Cat seems to be afraid of his own butt

by Natalie
(Lake Elsinore, CA)

I rescued my male cat Nova when he was a baby. Never had a problem with the litter box. We lived in a smaller home that was only one story for around the first year we had him, and we kept his litter box in the little front coat closet (the house was a small home on a military base and there was no other place for his litter).

This past July, we moved to a larger 2-story house and I was able to put his litter box in the upstairs laundry room. For the first few months, he used it just fine, there were no issues.

I then began to find poop in other spots, mainly in our bedroom because that's where he hangs out the most. It was not every day.

I thought maybe he didn't like the noise of the washer/dryer, but I would see him go in there when both were running and use his litter box.

It started to get worse. Nova would almost seem like he was afraid of his poop or having to poop. It's like he gets freaked out when he has to poop.

All of a sudden you will hear his claws trying to gain traction on the floor as he runs down the hall or up the stairs into our room (which we now keep closed because if he runs under the bed or over the bed there will be poop left), etc.

When I hear this I automatically just grab paper towel and a cleaner because I know that I have to clean up.

We have taken him to the vet and they have not seen anything wrong with him other than some skin allergies which he's always had.

I ended up putting a second litter box downstairs in a corner, just in case something bad happened in the upstairs litter box, or something hurt when he went in the upstairs litter box and he was associating the litter box with that pain.

So now he kind of alternates. He seems to go through a mood where he likes to use the upstairs box for a bit, then seems to change it up to the downstairs box. He has never peed outside of his litter box.

I've changed litters (unscented, scented, natural recycled stuff, natural corn fibers, etc.) and that has not seemed to affect anything.

I feed him better than I feed myself. He's on one protein, I make sure he gets enough water, I've tried a raw (Primal frozen) diet, and nothing has made a difference so far.

This is getting so tiring. If I forget to close the bedroom doors upstairs and he has to go, I have to go looking for it.

I have to
look under the bed, look on the bed, I have to look everywhere, because sometimes I think when he starts to go and then starts to run he kicks it up and it will get on the walls, on the spindles on the banister, on/under the coffee table... it's so gross!

Now, this does not happen every time he has to poop. Maybe once every other day he will use one of the litter boxes and go both poop and pee.

I get so happy when I see him do this or see poop in his litter box because I know I'm safe for at least the next 12 hours until I know he will have to go again.

Anyone? I'll take any tips I can get! Please!
Thank you!

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. This sounds like a unique challenge, for sure.

I think you've done a great job of covering some of the possible key problem points by having a litter box on each level, being mindful of noisy machinery, the potential association of pain and the litter box, and so on.

There's the possibility he has a medical problem yet to be diagnosed, but that may take some detective work to find. That being said...

It's fairly common for cats to run through the house as though they're running from a fire after using the litter box. Frankie used to do this, and she sometimes had poop tag along with her until she reached the other room. Then it would finally fall off.

Her problem was the hair would bind the poop up so badly that she couldn't get it all out without a hard run and a dance.

Jazzy had an experience recently where in order to get his dangling poop taken care of, I had to get out the scissors and cut the hair that was hanging out of his butt.

He was acting really strange. He would sit for a long time with his tail tucked in but not in the usual way, and then madly run and make sudden stops.

He runs like a madman sometimes anyway, but something didn't seem right, and sure enough, he couldn't shake the poop off without my help and the scissors.

The fix for that is to deal with the fur in the gut by grooming more often, using hairball remedies and possibly, hairball remedy food.

If his problem is stress related, then obviously reducing stress is key. Things like keeping to a routine, limiting the number of changes that go on in his life, and possibly using products like calming collars, Feliway, and Rescue Remedy may help.

I hope that helps. Please let us know what works for you.

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Jan 29, 2018
from poop to paws
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your post. My Ezzy is vocal & runs about before and after a poop too. I gave her 2 boxes and I know that helps her. It is a mystery. She also has seasonal allergy - she is an excessive groomer and glad she's not a long hair like her balineze mother. A discovery about one vocal run was that she had a tiny piece of adhesive stuck to her paw - so now I just clean her paws, sometimes wet wipe, sometimes tissue in case the folds need emptying anyway from cat litter. I'm using the pine that breaks down.
Surprisingly she likes that - she spreads her toes now !

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