2 year old cat urinating and defecating on newly laid porcelain tiled floor

by Jennifer
(Sydney NSW Australia)

Please help, we have a 2 year old male neutered cat which has started urinating and defecating on a newly laid porcelain tiled floor.

We have had this cat since our vet asked us to foster a litter of 3 which was abandoned in a factory at 3 weeks old.

From this litter we fell in love with this kitten, and decided to keep him.

We already had 2 Ragdoll cats, 1 male and 1 female (both neutered), and had no trouble toilet training the new kitten with the other 2 accepting him, and advice from the vet to add an additional litter tray from 3 to 4.

As these cats are all house cats and do not go outside, I am fastidious with cleaning the trays each time they are used as I am very aware of the smells associated.

Everything was going well until I had to go away on business for approximately 3 weeks, with the now grown fostered cat deciding to start urinating on the carpet. I put this behavior down to stress and anxiety.

Due to the smell associated even after cleaning, we decided to rip the carpets out and have tiles laid thinking that this would be easier to clean if it happened again. We have never had this problem before as all three were very clean.

The area where the cat urinated was cleaned on advice from the vet and Cat Protection Society with BioZet, a washing detergent containing biologically active enzymes to kill the odor/bacteria and then washed with vinegar as a disinfectant/cleaner.

After using these solutions, the problem was solved and we had a trouble free period with no accidents.

Unfortunately, our male Ragdoll died in August this year and we noticed the fostered cat urinating in the same places again, but this time it was a concrete floor as the tiles had still not been laid.

Again I put this down to stress at the loss of one of the cats and cleaned the area again using the solutions above - it appeared to work for a little while.

The tiles that we had ordered finally arrived and we have just had the tiling finished in the last week and a half.

Ever since the floor has been completed, the cat has reverted back to his old ways, however this time he is also defecating in the same area as well as new ones.

I am at my wits end, I now have the problem that the urine has seeped into the newly grouted tiles on a very expensive floor and all the previous cures are not working.

This cat is a very dearly loved member of the family however I do not know what to do, and do not want to lose him - the vet has confirmed that there is no medical reason, it's behavioral.

I have tried several options from using a citronella deterrent, placing a food bowl in the places (he just finds a new spot or moves the bowl) and the previous methods.

I apologize for the length of my query but have tried to give you as complete a picture as possible any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely

My Thoughts:

The more information, the better, Jennifer. You laid it out very well, and it sounds like you've been doing everything right.

I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your Ragdoll cat, and I'm sorry to hear that your kitty is having so much trouble.

As you've pointed out, it sounds like he's very sensitive to change and reacts to being stressed. Your extended absence and then his Ragdoll housemate leaving him seem to have triggered some separation anxiety or a general anxiety response.

The good news is, the problem resolved itself at some point, so there's hope! If your vet approves, increase his exercise level and interactive play time with you.

It appears that he's also developed a location preference. There are several possible fixes for that.

1) The simplest test/remedy for that is to get an additional litter box (I know, not another one!) and place it on the spot he's using.

If he begins using that litter box, you can then move it, inch by inch each day, to a better location. If his behavior reverts, you start over.

2) If that's not useful, you could try other deterrents, such as aluminum foil. At this point, however, it feels like perhaps he'd just find another spot nearby.

3) The next step would be to deny him access to the area, if that's possible.

4) If he's using other areas now as well, though, I'd probably go right for the isolation retraining.

Confine him to a room with all the amenities and get him back on track without any distractions.

This may stress him more, so it may be best to keep both cats in that room so that he has a companion and doesn't experience more separation anxiety. Spend lots of time with them during this period and encourage play.

I hate to suggest this, but has the vet talked about anti-anxiety medication? He may be able to go on it when he's experiencing severe changes in his life, but not be on it forever.

I'm not sure if these are available in Australia, but you can start with Feliway or Rescue Remedy to see if that reduces his stress level, and add Cat Attract to the litter boxes.

I hope that helps. Please update us on his progress.

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