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Missy Zane
Missy Zane, Many years as cat sitter & rescuer
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 509
Experience:  A lifetime of living with & loving cats; specializing in behavior and outdoor cats
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My cat seems to be displaying vindictive behavior. If his ...

Customer Question

My cat seems to be displaying vindictive behavior. If his food dish isn't kept full, he doesn't get to go out on the screen porch, or is litter isn't quite clean enough he will defecate on the carpet(not a large amt.) In the past his litter was cleaned twice a week with no problem. Within the last 6 months he is displaying the above behavior so his litter   gets cleaned every 2 days. he is 8 years old and has been neutered since he was young. What can be causing this behavior and what can I do to correct it??
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Missy Zane replied 6 years ago.
Hi...

Do you still need help with this?

Missy
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Missy Zane's Post: yes
Expert:  Missy Zane replied 6 years ago.
Hi again...

Is there anything different at your house ... a new cat or dog, new furniture, a new baby? Is he showing any signs of illness... eating less, drinking or urinating more than usual?

I'm typing an answer for you now and will send it in about 10 minutes.

Missy
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Missy Zane's Post: None of the changes you have mentioned. I do work and am gone some days 12 hours per day but this is no different than before.
Expert:  Missy Zane replied 6 years ago.
Hi...

Thanks for the additional information. Cats aren't usually vindictive, and they don't try to "get even." But their preferences do change over time, and it's possible that things that were fine with your cat a year ago aren't to his liking now.

Does he like to go out on the porch? Since you're gone for such long stretches of time, maybe you could give him a cat door so he could go out on the porch whenever he wanted to. That would help pass the time while he's home alone and would probably make him really happy. It takes some cats a while to figure out how to use a cat door, so if you do this, tape the door open for the first few days. And make sure he knows how to get back in before you untape it and leave home while he's out on the porch!

Some cats like to urinate in one box and defecate in another. Why don't you try giving your boy two boxes side by side. He might like that. Also, since he seems to be pickier about his box than he used to be, I'd clean the box every day. If you're using clay litter, try switching to clumping litter. It's easier to maintain and keeps the box neater for the cat. I'd put the new litter in a second box to see how he likes it. A sudden change in the one box he has could cause him to stop using the box completely! Some supermarket brands that make very hard clumps and keep the box very neat and dry are ScoopAway and FreshStep.

If you think this behavior is caused by loneliness and boredom, why don't you try leaving a radio on for him during the day so he'll have some company. Classical music and soft jazz are soothing to cats. If you leave some blinds and curtains open, he'll be able to amuse himself by watching what's going on outside. Putting some bird feeders outside a window can keep him entertained for a very long time.

I'm not sure I understand about his food dish. Is it empty when you get home? Does he get upset if it's not filled to a certain level? If you tell me more, maybe I can make some suggestions.

I hope this helps. If you'd like to talk more, please feel free to write back to me.

Missy
Missy Zane, Many years as cat sitter & rescuer
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 509
Experience: A lifetime of living with & loving cats; specializing in behavior and outdoor cats
Missy Zane and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
HE has 2 food dishes with 2 different kinds of food-one upstairs and 1 down in the kitchen on the main level of the house. He pats me on the nose while I am sleeping if he seems to feel that the food dish level goes down even a little bit. I do try to leave a blind open for him and a chair under the window so he can look out while I am gone. I do use the clumping litter but I may try 2 litter boxes and see if that might help. he doesn't do this all the time I'd say a couple times a week but it is very aggrevating to me as you can imagine. I would like to put in a cat door but I live in northwestern Pa. and we get very cold winters and I really don't want the heat loss in the winter. I try to leave the porch door open in the summer so he can go out there except at night for we do have wild animals(bears) in the area. I have an unfinished basement and have also thought about putting a cat door in that door and putting his litter box down there instead of the 2nd floor bathroom. Do you think that might help and what is involved in moving a litter box once an area has already been established. Thanks for any suggestions--elaine
Expert:  Missy Zane replied 6 years ago.
Hi Elaine...

I wouldn't put a box in the basement! Now that he's used to having a box near where he sleeps, he's going to think the basement's awfully far away. I'd don't think he'd be willing to make that trip, especially if he had to go through a cat door to get there.

Do you have room in the bathroom to put two boxes side by side? If you don't, maybe there's another place on the main levels of your house where you can do that. If you can't do two boxes in the bathroom, the "safest" solution would be to buy two new boxes and put them side by side somewhere else. Since his litter box habits are already a bit shaky, you don't want to do anything to make things worse! When he's used to the new location, maybe you could take the box in the bathroom away.

Do you have a top on your box? If you do, try taking it off. He might want more room when he's having a bowel movement and feels confined in by the top on the box.

You can buy cat doors that will not allow heat loss and can be locked at night so the cat can't go out on the porch and come nose-to-nose through the screen with a bear. Here's a link for you: http://www.cat-dog-doors.com/

Much as I hate these things, I wonder if a self-feeder would take the edge of his concern about the food dish running low. As long as the cannister was full, there should always be the same amount of food in the bowl. Just make sure your food fits through the opening before you put it down for your cat. For instance, NutroMax dry food seems to get stuck in self-feeders because the pieces are sort of big and an odd shape. If you do this, try to find a feeder that's stable and easy to eat out of. The one I linked to seems to work fairly well. You should be able to get it at your local PetsMart or PetCo store.

I'll be online tonight for couple more hours if you'd like to talk more.

I'm sending this as a request for information so you won't be prompted to pay for a second answer.

Missy
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks-I will check out the cat doors and see about getting a bigger cat box-he is a large cat so maybe he is feeling crowded. Thanks again for your help--Elaine
Expert:  Missy Zane replied 6 years ago.
You're very welcome! Thanks for accepting my answer and for the bonus. Please keep in touch and let me know how he's doing.

Missy

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