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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7243
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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4.5 year old female domestic - 18 lbs who started urinating

Customer Question

4.5 year old female domestic - 18 lbs who started urinating and defecating in the basement after two major life changes in the household. One where the owner was hospitalized for 6 weeks (her buddy) and then shortly after a newborn born in August of 2015. Several Vets have treated her, first with prozac, which did not result in any changes in her behavior. Behavior modification included interactive play and increased lap time. Treat ball to increase physical activity. Urinalysis and stool sample showed no abnormalities. The owner (my daughter) has had to remove newly installed carpet due to the destruction. They now use cat attract due to the recommendation of their vet and still no results. Please..any suggestions would be appreciated. They are at the point of surrendering the cat to another home.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Cayman has a sister (litter mate) as well and there no issues between the two cats at this time.
Expert:  petdrz replied 6 months ago.

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you but need a bit more information in order to better assist you if you don't mind.

Are the litter boxes in the basement?

How many litter boxes total are there for the 2 cats to use? Does she ever use the litter boxes?

Where is she eliminating in relation to where the boxes are? Is it just in one spot in the house or multiple?

Is she allowed full run of the house?

Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response or I may be offline, but if so, I will respond as soon as I am able.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
there are three of them for two cats.
She mainly defecates in the little box, does not urinate in the box at all, only on the carpet or the cement floor where some carpet has been removed.
location - 20 ft away from the boxes in the basement..same general area
Yes she has full run of the house
Thank you.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The owner had major surgery and was away from here for weeks
Shortly after, their second baby was born in August
Every since the surgery and the baby Cayman cowers and is extremely stressed daily
Expert:  petdrz replied 6 months ago.

One more question...Is she an anxious cat or is she pretty laid back

Expert:  petdrz replied 6 months ago.

Oh, you just answered it.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She used to be very laid a complete mess. So sad.
Expert:  petdrz replied 6 months ago.

The fact that she is using the litter box for stool and mainly having her problems with urination somewhat rules out a litter box aversion. But......she may have developed a substrate preference for urination. If the same litter is being used in all of the boxes, I would experiment with that first. Offer a litter box buffet for her to choose and when she starts using one for urine, then we will know if she prefers something different when urinating. Offer different types of litter, different types of litter boxes (short sided, tall sided, and different amount of litter in the boxes). You must scoop daily! Cat's are very texture specific so look at the places she is choosing to go. If it is a carpet, you may want to put a piece of scrap carpeting in a litter box for her and slowly add more litter as she starts to use it etc). Some cats, mine included, prefer to urinate in an empty litter pan with no litter at all.

One other thing I would suggest is a product called Feliway®. LINK HERE Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the natural chemicals that a cat secretes. It creates a comforting, reassuring feeling that has a calming effect. It has been shown to decrease urine marking and spraying within 30 days with a 95% success rate. It is also calming to cats in stressful situations such as transport, hospitalization, veterinarian visits, boarding, new environments, pets or people. Feliway® is a product that can be sprayed or used as a room diffuser. It can be purchased through veterinarians and pet stores. I would definitely put a few of these around the house.

Environmental enrichment has become a very important subject in feline veterinarian medicine as we have now identified that many cat behavior and medical disorders stem from the fact that they are confined indoors and forced to share territory with other cats and humans, which is not how cats naturally choose to live. This "stress" can lead to physical and behavioral problems. There is a website I am including the link to that addresses this subject in detail and offers suggestions to modify her environment to offer her a safe haven where she can hang out if she feels stressed and offers other ideas of how to interact with her.

Finally, I was just at a veterinary conference where I was introduced to 2 supplements for cats that have been clinically shown to reduce anxiety and tension. These would need to be ordered by her veterinarian, but there are case studies that show these products to be helpful in these kinds of situations. Here are the links:\



I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.

My posted replies are for general education only and not meant as a diagnosis. Only after a thorough veterinary examination can a diagnosis for your pet be made and specific treatments be advised or medications be prescribed.

Dr Z

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you.All recommendations you mentioned have been tried and unsuccessful, with the exception of the carpet swatch near the box or an empty box. There were three boxes, three different luck. They have used Feliway also and without success. Prozac did not help either. Are these medications similar? If so, would they have a different effect?
Expert:  petdrz replied 6 months ago.

No these work by a different mechanism of action than prozac. Might be worth a shot. Sorry these are tough cases.

Would she consider an veterinary behavior specialist?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Would a behavior specialist offer any other suggestions? yes, i would be interested in learning more. How can we hire one?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Also, Cayman has not had any diagnostic tests to rule out medical? would you recommend this?
Expert:  petdrz replied 6 months ago.

A veterinary behaviorist will spend a great deal of time reviewing the history and the current problem in an effort to identify what the fear/anxiety triggers are in her current everyday situation and offer medical and behavioral suggestions to reduce them and help her to adjust to not overreacting to them. The one's that I have dealt with are very good and often are able to help. It is not something that can be fixed overnight, and can time consuming, but would be time well spent if it curbs the problem.

Here are links about what they do and how to find them. Even if there is not one near you, I do believe that some will do phone consults.



If a urinalysis was performed to rule out any urinary tract pathology, then likely nothing more would need to be done, but a recent physical exam may be needed to make sure there is not a physical reason contributing to her anxiety.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
ok I will look in to a behavior expert and the remedy you recommended. I hope something works for her. Thank you!
Expert:  petdrz replied 6 months ago.

You are most welcome and I hope so too. After the conference, I ordered both of these products for one of my cats as he started to spray while I was away. He is a very high strung cat. The veterinary behaviorist specialist who did the lecture is local to our area and she was involved in the clinical studies with one of the products. It sounds very promising. Please keep me posted as to how things progress.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you so much. I will keep you updated!
Expert:  petdrz replied 6 months ago.

Great. I'll look forward to it.

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