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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20234
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I Have a 12 year old cat that has started pooping outside of

Customer Question

I Have a 12 year old cat that has started pooping outside of the litter box. It is solid poop, not soft. He sometimes runs as it is dropping. We purchased an additional litter box as we have 2 other cats. Litter boxes are cleaned 2 or 3 times a day. The additional box seemed to help the first day only. Any suggestions? Should we be concerned?
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 today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.When a cat begins to inappropriately eliminate outside the litter box, there are a range of reasons that can be behind this action. Still, when we have a elderly cat passing normal stool outside the box and dashing away, this does raise some particular concerns.Specifically, our top concern for Dragon would be a underlying arthritis or general discomfort in his back end. And its not uncommon to see these issues lead to lapses in litter box manners. This is because cats, unlike dogs, go to great lengths to modify their lives around avoiding things that cause them discomfort. Where a dog will run on a sore leg until he can’t use it, a cat will just decrease doing the things that are causing the pain. It is wise for the cat, harder for us to pick up when there is a problem.Unfortunately, in cats with pain derived litter box issues, trips to the litter box aren’t something that can be given up. So no matter how much discomfort it can cause, life demands that a cat not stop using the toilet. That said, these affected cats will tend to be more likely to ‘hold it’ for longer then they might have before. And because of this, we may see sometimes see harder feces being produced, which in turn are more of a strain to pass. (Just to note, if his stools are very hard, you can add cat hairball treatment to his daily meals to lubricate his gut and help him pass everything without discomfort). The main areas I would be worried about discomfort would be his back, hips, and back legs. And it is possible that if this is mild or moderate, that these litter box signs might be our only hints and the only time we can appreciate that he isn’t feeling 100%. And it is understandable, because if you imagine, passing feces requires significant forces on the body, which they do while balancing on pebble like litter, while standing on two feet. Often in cats with back pain or arthritis, this can be a bit much. And this is when they just decide that it is easier to go outside the box (especially when carpets are softer and have more grip or hard floors are free of the pebble like texture that litter has). For some cats this will then become an all the time occurrence, while others will just do it intermittently (when they can't be asked to deal with the box). With this in mind, we do want to try to address this situation for him before it does become habit for Dragon. To do so, if you think he is quite sore in general, then you can ask your local vet to trial him on a cat-friendly anti-inflammatory like Metacam. Alternatively, you may consider trying glucosamine/chondroitin supplementation with your cat. This is a nutrient supplement that is available at your vets, pet shops, and health food stores (as capsules, liquids, and even treats). It works by aiding joint suppleness by helping cartilage replenish itself and blocking enzyme destruction of cartilage in the joint. Often we can find this helpful in animals with mild signs, but it might be enough to take some of the discomfort away from him and help him to comfortably use the litter box. Normally we give kitties 50mg glucosamine + 15mg chondroitin a day per 10 pounds of body weight. So, do consider trying this with him. As well,OTC Omega 3 fish oils (avoid cod liver oil though) and Duralactin can also be of benefit.Finally, while getting a new litter box was an appropriate step to take, I’d note that if we can do so it would be ideal to get Dragon a low lipped box to make getting in as easy as possible. Othereise, you may want to also switch him to a paper or sand based litter (as they are finer and easier on their feet) to see if this just takes some of the strain of litter box time. And if you are concerned that he is 'forgetting' where her box is, do try a litter attractant as a reminder. Overall, these would be my main concerns for Dragon's behavior (especially if can use the box for urine). So, I'd suggest the above to help ease his litter box visits for him and get him back to using it as he should. Please take care,Dr. B. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. **Afterwards, I would be grateful if you would rate my service by clicking on the "Rate my Expert' button at the top of the page as this is the only way I am credited for helping you. Thank you for your feedback!: )
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

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

Dr. B.

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