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Old 01-22-2010, 10:54 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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Default Heeelllllp - Inappropriate Elimination Issue

I'm in need of some help with my cat's inappropriate elimination issues and I could use some new eyes on the subject. Pi would be a nice cat if he didn't insist on peeing out of the litterbox.

Basic Stats:
  • Adopted at 6mo, neutered at 10mo.
  • Healthy DSH - ideal weight, no UTI or other issues
  • Eats 1/4 cup Kirkland Chicken Adult cat food twice/day, in a treatball in the am and in his bowl at night
  • Fresh water available at all times - consumes about 1/2 cup/day

Behavior Summary:
  • used an expen to contain him for several weeks after coming home, then gave him free roam of my home office
  • peed in a dish chair around 9 mo so restricted to expen again for about 6 months
  • tried free run of the house for one week before discovering that he had been exclusively urinating in our papasan chair
  • restricted him to my home office again, this time for about 6 months
  • talked to cat behavior specialist via email, she suggested a preference test to determine if maybe he didn't like his litter and/or box.
  • tested clay clumping, World's Best, A&H Essentials, crystal, and pelletted litters. Clay clumping won.
  • compared litterboxes, pretty much a draw, tho he used one for pee and one for poop. Switched to covered box with clay clumping litter.
  • Noticed that he peed in a dog crate about 8 weeks ago - chalked it up to his box being dirty and started cleaning it out more frequently (daily instead of the prior every 2 days).
  • Noticed that he had peed on an envelope about 10 days ago, added a second litter box (open with same litter), all seemed aok.
  • discovered today that he's been peeing in a box of papers - obviously has been using this location for at least a few days

In response to my discovery this evening, I set up the expen again and demoted him to confinement within while I figure out what to do. Any suggestions?? I'm trying to do right by my cat but hhis problem keeps expanding and I CAN'T/WON'T put up with a cat ruining everything I own.

With an upcoming move comes a few more options, namely giving him an area that he can't ruin no matter where he pees and thus where we can all be much less stressed. Our current top pick is him becoming DH's "shop cat" in his woodshop with an attached "cat run" for safe outdoor play. DH spends hours out in his shop each week and he and Pi get along better than Pi and I do currently so it seems like a win-win. Unfortunately we have to figure something out for the next 6 months; we are in a rental currently so no ability to build cat pens.

Anything I'm overlooking? Any tips/tricks that helped your cat?
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:36 AM
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First and foremost I'd still have a U/A run..preferably a send out sample. Behavioral urinating isn't uncommon, but a health reason is still a common cause. You might try a Feliway type plug in in the room where he stays, or they also have collars.

I do believe there are also medications you can try that have had success, as a last resort.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:13 AM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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He had a UA done when he ruined the papasan and all checked out aok - the behavior pattern for the most recent issue is the exact same.

I am considering the Feliway now, but really don't like the fire hazard a plug-in creates when no one's home (if it runs out you can have a problem I hear). Know anything about the spray and how it works comparatively?

I've talked to my vet about the issue and she never mentioned drugs at all, just that in her experience often surface preference cats do better when they have access to the outdoors in some form.
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:13 PM
babymomma babymomma is offline
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hmmm Thats odd..

Usually with an issue like this he would have crystals or a UTI. Therefore associating the liter box with pain... But you've ruled that out..

Do you know more about his backround? He may have been taken from his mom before she taught him to use his box.. Although that is unlikely, most learn anyways.
Gotta tell ya, Im stumped..

With cases like this I always assume an health issue (Could be something other then a UTI or crystals.) It seems to be the only time cats act strangely (Ok ok, So ALL cats are strange but you know what I mean) :P

Is he stressed out? Do the dogs pester him? Has there been many changes in his life lately? I would confine him to one room from now on and gradually let him have more freedom using gates.
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Old 01-23-2010, 06:00 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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That is very strange, if you are SURE he does not have a health problem (UTI's are very common in male cats fed only dry food) then you should try adjusting litter box and litter again, and confine.

Clean the box often, even if it means twice a day. Get big boxes, some people use big plastic storage containers (underbed type, they are not high but large). Try cat attract litter: Precious Cat Litters - Quality Cat Litter

Clean everywhere he's gone with nature's miracle or another enzymatic cleaner. Even after you allow him free access again lock him back up when you are not home or are sleeping.

He's not declawed is he?

Does he like the dogs? Do you have any cats and if so does he seem to like them? We had a few cats in the shelter who would pee all over the house if they lived with other cats, cats just stressed them out.

Make sure his food is not near the box and make sure he is not having negative associations with the box (getting spooked repeatedly). If he is then relocate the box to someplace "safer", less in the middle of everything but not so out of the way that he doesn't feel like going to it (for instance my cats spend all their time with me on the first floor, if I put the litter box in the basement they might not feel like going all the way down there to go).

litterbox problems can be really hard, I'm glad to hear you have been working on the problems though, lots of cats get dumped in shelters for their peeing issues.
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Old 01-23-2010, 06:05 PM
Criosphynx Criosphynx is offline
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will he use it at all?


My cat was very ill for a while and I had to retrain him to use it. Everytime I heard him in it I would rush in and give him a treat in a bowl next to the box. Hes been accident free for over a year.
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Old 01-23-2010, 06:58 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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Pi's prior history: Pi was brought to the shelter at about 9 weeks of age with his littermates. He was an exclusively outdoor cat before being brought in. Once at the shelter he was kenneled with his littermates - they all got a nasty URI and went into foster care where they were confined to one room with all their stuff (toys, litterbox, food/water bowls, etc.) - no problems with elimination were noted and he was introduced to dogs and other cats in foster care with no issue.

Additional health info:
  • He is not declawed
  • At adoption he tested positive for FIV but has since tested negative and is considered negative by our vet.
  • He was antibiotics and lysine for something like 8 weeks to try and kick the URI.
  • At my home he was on lysine and dmg for 6 months until the first negative FIV test.
  • He had diarrhea issues until we found the right food (about 8 weeks) and has been fine since.

Pi's life has actually gotten less stressful in the last month - prior to Christmas he and I were in conflict a lot because he got in the way all the time and was being mean to one of the dogs whenever I was in my office. I got a laptop for Christmas and have been spending less time working in my office so he and I have had much more positive interaction and he's not having to deal with the dog he doesn't like more than 2 or 3 times a week instead of multiple times/day.

He likes one of the dogs (they play with each other very well), harasses another, and is downright pissy with the puppy. We don't have any other cats and the room he's in is on a second story so any other cats outside are not visible or heard.

He currently has 2 litterboxes, both deep rubbermaid tubs, one surrounded by a storage container that serves as a top load litterbox, the other open. Pi appears to be using both normally now that he's in tight confinement - the open one is used for urine, the enclosed one for poop. Both are scooped daily and are enclosed behind an expen so that he will not be disturbed while pottying.

I tried feeding him outside of the enclosure his boxes are in and that's when he decided peeing in the dog crate (where the dishes were) was a good idea.

I might try another litterbox preference test, but I'm not doing another litter test because we literally tried them all the last time and the clay was a clear favorite. I may look into Cat Attract, though - sounds like it could be very useful.

For a litterbox preference test, am I missing any options?
  • top load covered
  • side load covered
  • open, deep, normal size
  • open , deep, extra large size

Any thoughts on the automatic scooping boxes?

Just to clarify one small point - Pi's *never* getting free run of the house, ever. The last time he did (for less than a week mind you) he destroyed a chair. I'm trying to find a way to allow him access to a single room again without peeing problems - his current enclosure is 6'x3'x3' and it's well appointed but def a step down from his 10'x10'x9' office room.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:03 AM
sammgirl sammgirl is offline
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Good God you all are patient. I'm sooooo glad that Mr. Meowgi doesn't do that...geeze...*knock on wood*

However, he does destroy things...

I really don't know what to tell you, other then due to his life circumstances the best you can hope for is to find a method that gets through to his kitty brain.

Good luck!!
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:51 PM
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JustaLilBitaLuck JustaLilBitaLuck is offline
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I don't have any advice besides what's already been given but, let me just say, that I'm so so so glad that my cat gladly accepted the first litterbox I bought and the first type of litter that I threw in it.
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  #10  
Old 01-24-2010, 10:59 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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I will admit, I have considered rehoming him several times, but who wants a cat with a confirmed peeing issue?! I'm not going to give him to just anyone and I certainly wouldn't dump him or send him to a shelter, so I'm bound and determined to try my best to fix the issue and in the meantime figure out a good living situation for him within my limitations.
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