Urgent kitty cat question

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Ok so my older cat Lily, who is the kitty in my profile picture, stopped using the litter box a couple of weeks ago. My boyfriend just had total hip replacement surgery. We used to keep the main litter box in the bedroom right next to the doorway. I have two litter boxes but both cats prefer the one in the bedroom because that's where they spend most of their time. We had to move the main litter box to a different spot in the bedroom due to my boyfriend not being able to get around it with his new walker.

    As soon as i moved the box I put l.ily in there to show her where it was. She didn't like it at all. She refused to use either litter box and began pooping beside the couch or in the bathroom on the bath mat. Now that my boyfriend is stronger and using a cane instead of his walker, we decided to move the litter box in it's original spot. Well guess what? Lily still won't use it even though we have moved it back to the place she has always used it. I don't know why she is suddenly refusing the box. What can I do to get her to start using it again? I'm getting real sick of picking up messes in my apartment and it stinks!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Jeez, I wish HelpAngel would appear. She has been AWOL for a while, but she seems to really understand cat behavior.

    I know my daughter's cat was starting to refuse the litter box. I promise to ask her next time we talk what she did. I spoke to her just an hour ago, before I read this post and because of her baby I don't like to call her too often...she is so often engaged. But I will definitely ask when I talk to her next.

    I also have a friend whose daughter does cat rescue and I will call her right now and ask her if she wouldn't mind talking to her daughter, who is cat savvy, about this problem. Her daughter never had kids and her cats are her kids. She is knowledgeable.

    I wish I could help you more. But I don't have the knowledge. I will reach out to those who do to try to help your little kitty. I do know that my daughter was told to put her cat in the bathroom with her litterbox and go in often to praise her in order to limit her space and to try to get her to use the little box again.

    I hope somebody else has suggestions. In the meantime, I will do my best.
  3. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    That would be great if you could ask, Midwest Mom. The last thing I need is difficult child's nosey principal coming in and smelling cat pee or seeing a big mess. Of course it's also gross for us all to live with it and I just want it stopped!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'll ask my friend, CB. However, don't let that lady in your house!!! Seriously, why would she come to your house? She has no authority to come inside!!! I would never let her in my house and I don't even know her...lolol.

    I have to call my friend about something so when I can reach her, I'll get back on the forum. I do know that putting the cat in the bathroom with only the litter box is one way to re-introduce a cat to her box. And it also stops her temporarily from messing up the rugs and keeps the smell to the bathroom. You are supposed to go in often and give the cat love, even if you don't feel like it because of the smell...lolol. Oh, what we put ourselves through for our pets!!! :)
  5. jal

    jal Member

    Since the cat is older is she having any urinary issues? We had an elder cat who had gone through Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)'s and when having a bit would poop outside the box. He never ever did it growing up. But later in his life became afflicted with cystitis. That coupled with his specilized food cause constipation which led to mega colon. When the urge hit he went litter box or not. Not fun at all.
  6. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I never thought about a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Lily is only 2 and a half years old but I suppose it's possible. Right now I can't take her to the vet till I get my first paycheck but when I get paid maybe I should take her in.
  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    The VERY FIRST thing to do with a cat that has quit using the litterpan is to bring it to the vet to be checked for an infection.

    Just like us gals, cats get the same symptoms with bladder infections. It hurts them pee and they have to pee constantly. If allowed to continue, the cat may come to associate using the litterpan with pain and refuse it even after the infection is gone.

    I had this happen with a rescued male that had constant bladder infections. He would poop in the pan because he didn't associate that with pain, but refused to pee in it.

    I spent 8 years cleaning up after this cat because he was my responsibility and to get rid of him would've meant putting him down.

    Meanwhile, I need to move closer to home because my mother is getting frail with age.

    I loved Jakey dearly. He died in June of kidney failure caused by the repeated infections. I miss him terribly, but I do not miss the mess or having my house reek of cat pee.

    Now that he is gone, I know I can rent an apartment when the time comes to sell this place and move

    Squeaky, my other cat, is good about using the pan, but is a clean freak. If pan is not kept scooped, she will kick the urine clumps out onto the bathroom floor!

    If she has to "go" and I am cleaning the pan, she will go in the spot where the pan is supposed to be.

    I will say one other thing about Jakey. I had a necropsy done on him because he went downhill very quickly.

    I found then that the reason he was getting so many infections was because his urethra and bladder were malformed, allowing infection to get into pooled urine because he couldn't empty his bladder.

    His urethra was shorter, straighter, and wider than normal. This is just like in a female cat.

    Like us humans, female urethras are very short and very wide. This makes it easy for infection find it's way to the bladder. If untreated, that infection can ascend to the kidneys and infect them.

    This is what killed Jakey. His kidneys were damaged by previous infections that had ascended, and the last infection was more than his limited kidney function could handle.

    So. Your first step is to get her to the vet ASAP. The longer this is allowed to go on, the more likely it is to become a habit.

    Your next step is to get a large, open litterpan (many cats prefer them) and an unscented scooping litter. Place the litterpan in a bathroom and put the food and water as far from it as possible. Most cats will not soil where they eat.

    Put in a comfy bed that is easily washable. You will have to make time to to spend cuddling and playing with the cat.

    If this doesn't do it. Get a "kitty condo". It is a two story cage with shelves in it.

    Place a small litter pan (again uncovered) on the bottom of the cage. Place food and water on the bottom of the cage as far from the pan as possible.

    The cat will have no way to miss the pan without walking/laying in it. You will find the cat preferring to use the shelves as that gets her farther away from the litterpan.

    Place the cage setup in your bathroom. Once the cat is reliably using the litterpan in the cage, open the door and allow her out into the bathroom. Keep the litterpan spotless. Do NOT use Lysol or household cleaners on the pan when you change out the litter. Use a solution of white vinegar and boiling water.

    This will kill germs and odors while being harmless to the cat.

    Once she is using the pan in the cage while being free in the bathroom. Gate off the entrance to the bathroom. This way the cat can have more freedom, but still go in bathroom to use the pan.

    I'd suggest, with a cat like this, keeping the cage and litterpan setup going for her.

    It's safe, it's out of the way, and she can do her "chores" without feeling threatened.

    If this is Lily, this cat, IIRC your previous writings, has some "issues" as it is. Anything you can do to make life less stressful for her will help with those issues.

    Sorry I haven't been around as much. Life got in the way. Hopefully this will help. If you have any questions, feel free to either post them so you get more input from others, or PM me.

  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    toK's advice is, as usual, exactly right. Cats get Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)'s easily and they don't have any way of telling us other than to go outside the box. If you wait too long to get the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) treated, you not only have higher and much more frequent vet bills in the future, you can also get a cat who flat out refuses to use a box because the connection between the box and pain is so strong.