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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3906
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My cat is 8 years old, female and since she was a kitten has

Customer Question

My cat is 8 years old, female and since she was a kitten has never gone in the litter box. The only way we can control it is if we put her in the bathroom with door closed and she will most of the time go on a bathroom mat that has turned into her "litter box". We buy new mats each week and the mats are essentially her litter box. The only problem is now she has started peeing on beds, our couches, chairs and rugs.
We had a specialist come and say she was probably taken away from her mom too early. We are at a point were we need to find a home for her if we can't get a solution. The vet said she does not have any issues, it is a behavior thing.
We were thinking of getting an electric fence to protect our new family room furniture being delivered. We just discovered she has been peeing in between the cushion of our leather couch and the frame of our couch is saturated. We have had to replace mattresses, expensive rugs, couches, and now this leather couch.
Ideas?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

I am going to ask some questions that will, at first, appear to have already been answered by your original post. Bear with me.

1) Has your vet performed blood work on her?
2) Has she had a urinalysis?
3) A urine culture?
4) Has she been referred to a specialist to work up her lower urinary system to be sure there is not congenital defect?
5) Has any behavioral medication been tried? If so, what? And for how long?
6) Any blood in her urine?
7) How many other pets reside in the home?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
1) Has your vet performed blood work on her? yes about 5 years ago, they found nothing and referred us to a cat therapist
2) Has she had a urinalysis? yes
3) A urine culture? yes
4) Has she been referred to a specialist to work up her lower urinary system to be sure there is not congenital defect? No, but it seems like this is not the case, oit is not just urine she also poops everywhere
5) Has any behavioral medication been tried? If so, what? And for how long? No, only trial and error with modifying areas and places to go instead of a litter box
6) Any blood in her urine? No
7) How many other pets reside in the home? 1 dog and they seem to get along fine and play together. We have had the dog since August and on and off before that, The problems got worse for about a month, now they are just not daily. sporadic and unpredictable and we think she is fine for 7 days and then out of now where at a time that seems like she would not have to go since she just went in the bathroom, she will pee and poop somewhere.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

If she's having stool and urine issues, this actually supports the concern of a structural issue which might be related to a nerve-based issue or muscle/spincter tone. A workup might still be a consideration.

Behavioral medications are typically the next step when we have a pet using the bathroom consistently in the wrong places and the vet/behaviourist believes that it's related to a behavioral concern. It cannot hurt to try in a situation like this as you rehoming her is likely not going to fix the problem and euthanasia will likely be elected. Many behavioral meds are available as oral treats or even transdermal suspensions, for the picky kitty who will avoid oral meds, to make it easy to medicate them for behavioral issues.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

I should mentioned that it can take weeks of daily medication to determine if this will be a solution. But, for those cats that it works well for, many of their symptoms completely resolve and they become a completely different pet. Elavil and prozac are my two favorites for cats.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I don't understand how the meds would work? My cat literally just peed right in front of me on our carpet. She has no desire or shows no interest about going in a litter box or somewhere specific.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

Each medication is different, but let's take a step back and look at behavior with cats for a minute.

Think about depression and anxiety in people, if you will. We know that this can greatly alter the perception of reality and can change the way that people deal with certain situations. It's the same in cats. There could be an anxiety issue wrapped around litter box usage including discomfort, fear, avoidance due to tactile preference for soft surfaces, etc. What goes on in their head does not necessarily need to make sense to us in order for it to make sense to them. With behavioral medications, these can help alleviate the anxiety that goes along with the poor behavior. For example, if we have a cat that avoids the box due to fear we can help to remove the cat's response to that fear with behavioral meds. Once done and the fear addressed, the cat should be willing to use the box again.

Two things we should definitely discuss are what types of litter have been tried and if she's been declawed. Have you tried any soft plush litters that are similar to the squishy surfaces she seems to favor such as Care Fresh? We're looking for no hard edges or 'rock'-like feelings against the toes. And, also, is she declawed on any feet?

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