Constipated cat defecating outside litter box

by Judy G
(Tulsa, OK)

My cat is only defecating every two days. She is ten years old and never been sick. She is urinating in the litter box but doing the other outside.

She was constipated, and the vet gave medicine which softened it up. She has been checked and had blood work and nothing shows up. Any ideas?

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. From the way you've worded things, it sounds like every two days is not normal for her.

I'm assuming that the constipation, or whatever has caused the constipation is responsible for a change in frequency of bowel movements, but of course I don't know that for sure.

You didn't give any time frames here, so I don't know how long this has been going on, or how long ago she started treatment, but I'll try to give you some ideas.

Is it possible that she's simply not yet back to normal, and it's only a matter of time? I'd be curious to know your vet's opinion of that idea, and how long it should take her to get back on her regular schedule, assuming no other problems.

If she were my cat, and she became constipated, and began not using the box to defecate, I would suspect that she might be associating pain (the pain of being constipated) and discomfort with the litter box.

This association of pain and using the litter box to defecate usually fades, given enough time. But, given her frequency problem, I can't help but wonder if she's not yet cured of her bowel problems, or perhaps has some other medical problem.

Was there any determination of the cause of the constipation? For example, hair in the gut has been known to throw cats off the box and cause constipation. If she has a severe hairball, that could easily be the culprit.

Was this discussed as a possibility, and yet tests revealed nothing, or was it not brought up? From what I've seen, in some cases further testing, including X-rays may be required to make determinations about certain bowel problems.

Since she's already under the care of your veterinarian for constipation, I'd be tempted to contact the vet and ask about her frequency of bowel movements, whether further testing and treatment is needed, and so on.

If she's going less frequently because her plumbing is still clogged, I'd say she needs more help with that before her litter box problem can be put to bed.

I hope that helps and please update us on her progress.

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Jan 22, 2017
BM problem
by: Anonymous

So glad I saw this. A cat of a friend of mine has had alot of this problem. He was x-rays..Poor thing was compacted..I felt she should give thm more soft food..Because their BMs are so hard an big..This helps wth the outside of box problem..Thanks soo much..We love our fur babies

Jan 16, 2017
Glad it's working
by: Kurt (Admin)

I'm glad to hear her treatment is working. It's really hard to get a cat back on track with using the litter box while they still have the medical condition that caused the problem in the first place. Hopefully it's just a matter of time, and as the treatment does its job, she'll use the box.

Jan 13, 2017
Constipated Cat
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your reply. The vet has done a X-ray and it shows she is still constipated. She is now on two different medicines plus 1 Tbsp. pumpkin with her meals. It seems to be working, but still going outside the box. I thought about what you said about associating pain with the litter box. We took the top off of it to see if it will help. Thanks so much for your ideas.

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