Moe Will Not Poop in Litter Box
by MJ Wagoner
(Plant City, FL 33566)
Moe is a large 10 yr old Tabby. In the past, he would poop on the floor rarely, but he would always hide it and then he would hide.
He has had some colon issues and was put on "Hills WD" wet and dry food. He also gets Lactulose liquid (stool softener) twice daily.
He does not have classic signs of mega colon but his stool has become very large and he painfully goes every other day on the floor right in front of us. He no longer hides it or himself.
I believe he is associating the litter box with being uncomfortable. He will urinate in the box only.
We are working with a vet and hopefully can fix the problem. Now how do we get him back to the litter box for his BM movements.
Moe is a very large cat. He weighs somewhere between 16 and 18 pounds. He is tall and does not appear fat.
Moe also has a sister and they have always been together, so that does not appear to be the issue.
It's not hard to imagine that he's thinking litter box = pain. Cats really do want to use the box as it provides the type of material that they instinctively prefer (loose, sandy substances that cover well).
Once you work through the actual medical issue, he may come back around on his own. If not, the most extreme, but probably quickest way to perform litter box retraining is to use isolation.
Put him in a spacious, sunny room with everything he needs - toys, a nice comfortable cat bed,
litter boxes, food and water. Keep the food and water as far away from the box as possible.
Give him lots of attention during this time. Keep him in that room while you're gone, and let him out while you're around so you can watch his behavior. If he looks like he's going for the floor, scoop him up and put him in the box so he goes in there.
Never punish, always praise, but don't praise too early. You don't want to disturb him while he's doing his business, so wait until he's fully out of the box and done with it before you praise.
Some cats do like a second box to poop in, so that may be an option as well if the retraining seems slow. Each cat has their own speed here though, and it may take over a week for him to come around.
Once he's consistently using the litter box again, you can move everything back to the usual locations. If the problem recurs, then repeat the process, only this time move the box back to the original location slowly (an inch or two a day - seriously!).
Here's a veterinarian's response on a question about an 8 year old cat with constipation
which might be helpful during your discussions with your vet.
If your vet agrees, the literature says that less active cats have more problems with constipation, so if you can encourage him to exercise more it might help. This has nothing to do with being fat, simply activity levels, muscle tone, etc.
I hope that helps and I hope Moe does well.