Thank you for being patient, as you can see I was typing quite a bit about wee Jakie. :)
Now when a cat loses their litter box manners and starts to inappropriately going outside the litter box, there are a range of reasons that can be behind this action. So, we do need to channel our inner Sherlock Holmes to decipher their message and address the underlying trigger for their behaviour.
Now this can be tricky. To get an idea of how kitties think, we need to think of cats as little hermits, animals who like their routines, and their environment as stable and unchanging as possible. This desired lifestyle becomes a problem when they live with an environment where there are changes that they can’t readily accept. So, you do want to try to look at your house as Jakie would and see if you can pinpoint any change that might have set him off (and hopefully it will be one that can be addressed). As well, you need to watch him as well, since some changes (notably those of the health persuasion and a real concern with this retreating to the shower stall as well) can also trigger this behavior.
To start, since he does use the box at times, we can assume there is no issue with the litter box, litter brand,or its location. As well, this makes issues like litter box rejection due to arthritis less likely too. Again given his retreating to the stall, we'd be worried about a health issue especially. So, it would be ideal to collect a urine sample (often we can obtain a ‘donation’ if the kitty is left overnight in a non-carpeted room with an empty litterbox), to submit to his vet for analysis. He doesn't need to visit himself to have this tested, but that could an option just to have a full check of him. In regards ***** ***** urine sample, it can be tested to determine if there are bacteria and white blood cells present (signs of infection), and rule out other issues like crystals or glucose (a marker of diabetes). They can also check the specific gravity of the urine, which will just give them an idea if the kidneys are working as they should.
If medical causes can be excluded, then you can then focus our attention on the harder to diagnose behavioural and stress induced inappropriate urination causes. If we cannot pinpoint the root cause, then it would be of benefit to consider a de-stressing treatment to try and reduce any stress effect on him. Often we will use Feliway (aka Comfort Zone), which is a synthetic cat pheromone that helps to relieve stress. This can be used as a spray or a plug-in diffuser. 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 Kalmaid, Zylkene, or Composure can all be of benefit for stress induced inappropriate urination.
Finally, while you are helping address this issue, it is very important to discourage him from associating the non litter box urination sites with being somewhere he can go now. To do so, you will need to make sure the areas are cleaned thoroughly afterwards. I would advise using an enzymatic odor neutralizing cleaner (ie Fizzion, Nature's Miracle) wherever he has urinated because while normal cleaners will eliminate the smell to us, he may still be able to smell his own scent and that will be an invitation for him to choose to go there again.
Overall, this is a behavior that can be triggered by a range of factors. We can narrow some with his specific signs, but some do remain. So, it is important to get down on his level and see if you can determine what is offending his delicate kitty sensitivities and if you can resolve it. While doing so, do rule out medical causes with a urine sample, address the scent part of cleaning (if you haven't already), and consider addressing feline stress/anxiety. By adding in the latter, will help even if you cannot find the trigger or cannot remove it, because you can at least help him cope with the situation and hopefully resolve his drive to go outside the box. Of course, if you do the above and are struggling, then you may consider following up with your vet to discuss drug management of this condition. There are drugs that can be used in environmental modification resistant cats that can decrease feline arousal and thus dampen their drive for anxious territory marking. These can be short term and long term treatments depending on the cat. Often it doesn’t have to get to that point and alteration of the environment can settle them down. It will just again be the challenge of figuring out the ‘why,’ relieving the trigger, and helping him to settle.
All the best,
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