Peeing directly in front of litter box
This is Tallie's complicated history of peeing directly in front of her litter box.
A year ago, Tallie, my ten year old cat, peed on the floor of my sunroom directly in front of her litter box. I took her to the vet who diagnosed Tallie with a urinary tract infection.
She was treated at the time and had no other problems until about a month ago when my twelve year old rabbit, Possum, passed away.
Tallie and Possum were not particularly close but they had lived together for ten years so I am sure it was an adjustment for Tallie. I know that cats do not like change very much so when Tallie peed on the floor in front of her litter box, I thought she was upset about Possum's absence.
When she did it a second time two days later, I took her to the vet. She had another urinary tract infection and was treated.
About a week after finishing the antibiotics, she peed on the floor in front of her litter box again. I took her back to the vet, had her urine cultured, and her kidney function tested.
Tallie's creatinine was high a while back so her vet put her on Urinary SO food. The urine culture was negative and her kidneys were doing very well.
Since then, she has peed three more times, always directly in front of her litter box. I scoop her litter once a day and have not changed brand or type of litter.
I give her fresh water daily so she always has access to plenty of water. When she does pee on the floor, I always spray the area with nature's miracle and wipe up any extra so there should not be any lingering smell that might prompt her to continue peeing there.
After the first UTI a year ago, I moved her litter box into the spare bedroom in case the sunroom was too drafty. Her litter box has remained in the spare bedroom ever since.
I bought a new litter box with lower walls in case she is developing mild arthritis and having any pain getting in and out of the litter box.
The new litter box does not have a top to it. Her old one had a top and I read that cats may not like that. I even left her old litter box right next to the new one so that she could choose which one she wanted to use.
For the first few days she used both litter boxes but now she exclusively uses the new, lower, uncovered litter box.
I have been using a Feliway pheromone diffuser for a while, refilling when necessary, but it does not seem to help.
Tallie has also been taking Cosequin supplements that were prescribed by her vet for bladder health.
I have done everything that I can think of and can't seem to fix the problem. I have resorted to placing puppy pads all around her litter box just in case.
I realize that all of this may be behavioral but I keep waiting for it to stop and it doesn't.
Maybe she is upset that Possum is gone. Maybe she is upset because I am not home as frequently as I used to be, but I am a medical student and I have to go to class!!
If she is upset about these things, there is very little I can do to fix them. I cannot bring Possum back no matter how much I would love to and I cannot stay home from class just to keep Tallie company.
I love Tallie to death. She is my baby. I want her to be happy and healthy. She seems happy and healthy but this urinating thing tells me otherwise.
I have done everything I could possibly think of to help her but nothing is working. I want to provide for her the best care that I can but I can't afford to run to the vet every two weeks to see if she has developed another UTI.
I also can't afford to lose my pet
deposit because she has ruined my apartment floors. HELP!!!
I'm sorry to hear that Tallie is having so many issues, and I'm sorry to hear that your rabbit passed away.
Possom's passing may or may not have had an impact here, but I certainly believe it's possible. Even if they didn't seem close, cats often develop strong bonds with other family members of the furry kind.
Stress can play a big role in both litter box problems (with no other signs of ill health), and in bringing on health problems, such as a UTI.
I suspect that Tallie could be experiencing additional stress by the change in routine, where you're away more often than you used to be.
Thanks for giving all of the background information. It sounds like you've done a lot of things right, and I think the puppy pads are a good idea.
I would also suggest that if you don't have one, you get a black light and check for residual urine just to be sure.
The uncovered litter box with lower walls was a great idea, and giving her the choice was very smart. I'm wondering if it might be best to remove the cover from the old box and see if she starts using that, too.
Based on reports, Feliway sometimes works and other times not, but I don't think it can hurt. You can also get the Feliway spray and spray your clothes with it, pant legs especially (where cats often rub) and the clothes of anyone who enters the house.
Another thing you can try is Bach's Rescue Remedy, but again, it may not do anything.
Obviously, if she's getting recurring UTI's, then she's going to need the meds. But beyond that, assuming she's urinating outside the box due to stress, then I would try to address that.
I know you're busy, but if you can't spend as much time with her as you used to, can you give her extra attention when you're home?
For example, I would try setting up a 15 minute morning and evening play session with her to increase her exercise level and interaction with you.
If she has a favorite toy, use that. Feathery fishing pole toys, like Da Bird are usually irresistible to cats.
I'm assuming she's an indoor cat, so is she entertained while you're away? Many toys need supervision for safety, but there are other toys that you can get that can be left out all the time.
We can discuss those if you like, just let me know in a comment.
Does she have a nice window spot where she can watch the birdees? A bird feeder set up outside a window with a comfy cat perch to rest on sounds mighty inviting for passing the time.
Some cats enjoy watching DVD's like "video catnip." Others, not so much.
Speaking of catnip...
Does she have a scratching post? Does she respond to catnip? A catnip laced scratching post or board can go a long way to relieving stress and boredom.
Scratching posts are important, and even declawed cats will use them to stretch muscles and go through the motions of scratching.
In addition, I would make a strong effort to show her more affection when you're together. Talk to her more, give her a favorite treat, have a grooming session, and so on. You can also leave "surprise" treats in areas of the house so that she can forage.
One thing that I find is that in most houses, vertical space is not used as well as it could be. If she doesn't have a cat tree, I'd get her one, or some other type of climbing furniture.
Is she a lap cat/cuddler? Does she urinate outside of the box mostly when you're asleep or not around? If so, separation anxiety (aggravated by Possom's death, perhaps) may be a factor.
If you can't be around that much for blankies, tuna and TV sessions, is there someone else who can come over and spend time with her? That might help.
I hope that helps. Please let us know how she progresses.