Cat with IBS sometimes poops outside the litter box

by Leah

We have two Cats. Bullet has IBS and has had bouts of diarrhea since he was little. He is now about 9 years old.

He is on a special grain free bland diet, though I don’t think that helps. We also add a probiotic to his food.

We had a baby 1.5 years ago. The baby and this cat get along great. However, a few weeks after the baby came home from the hospital, this cat starting having occasional poops outside of the litter box. (We have experienced behavioral problems with urinating outside of the box with the OTHER cat previously, and know all the fixes).

We have three litter boxes, all clean, use the right kind of liter, etc etc. We even started Bullet on an anxiety medicine a few months ago, thinking that could help. It didn’t.

He doesn’t always poop outside of the box, and when he does it’s not always diarrhea - sometimes it’s firm. It’s almost always on the screened in porch. There is carpet out there and it’s very hard to clean up and very unsanitary.

This can’t continue much longer because our baby is now a toddler and it is disgusting and too time consuming to clean up poop. Should I lock him in a bathroom for three days with a litter box and see if we can retrain him? Does anyone have any suggestions?

We are at the end of our rope, as my husband has been wanting to give the cat up for adoption if this problem doesn’t get better. Please help! He is such a good boy. And he has seen the vet numerous times for this issue, just FYI.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. I would note that when a cat has a medical condition such as IBS, there's often only so much you can do behaviorally. Is his problem anxiety? Or is it the IBS?

If it's anxiety, there are a number of different meds used for anxiety. It might be a matter of finding the right one. For example, some of our readers have reported that putting their cat on Prozac helped with inappropriate elimination, but others have said it did not work. Others have used Xanax, and so on.

As I've talked about before, there are also other products that may help, such as Feliway, or one or more of the Jackson Galaxy Solutions products. Again, some readers report success, others not.

Isolation retraining may work, although I would suggest a room other than a bathroom for that. I've outlined my take on litter box retraining here.

Please keep us updated on his progress. I hope you can work this out.

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