Help! Litter box aversion!

by Bethikus
(Kansas City)

I have a Maine Coon mix that was recently treated for an anal gland abscess.

He's healing up great, pretty much all healed now, but since pooping was painful for him right before and probably after he was treated for it, he is associating the litter box with painful poops.

So now he's pooping all over the house. There's no one spot he goes to.

I've gotten a second litter box, and switched out the litter and placement of the first one, but no dice.

I praise him and give him treats when I see him peeing in there, but he just won't poop. I've also tried picking his poop up and putting in the box, to show him where it goes. Nothing has worked.

This has been going on for three days now and I'm worried that it will become a common behavior if we don't correct it. Any ideas?

My Thoughts:

Poor little guy! It sounds like you're doing all the right things, Bethikus. I think the good news is that he didn't go off the box completely.

Antibiotics have side effects. If he's on, or was on, antibiotics post-procedure, that can mess up his bowel movements too and it might take him a while to get back in top form.

So, post surgery, he's got a lot going on and some readjusting to do. As the days go on, he may return to being his old self.

Instead of his usual litter, have you tried using shreaded newspaper in the second litter box? This is often recommended for post surgical patients.

Although I normally wouldn't want to change up the litter, newspaper may offer just enough of a different experience that he'll use the box.

Another idea would be to change the look and shape of the litter box for him. I might try a carboard box, cut fairly low so it's easy to get in and out of, with his usual litter or the newspaper.

I also would keep him confined to a single room so he can readjust and you can control things better. I hope that helps. Please keep us updated and I hope he gets back on track quickly.

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