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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16201
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I have a cat that I have raised since she was 2 wks. old. She's

Customer Question

I have a cat that I have raised since she was 2 wks. old. She's 13 yrs. old now. She and I picked each other. Sweetpea is a loving cat and it's just been her and me all these years. We've been through a lot these last ten yrs. I've had to have several surgeries, and my sister took care of Sweetpea when I was hospitalized. In March, I fell and broke my wrist and had to have outpatient surgery. My sister, Vickey, took Sweetpea and me to her home and took care of us for a few days, then we came home. Sweetpea hates change of any kind. When I leave the house for any length of time, she leaves me "little presents" of poop in plain sight. I know she gets stressed and mad and this is how she shows me. For about 3 weeks I had to go for PT 3x/wk. She decided to quit pooping in her litter box during this time. She was hiding where she had gone and I had to find and clean it all up. Now that I've stopped PT, she continues to not use her litter box to poop. How can I get her to start using her litter box for her poop along with her urinating?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Now SweetPea's behavior is very typical of kitties under stress and struggling to cope with a situation that they cannot control. As you correctly noted, cats are creatures of habit and hate change.
In her case though, it sounds like the litter box rebellion has started to become a habit. So, further to using enzymatic cleaners to remove her scent from where she has gone, we need to address her stress/anxiety and also remind her where she should be going.
In regards ***** ***** the anxiety that has triggered the behavior, there are a range of de-stressing tools that can help. Often we will use Feliway, which is a synthetic cat pheromone that helps to relieve stress. This can be used as a spray or a plug-in diffuser and is known as Comfort Zone in the pet stores. There is also a diet on the market called Calm by Royal Canin. This contains a number of supplements that have been found to provide stress relief to cats. As well, there are nutritional supplements like Zylkene or Kalmaid which use a casein protein to soothe anxious cats. Both of these are very good at soothing anxious cats that are fecal marking. As well, there are treats like Composure that you could use to reward her when she does use the box and even a Bach Flower Remedy for cats (though not as well tolerated as the other agents and isn’t as feline specific as the other de-stress agents are). And as these are not drugs per say, they are all available over the counter (even Amazon carry them) and can be used in combination as need be. As well, just to note, these are all highly advisable to use during any future stressful situations as well (so perhaps before you did have to make a routine change that you think may stress her).
Finally, to encourage her to get back to her natural instincts and use the box, I would note that you may want to give her a few boxes at the sites she has been using for the short term. And in these boxes do consider adding a litter attractant. It will be a scented way of telling her where she needs to be toileting. As well, since she is older, you may want to use boxes with low lips and non-pebbly litter (ie sand or paper based) just in case she is continuing the behavior because she has found it easier on her old joints to go outside the box.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Terrie,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. B.