Since giving birth our cat will not poop in litter box

by Tammy
(LaFayette, GA)

Ali came to us 2 months ago and transitioned well to being inside until she surprised us and our vet by having 3 beautiful kittens. When the kittens were just a few days old we noticed that she started pooping in the floor or tub of our second bathroom.


We started closing the door in hopes she would go back to her box. She has now taken to using our laundry room as her litter box. She will still pee in her litter box just not poop. Any suggestions?






My Thoughts:

I'm sorry to hear that Ali is having box troubles, Tammy. Thank you for adopting a cat!

Unfortunately I don't have much to go on with respect to a recent mother cat having this issue, but I do have some ideas.

Stress and illness are two major factors and sometimes outright causes of litter box problems in general. Having kittens and then caring for them is clearly stressful.

If your vet has checked her out and found her to be 100 percent healthy, the problem could be stress. It also could be some imposed stress.

For example, mother cats like to have an ideal nesting area, and they often move their kittens, sometimes more than once. If the layout of the house is not right for this, she may experience additional stress.

Since she is urinating in the box but not defecating, I also would look at the possibility that she developed some pain, possibly due to dehydration related constipation, and now associates pooping in the litter box with pain.

Perhaps it's a combination of these and other factors.

I would suggest doing what you can to reduce her stress level, engaging her in play and exercise as appropriate, and possibly try isolation/confinement retraining. The retraining can take place in a small room or a large cage, with the idea being that you give her no place to poop except the litter box.

Obviously you have the added situation of kittens on board, so they would be with her.

Let her out for supervised play after she uses the litter box. When she's using it consistently, her retraining should be complete.

Another thing you can try is placing a litter box right where she's been pooping, and using aluminum foil (which cats usually hate to walk on) or a "tape carpet" - cardboard with double sided tape on it all around the area except for a clear path right to the box.

Again, the concept is that you lead her to the box and give her no place else to go.

Remember to praise profusely whenever she uses the box (for both pee and poop) and never punish her for not using it. Clean any soiled areas with a pet safe cleaner and make sure the box is kept squeaky clean.

After she's been using the box successfully for a while, you can move the box, inch by inch each day, to the area where you ultimately want it to be.

Keep in mind that some cats develop a desire to poop in one box and pee in another. If this is the problem, a second box might just do the trick.

Also, if she's developed a preference for hard surfaces, you may want to try a relatively small amount of litter in that box, mostly pushed to one side. That way she can poop on the hard box floor and cover it after.

I hope that helps. If anyone else has any experience with this exact situation I'm sure they'll chime in.

Please keep us updated on how she progresses.

-Kurt

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