All of a sudden pooping on the hearth
Wizzy is 7 years old and all of a sudden after always going outside (he has never had a litter box), he looks to the hearth (where there is ash) or a quiet corner to do his business.
He's also very restless, miaowing a lot and generally restless. He has put on a lot of weight in the last month or two even though his diet hadn't changed, so I put him on an older cat dried food (7yrs and above).
Anybody have any ideas?
A number of things come to mind. Considering that outdoor cats generally get more exercise than indoor cats, they shouldn't just start putting on weight unless there is some issue.
It's true that cats slow down a bit as they age, but a sudden weight gain is suspect. Also, if there has been a big shift in other behaviors as well, like howling/crying out/meowing excessively for no apparent reason, then that is also suspect.
I would call the vet and ask for some guidance. You may have a bigger problem going on here than just the defecating in the house.
It could be that a new cat has come in the area, and there's a territorial fight going on. This would explain the restlessness and the meowing possibly, and also might explain the defecating in the house.
It's that weight gain that bothers me. I'm not a vet and I'm not trained in feline medicine, but it doesn't sound right to me. Call your vet for an opinion and keep us posted. Best of luck with this.