Six year old cat started pooping on floor

by Mylene Somers
(Canada)

My friend's six year old cat started pooping on the floor after the other cat scared her out of the litter box while she was using it.


My Friend has two six year old cats. One is very timid where the other is dominant.

The dominant one scared the timid female cat out of the litter box while she was pooping and now she often poops on the floor. She never urinates on the floor, she goes to the box for that.

I know this is anxiety related but my friend has tried everything to stop this. The cat goes in the same spot all the time to leave her scent.

My friend has done everything to try to get rid of the scent and she has her own box. But the cat is still not always pooping in the liter box.

Up until the incident with the other female dominant cat scaring her out of the box while the cat was pooping there were no problems.

This cat is also very nervous and will only go near my friend when the other cat is not around. There are no health problems, it is behavioral.

Does anyone have any suggestions? At the end of the rope with this kitty. My friend is close to giving her up and is tired of cleaning up poop off the floor.

I did suggest moving her box to a different area and also giving her more attention when the other kitty is not around to help ease kitty's anxiety. The box was moved but it did not work.

I would hate to see her have to give up this beautiful cat because of anxiety which is causing some behavioral problems. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

My Thoughts:

It sounds, Mylene, like we may need to fix the problem in isolation. Litter box ambushes are fairly common in multiple cat households, but when you have a timid, nervous cat and an aggressive cat, things can get out of balance quickly.

It's good that she has her own box. The general rule is that with two cats, the recommended number of total boxes is three. Placement is also crucial and boxes should be positioned, as best as possible, so that one cat can't sneak up on another.

Thoroughly cleaning the soiled area and blocking access to the soiled area (either placing another litter box literally right on top of it, or blocking it in some other way) are good steps.

In addition, I would work on several things:

1. Boosting the shy cat's confidence and reducing anxiety -- Extra attention, as you've recommended is a good start. Giving praise after using the litter box is important. I would install Feliway diffusers in the house to ease anxiety as well. This may help to calm both cats. I would increase activity levels by having a private play session with the timid cat daily.

I would have separate food and water bowls for the cats, if that's not the case already.

I would ensure that there is climbing furniture in the house. This might require two cat trees placed in separate areas so that the timid cat can be up high in her own private space. If needed, I would distract the aggressive cat with play sessions as well so that the timid cat can have some free time alone.

It's possible that separation and a re-introduction would be beneficial. I don't know how the two cats were first introduced, but quick or improper introductions can cause behavioral issues later on. Separating them, allowing "under-door play" and then slowly bringing them back together using enjoyable distractions like food, treats, and toys may be the way to go.

2. Litter box retraining -- Speaking of separation, isolation/confinement retraining may be the way to get this kitty back to using the box full-time. This falls right in line with the separation/re-introduction idea.

3. Long term separation -- In some households, cats that don't get along well, or well enough, are kept separate. This is sometimes necessary when cats can't agree to peaceably time share territory. The humans have to schedule the time sharing for the cats.

If no solution can be reached, relocation may be the answer. I hate to see a cat displaced from a home, but I also hate to think that she's unhappy where she is. Some cats simply do better as an only pet, or in a house where the dynamic between the pets is different.

I hope that this helps a bit. Here are more ideas on dealing with anxiety in cats. Please let us know what your friend tries and how it works out.

-Kurt

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Mar 22, 2013
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@Anonymous with the 7 year old cat
by: Kurt (Admin)

This section of the site deals with many of the reason why your cat might be missing the box. They include undiagnosed medical problems, dissatisfaction with the box or litter, and stress.

I would suggest starting with the articles linked from here and then post a question using the form on that page if need be.

Mar 21, 2013
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Male cat pooping next to litter box
by: Anonymous

My 7 year old male cat just recently started pooping on the carpet next to his litter box, but he has already done it at least 4 times. I'm trying to figure out why this is happening. Any possible reasons?

Jun 10, 2011
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move
by: Anonymous

I would suggest to move the litter box to where she always poops.

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