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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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my cat pees in the litter box, but poops on the floor.

Resolved Question:

my cat pees in the litter box, but poops on the floor.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Zoe :

Hello, I'm Dr. Zoe. What a frustrating problem! Does he defecate all the time outside the box, or does he have some successes in the box? Is his stool normal (no diarrhea, blood or mucous)?

Customer:

95% out of box. this just started about 2 months ago-softer stools but not diarrhea

Dr. Zoe :

In general with inappropriate defecation, it is super important to be sure there is not an underlying medical problem which is more commonly cause in a cat of this age. Underlying causes would be inflammatory bowel disease or arthritis-type issues or constipation (but this doesn't sound to be the case for your cat). Have you had your vet do any testing thus far or tried any medications?

Customer:

no visits to vet yet.we use tidy cat litter, and meow mix food with an occasioal 1/2 can of friskies wet

Dr. Zoe :

Is she the only cat in the household? If not, is she being stressed by another cat? If she is the only cat, does she have any trouble getting into/out of the box?

Customer:

only cat. no trouble with getting into box

Dr. Zoe :

I think, then, that before I'd consign this to being a behavioral problem I strongly recommend you have your veterinarian do a good physical exam and then some lab work (CBC, Chemistry, thyroid check +/- screen for chronic pancreatitis with PLI/TLI) and a stool check +/- abdominal radiographs (to rule out any tumors and arthritis in the spine/pelvis). This does sound like a lot but it's, again, really important to rule out major medical and potentially treatable problems. If all of this is normal, then I would probably recommend doing a diet trial which can help if this is inflammatory bowel disease (unfortunately, then only way to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease is biopsy...not many people elect to go this far unless a cat is vomiting and having stool issues).

Dr. Zoe :

What can you start to do at home before the vet visit to see if it helps? You can modify the litterbox experience. Take off the hood, if there is one. Try a different litter. Perhaps, try either CatAttract or "The Worlds Best Cat LItter"-- these are both scoopable. Scoop the box daily and empty entirely every 3 to 4 weeks. If you're already doing this, then that's awesome.

Customer:

she seems to have lost weight also she was 9lbs1 ounce-now she is about 6 1/2 lbs.

Dr. Zoe :

The weight loss is significant sign. The most common causes of this in a cat with this sign and of this age is either hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. So, the lab work screen is very important.

Customer:

she meows alot, crys alot, and lays on my lap alot.

Dr. Zoe :

The crying can be a tough one to interpret. Some older cats do this as an early dementia sign, but I have seen it very commonly in cats with hyperthyroidism, which would be a great disease because it is treatable.

Customer:

i guess i should make an appointment with the vet

Dr. Zoe :

I would recommend this as your next step. If it's not medical, then this can be approached from a behavioral standpoint, but I must say it is usually inappropriate urination and not defecation that is behavior. Defecation usually is medical.

Dr. Zoe :

Please let me know what further questions you have.

Customer:

i'll call my vet in the AM and get back to you

Dr. Zoe :

Sounds like a plan!

Dr. Joey and 3 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 years ago.
Please let me know what further questions you have.