My cat Sam and the litter box

by Jan Rash
(Hudson, Florida)

Sam, the litter box and his other strange habits, lately. We have a stray cat that just came to live with us one day about 2 1/2 years, ago. He has been a perfect cat until, lately.

Someone must have loved him very much and had to leave him as he's been neutered and is very loving. He acts as though he's had a very loving life until he was, maybe, left behind.

He spent last night in our Florida Room, so he wouldn't get us up, and when I went to let him out, this morning, he had urinated on the floor in front of the litter box and covered it up with litter. He has never done anything like that, before.

He has started acting strange, lately, too. He will jump on the cabinets, etc., and he never did that, before. He wants to get on my computer and when I won't let him, he will lie beside it and go to sleep. This is after he has fought me for about 10 minutes, trying to get on the computer.

I have a laptop and have it on the bar and he will, finally, get between the laptop and the wall and will go to sleep. It's a very small space and he will maneuver until he gets in there. He is so determined he is going to be there.

He will want outside and then cry to come back in. When we open the door, he won't come in but will cry, again, when the door is closed.

On and on. Really strange for him as he was a wonderful companion before the last month or so.

What is going on with him?

Jan Rash

My Thoughts:

I'm sorry
to hear you're having troubles with your kitty, Jan.

I don't know how old he is, but some cats go through personality changes as they age. Some of them become senile and seem confused, meow at the wall, or just never seem satisfied.

Others sometimes become more clingy and seem to want more attention and are very insistent about it. They also seek warmth more often due to poor circulation, and all of this may partly explain the behavior with the laptop.

If he's getting up there in age, that could be at least part of it.

On the other hand, he may be having some pain or discomfort due to illness, and it's hard for him to get comfortable.

If he's had any major changes in his life recently, or there have been changes in the household, that can lead to behavior issues and urinating outside the box as well.

Urinating outside the box may be behavioral or it may be medical. It also may or may not be related to whatever is causing his behavior changes. These could be two separate things.

I'm always concerned whenever a cat undergoes a behavior change that something medical might be causing it. I'm also always concerned about inappropriate urination, especially in male cats, because it can indicate, among other things, a problem with the urinary tract. Some of these problems can lead to blockage, a serious problem which requires immediate veterinary attention.

If he were my cat, I'd take him to the vet and get him checked out, and bring a list of the behavior changes and his urination problem. See if the vet can make a connection.

I hope that gives you a few ideas. Please let us know how he checks out.


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Apr 19, 2011
Attention seeking behavior?
by: David

"Attention seeking behavior" that's what my wife, Mary calls it - when the cat starts doing things out of the ordinary. Glad to hear the urination problem may have been solved. As for the computer issue, Kurt hit the nail on the head when he said the cat is probably looking for a nice place to get warm. I can't tell you how many computers we've gone through, having to have them repaired or replaced before I figured out I needed to be vigilant in keeping the vented areas around our computers cleaned daily of cat hair. Ever see the commercial where the toddler "feeds" a grilled-cheese sandwich into the VCR? Well, cats are like two-year old children: They don't understand what they are doing is wrong, and they have short attention spans and forget quickly what they have done that irritated you.

Praise good behavior, withhold praise for bad. When he is somewhere you don't want him to be, call him away and then praise him for coming to you. More ofen than not, they want your approval and crave your attention. Plus, cats are curious by nature. With my bad back, our eldest cats will test my will by jumping up on a table, so my voice commands don't always work. They know, however, that Mary can and will jump up and go after them. Once down, we both reap praise upon them, which it seems is what they were after all along.

Feb 14, 2011
Update on Sam
by: Kurt (Admin)

It was discovered that the litter box wasn't as clean as was suspected, and some previously unseen (by humans anyway) feces were in there. So, it's possible that the box was too dirty for him.

The litter box has been cleaned, and Sam did not urinate outside the box last night. Woo hoo! Progress? Perhaps.

Jan is looking for more feedback, so if anyone has any helpful advice, please comment! Thanks!

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