I have a cat ( one of two) who is 14 yr. old - she has been eliminating ( b.m.) only occasionally outside the litter boxes, within a foot of the litter box. My other cat and she have lived together with me for 5 yrs. Nothing in her lifestyle has changed and she seems normal in every other way - Recently had "senior" blood work done at vets - recently had a cystitis, treated with meds successfully. can't understand the problem with going outside the litter box. Nothing unusual about the looks or form of the b.m. Any ideas?
Pet's Gender: Female
Pet's Age: >12
Name of Cat: Lacey
nothing - don't know what to do!
Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian and would be happy to provide answers your questions but need a bit more information.
Was the cystitis found to be do to a bacterial infection? If so, was it cultured before and after treatment to verify that it has indeed resolved?
Do you ever see her straining in the litterbox?
Are the stools ever hard or dry?
Is she a long haired cat?
How many litterboxes do you have? What type of litter (clay or clumping)?
Thanks and I will respond further after you reply.
yes, was bacterial and cultured before and after medicationdo not see her straining in litterbox - no stools are soft but formed and easy to pick upshe is a short haired cat and small ( 6lbs) and I use Arm and Hammer clumping litter - have used it all the time. Thank you for your time and help!
One more question. Was this happening at all before the cystitis?
Is she urinating more than she was in the past? More number of or larger clumps?
How many litterboxes?
Yes, once or twice in several months I would find stool on the carpet. when she had the cystitis, she was urinating occasionally on my carpetNot urinating any more than usual, from litter box contents and normal size stool. I have 3 litter boxes, two together in my walk in closet and one in a corner of my kitchen.
I believe its your turn to respond, according to my last reply to you
Ok, thank you. That is helpful.
I was going to say it is possible that the BM accidents were precipitated by the cystitis as some cats will associate the litter box with the pain of a specific disorder, but if she was having the accidents before, that is less likely the case. It is possible that she was having some discomfort before she developed the other symptoms of the cystitis (that alerted to you it) and that could have been involved. In any case, if the UTI has now been verified to be resolved, even if that was the case, you should be able to get her back to the box.
One other thing to consider is that she may be choosing to go next to the box if she is having any discomfort getting into or out of the box, especially if the sides are high and she is starting to have any arthritis. Most cases of litter pan aversion start when something unpleasant to the cat turns them off to going back to the box. It may have been that she stepped in it while it was dirty or something scared her one time while she was in the box and she associates that unpleasant experience with the box. The goal is to make the litter boxes the most attractive place in the house and the other spots less attractive. The general rule of thumb is to have one more litter pan than you have cats, so it looks like you already have that covered. You must scoop daily! Cat's are also 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 pan for her. If it is hard flooring, you could try an empty litterbox. You may also want to try a box with very low sides to see if that may help (more like a tray). You may have already tried these, but they are suggestions that have helped many of my clients. Litter pan hygiene is key.
Anxiety about something can sometimes be part of the problem. Feliway® is a product that can be sprayed or used as a room diffuser and emits a feline pheromone. It is not perceivable to us, but is supposed to be calming to her. It is always a good idea to have this around as sometimes the cause is an anxiety she is feeling, and may be even unperceived by us. (other cats outside, other cats in the house, changes in the house, etc).
Finally, it may be that she is starting to exhibit early behavior changes due to an aging brain. It is not uncommon to see intermittent signs of senility in older cats displayed by any variety of symptoms including wandering aimlessly, staring off in space, seeming unaware of surroundings, night howling or hypervocalizing, having changes in sleep wake cycles, seeming slightly disoriented at time and urinating and defecating outside the litter box intermittently.
Cognitive dysfunction syndrome is a well recognized disorder in aging dogs and cats, however so many other health issues that occur as pets age sometimes interfere with our recognizing it especially in it's early stages. There are supplements that can be helpful to improve these signs and slow the progression of decline, but it is necessary to rule out any underlying health issues first. I am listing the supplements that have been used with some success for some cats and are a good first choice before adding any drugs.
Omega 3 fish oils - (in higher concentrations) - The active ingredient of fish oil is EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). You just want to make sure you are seeing those on the label as an ingredient and not just the words "fish oil" as these are the important part of the fish oil and not all fish oil capsules have them in it, especially the cheaper ones. Aim for 150 mg of EPA and 100 mg of DHA. There is a large range of safety and it doesn't have to be that amount exactly but this gives you some guidelines.
Senilife® for cats- contains components to support healthy brain function as well as resveratrol, Ginkgo biloba and vitamin E to provide antioxidant protection.
As far as drug therapy, there is an approved medication for use in dogs, but as of yet is not approved in cats although it has been used with fairly good results and no side effects. It is called L-Deprenyl or Anipryl® and works by increasing the important brain chemicals that decline with age. It also helps to helps reduce amounts of free radicals in the brain which can be damaging to the remaining tissue. This is an option if the supplements are not helping.
I would work with your vet to try incorporating the above mentioned ideas, maybe incorporating one at a time.
Finally, you can help stimulate her brain by simply providing the daily enrichment and stimulation at a level that an older cat can handle. Play with her and keep her senses sharp. Her brain needs the same type of support as the rest of her aging body.
Here is a link with more ideas to help with environmental stimulation and enrichment:
Indoor Pet Initiative: http://indoorpet.osu.edu/
I hope this is helpful. If you would like any additional information or have additional questions please don't hesitate to ask!
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Over 25 years experience treating dogs and cats.
Hi,I'm just following up on our conversation about Lacey. How is everything going?Dr Z
not going well!! last night I saw her walk calmly into my closet where two litter boxes are - I was in bed reading and I waited to hear sounds of scratching in the litter - didn't hear anything. After she came out I got up and looked and there was a puddle of urine right in front of the litter box!! I had washed the boxes, put in new litter and hoped that would help. Obviously, it didn't! I'm so sick of this - more convinced than ever it's a behaviour problem, but WHY?!!!!!
Relist: Other.can't spend any more money for answers, but as long as it's free - that's ok. I have not received an answer yet, so open it up to others. thanks!
The fact that her elimination behavior problems are involving both urine and stool make it more likely that it is a behavior problem and the fact that she is not scratching in the litterbox and going next to it makes a litterbox aversion most suspicious. You may never identify what set it off, perhaps the previous cystitis, but now that she has it in her head that she finds the litterbox aversive, you need to get her trained to find a way back to it. You may need to experiment with different types of litterboxes or even some sort of a tray as mentioned above. Maybe even trying a different litter, even though she has used this one successfully before, for some reason or other, if she is not getting in the box to scratch, something about the litter or the box is not working for her, especially if she is going right next to the box (versus in other places in the house). Have you observed her during one of these inappropriate episodes? Maybe she is standing in the box and hanging her hindquarters over the edge. (believe it or not, I have seen this occur when they do not want to step into the box). Maybe give her a bigger, empty box. It is sort or trial and error in some cases, but you have to pay attention to what her behavior is telling you.
In the meantime however, I would also talk to your vet about putting her on a short course of meds to help. Prozac is often prescribed to some cats with elimination behavior problems while the owner is working to help them overcome their aversion to the litterbox.
I hope this gives you some more ideas.