Percy keeps pooping on my chair and bed

by Eddie Lewis
(Torquay, UK)

Baby Percy in my bed

Baby Percy in my bed

We have 2 cats, Percy a 7 year old male Burmese and Kitty a 5 year old female moggie stray. The 2 cats have been neutered and live happily together. We have 2 litter trays and both use them without (territorial) problems.


On the odd occasion, Percy will poo away from the tray but in fairly specific places being my chair, sofa or bed. He is very attached to me and sits on my lap when he can and sleeps either on or in my bed at night, so it is strange that he should pick these same places to "do his business."

This happens infrequently and sometimes follows a stress such as workmen in the house or a change of some sort. BTW Kitty always uses the tray.

In the last week for no apparent reason Percy has pooed on the sofa in the lounge every day with the result that we keep the door closed but given a moments lapse and he is in there making a deposit. He knows it's wrong as he runs away and hides when hears it has been discovered.

Both cats are flea and worm free and are up to date on the injections, any ideas what is wrong and how to fix it?

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear that Percy is having problems. Assuming that he's been vet checked and is perfectly healthy, it sounds like perhaps he's a bit high strung.

Stress is often a major factor in box problems, but in this case, we seem to have two issues. First, even though the problem was intermittent, it could often be traced back to a stressor, such as some sort of change.

That can be frustrating because there's often no fix for this, except to shield your cat from stress and keep him as calm as possible.

Second, he's now doing the same thing, except there is no obvious stressor. This can be even more frustrating because it's impossible to shield him from the stress if you don't know what the cause is.

It sounds like he has some location preferences, and perhaps a texture preference for soft materials. I can guess that he may be using those areas when he's stressed because those areas and materials give him comfort.

I don't like to read too many people-like motives into a cat's behavior, but some might say that he's using those areas because he knows you'll see that he is in distress.

In extreme cases of high strung cats that get spooked easily, drug therapy can be an option. I would prefer not to go that route, myself, if possible. On that note, I would try any of the various products that are available that claim to reduce stress levels.

Some common options are Feliway, Rescue Remedy, and Jackson Galaxy's herbal products. My hope would be that regular use of one or more of these products may sufficiently reduce the stress and make him less high strung.

I would not make any fuss about his behavior as this will tend to increase the stress and you may end up in an endless loop of bad behavior and reactions to it.

He may know that what he's done is "wrong" but he obviously can't help himself. I suspect, however, that it's more likely that he's responding to the reactions of his humans discovering the "accident" rather than reasoning that what he's done is wrong.

Reacting in any way, except to comfort him in his time of need, only serves to increase the stress. I would clean up the mess without any fanfare, much the way you'd bring your dirty dishes to the sink.

I hope that helps. Please let us know how he comes along.

Kurt

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Dec 06, 2014
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Try new box(es)
by: Kurt

I'm sorry to hear that Percy is still having problems, Eddie. Thanks for the update.

Some thoughts:

I would recommend reading this article on Feline Inappropriate Elimation by Dr. Nicholas Dodman, where he states:

"Defecation outside the litter box is almost always a litter box problem."

In other words, it's a good bet that your cat is displeased with the box for some reason. That includes litter type, location, retained odors in the plastic, and so on.

He goes on to say...

"Typically defecation is close to the box, in its immediate vicinity, and the litter is used little if at all for this function."

In Percy's case, he's even using the box some, but then trotting over to the furniture, right? Not so far off from Dr. Dodman's description.

Then he says...

"Treatment is the same as for urine marking and success is almost guaranteed."

That might be a little overzealous, but he's writing for veterinarians there.

If we assume that Percy's core problem is he is unhappy with the box, then I would try a brand new box with fresh litter.

To reduce the impact any stress may be having on him, I would try Rescue Remedy and a Feliway diffuser. I would also look into Jackson Galaxy's herbal products if needed.

In addition, I would consider giving isolation retraining a try and, if necessary, involve a feline behaviorist or see if your vet agrees to a course of drug therapy with something like Prozac. I'm not a fan of giving drugs to cats, but some of my readers have reported success with Prozac. As a last resort, it may be worth a shot.

Dec 05, 2014
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Percy pooping news
by: Eddie Lewis

Hi again,
Here is the latest update, I have tried being understanding and not telling Percy off for messing on my sofa or bed, I have even closed doors to stop him doing it. The only effect of cleaning up the mess without remark or reprimand has been that he now poo's on the sofa at least once everyday, if a bedroom door is left open he will poo on the bed. When he needs to poo he does some in the (clean) tray and then proceeds to the sofa or bed to conclude.

I am at a loss to understand what is going on in his head, but he certainly knows he has done wrong as he behaves very sheepishly afterwards.

Both cats have recently visited the vets for vaccinations and were also examined and found to be well.

HELP!!!

Eddie

Nov 08, 2014
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Percy pooping
by: Anonymous

The reason for Percy pooping may be a sign of sickness which can be urinary or colon problem. It could also be a sign of separation anxiety because you leave. I would put a litter pan in the bedroom and see if that encourages him to use it and leave your bed alone. If not, then take him to vet because he could be trying to tell you he is not feeling well.

Nov 07, 2014
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Constipation Problem
by: Anonymous

I would suggest that he might have a physical problem. Our cat Casey, a twelve year old tuxedo cat had strained to do number two for years and been on laxatone all these years. It has finally been found that he has constipation/obstipation and he is now on lactulose also. His messes around off and on all these years seem to be related to the problem associated with using the box. So you see a cat can have a problem that is not too obvious to us but to them it is big.

Nov 03, 2014
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Percy latest
by: Eddie Lewis

Hi,

Thanks for your helpful reply. I must say that Percy is not overly highly strung, but as most Orientals he does have some inbuilt foibles.

Since writing he has stopped leaving messages on the sofa and appears to be settled once more. I will take on board the idea that he is leaving messages of stress that should be treated as such and not be shouted at for doing so. I have always wondered if he was trying to say something when he did this sort of thing although finding that your pillow has been soiled on when you go to bed is a bit hard to cope with.

Again thank you for your help, I will keep you posted on "Percy's Progress"

Regards,

Eddie

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