My cat poops and pees on carpet
(Tinley Park , IL USA)
My 9 yr. old female cat has recently started peeing and pooping on the carpet in my dining room instead of using the litter box. I don't know what to do to get her to start using the litter box again. I keep it as clean as I can with 2 cats. Help!!!
Cats can develop a preference for texture and/or location at any time. Two of the most common causes of inappropriate elimination are stress and unresolved medical conditions. Either of these factors can cause your cat to stop using the litter box.
When a cat suddenly stops using the box completely, we want to look at either a stress trigger, or a medical problem. If it's a medical problem, then nothing will change until that problem is addressed by your veterinarian.
For the stress trigger, it can be anything from a disagreement with another animal in the house, to a neighborhood cat that is marking and scenting outside, to disturbing noises.
Cats are sensitive creatures. I've mentioned this on here before but one of my readers couldn't solve her litter box problem with one of her cats until after she found out that her son was punishing the cat with a squirt bottle. This was a form of punishment that this particular cat did not respond to. Once that stressor was gone, so was the box problem.
So, what changed in your cat's life in the last 6 months leading up to the start of the problem? A move, new furniture,
house remodeling, people moving in, people moving out, pets coming in, pets going out, and so on.
Did someone in the house change schedules? Sometimes a change in the routine of the humans in the house can mess a cat's own schedule up. Too much noise at the wrong time, coming and going, loss of companionship at certain times, and so on.
With 2 cats, you should technically have 3 cat boxes. I realize that this is not something that people are always willing to do, but increasing the number of boxes may solve the problem. This is especially true if the problem started due to a dispute with another cat in the house.
No matter what, you've got to clean the area that she's been using thoroughly, preferably with an enzymatic cleaner that gets rid of the source of the odor. If not, her instincts will bring her back to the spot over and over.
If you can, block the area off. If you can't, lay something down on top of it after cleaning so she can't go there again. Make the box more attractive if you can (you can try Cat Attract). Make sure you're using the same litter from before the time that the problem started, and the box is in the same location, nothing blocking it, etc.
In extreme cases, isolation retraining may solve the problem.
I hope that helps. Good luck with her and let us know what's happening with this,
If anyone else has a specific suggestion, let's hear it!