Cat poops on rug when I take the other cat on a walk

I leash walk both of my cats but can only do it one at a time. After I walk the first one, she poops on the rug while I take the other cat out (15 minutes.) - it is the only time she does this.


They are sibling sisters, very close to each other and me. Not sure if she is stressed by separation anxiety, is jealous or what. Any suggestions?






My thoughts:

I'm sorry to hear that your kitty is having problems.

There are people who will swear up and down that their cat does things out of spite, or jealousy or other such emotionally charged reasons.

I don't rule that out, although I try not to assign too many human qualities to our furry friends as that can cause us to ignore certain important signs or fail to address behavioral issues properly.

I suspect that rather than what we would call jealousy, it's more likely that your cat is suffering from stress due to separation anxiety (as you have mentioned).

There are also, of course, people who don't believe that cats suffer from separation anxiety, but I'm convinced from personal experience and that of others that they do.

I have a few suggestions on how to approach this problem, from a few different angles.

Walk order

This suggestion is quite simple. Do you always walk them in the same order? Reverse the order of the walk. What happens?

Anti-anxiety products

Another idea is to add something like Feliway or Rescue Remedy into the mix and see if that reduces her anxiety.

Gradual separation training

This, in my opinion, will likely have the biggest impact.

Since this is the only time your cat exhibits this behavior, I'm assuming this is the only time that you and the other cat are away from her at the same time?

What happens if you do short separation periods, gradually making them longer?

I would start by getting the other cat ready for the walk and make sure they're both near the door so that she can see the two of you leave. Praise her and give her some affection to make leaving a pleasant experience.

Walk outside with your other cat and close the door. Stay there for just a few seconds and then open the door and come back inside with her sister. Praise her and give her some affection again.

Repeat this process several times in one day, spending only a few seconds outside. Over a several week period, increase the time spent outside and increase the distance you travel away from the door.

I would probably add very small increments, say, 10 or 15 seconds to the separation time each day.

You may be able to make larger jumps in time after the first couple of days. Once she can go one minute without you, then great, increase it to two minutes, and so on, but keep the changes gradual.

Over several days to several weeks, increase the time spent outside until she can go the entire 15 minutes without you without the anxiety reaction.

Note: I'm assuming that she doesn't poop right away. If so, then at first I would find a safe way to leave the door open (so she can't get out).

Begin by going outside with the door open so that she still has that connection with you. After a few times of that, close the door and immediately open it again.

Once she's comfortable with having the door closed for a few seconds, then you can start to walk away from the closed door and proceed as above with an incremental increase in time and distance each day.

A visual trigger?

Does seeing the two of you leave produce the anxiety? If that's the trigger, then placing her in a room, out of sight might be helpful.

Before you get the harness and leash out for the other cat, place your "problem child" in a small room. See if she does the same thing.

If not, and you can reproduce this little "success," then I would suggest that her anxiety may be triggered by being able to see you two leave the house together. Placing a Feliway diffuser in that room may also be helpful.

Or, perhaps the opposite is true and she would prefer to watch you while you're outside? Can you arrange a window seat for her where she can watch you two walk away?

Other company

Is there anyone else at home when this is going on? If so, can they observe her and/or comfort her? If not, can you invite someone over during this time as a test to see if that helps?

Extra attention

Have you tried giving her extra attention and lots of praise right before and after her walks?

Keep your own anxiety in check

Finally, make sure that you don't have any anxiety and that you're not rushing through the walking experience as though it's a chore.

If you show anxiety or stress, your cats may pick up on that. Use your voice and your body language to reassure both of your cats that this is a pleasant experience and that you are not stressed.

I hope that helps. Please use the comments for thoughts or questions and let use know how she does!
-Kurt

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