way) .

It started from a 3 weeks trip we took and had my husband's friend came and cat sit for us. (I have 2 cats) And the day we came home, there was a puddle of cat pee RIGHT at the entrance. Took me so long to clean up. And after that we found cat pee at the entrance every morning. We had to setup a camera to find out which cat did it. We took the cats to the vet and didn't find any issue.

I added an extra little box at the entrance (It's a tight spot). And most pee was found inside the little box but he still sprayed at the corner outside the littler box. I ended up tapping the section with doggy pee pads and change it every day.

So we finally moved last year. And at our new place, he stopped doing it!!!

My guess is that he felt intruded by the cat sitter and tried to protect his home with marking it. And at this new place, he feels more secure.

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