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New cat owner with major litter box issues (3 replies)

7 months ago
Brian 7 months ago

I recently adopted my first cat. A young orange domestic longhair. Everything was going well for the first few weeks, he's a very affectionate social cat, who gets along well with our small dog.

After about 3 months the problems started happening. He doesn't use his litter box much now. He won't urinate anywhere he's not suppose to but he deficates OFTEN outside the litter box. He goes in spare bedrooms, in the living room, in the second bathroom, and his favorite spot seems to be the tub.

It doesn't seem to matter what serface, carpet, hardwood floors, tial, or cermamic tubs.

We have read everything people typically suggest. Keeping the boxes clean, moving them near where he seems to want to go but it hasn't helped. Other then keeping him in a cage, which we desperately don't want to do, we can't find a solution.

We have moved twice and he still does it. We recently boarded him for a week and the boarding staff said he did it also.

Hopefully someone with more experience can offer an idea. We are despret. Soon we will be moving into a new house and can't have this continue. I would hate to get rid of him but I'm struggleing to find a solution.
7 months ago
GeriD 7 months ago

Hi Brian,

He's so cute! Couple of questions. You indicated that you  "moved twice". Do you mean you have moved twice in 3 months, or you have moved the box twice? Also you indicate "boxes". Do you have more than 1 box? I'm asking because the cat sounds almost confused to me. Moving can upset a cat in his routine. Moving a couple of times would add to that, as well as boarding him. Moving the box around, (or boxes) could also throw him off his game. He sounds confused to me which is why I'm asking. It's like he's not quite sure where his place and space is so he's seeking to establish it.

Cats like their "space". Some people call it "territorial". I've actually never encountered a "territorial" cat. By "space" I mean, my cats eat in the kitchen. When we renovated the kitchen, I fed them in the wet room. That threw them off for days until they got accustomed to it. It's not that they don't go in the wet room because they do. Their litter box is in the wet room. They were just not accustomed to eating in the wet room.

What I would do is (if you can) restrict the cat to one room of the house  (rather than a cage). For example, the bathroom or laundry room, back porch. Something like that. Put his litter box and food in the room with him, keeping the food and litter box near one another.  Give it a few days and see what happens. If he continues to defecate outside the litter box, put in a second litter box next to the other one, and give it a few more days.

Also, visit, and talk to him (nicely). Tell him what you're doing. Explain why. Cats, understand language, oh, yes, they do. I talk to my cats all the time (my husband calls me Snow White) and they listen, respond, and if they're being bad or naughty, obey when I tell them to knock it off.

Good luck. Let me know how you make out.


Melissa Smith
7 months ago
Melissa Smith 7 months ago

Great answer by Geri! I would also look at your litter — some cats can be awfully particular about the type of kitty litter that they like. If you've changed it to something your cat isn't fond of, that could be an issue as well. I wonder also if he was startled while "going number two" one time while he was in the box, and now associates whatever startled him with going in the box.

You might also want to check in with the veterinarian just to ensure nothing is medically wrong.

Keep us posted!

4 months ago
AL MO 4 months ago

i agree, check your litter, I detest the litter with fragrance, why wouldn't a cat? Their nose must be much more sensitive. 

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