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Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 9523
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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I have a Persian Himalayan Cat and I have two questions~ first

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I have a Persian Himalayan Cat and I have two questions~ first of all why does he not cover his waste when he goes in the litter box ~ he instead scratches all around the sides of the box and wall~ he did this since he was a kitten~ also recently he is digging up his litter and making a mess on the floor~ he has two big piles sometimes and I am so discouraged~ as his litter is always clean after each use~Martha
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hello Martha,

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in pet health and behavior. I'm sorry to hear of this problems you are having with Prince.

I've owned many cats, and I've found that for some, the behavior Prince is exhibiting is normal. They have the instinct to bury their waste, but don't quite get the job done. It usually results in a mess, as you've seen. There is no way to train Prince to properly bury his waste, so what we have to do with a cat like this is manage the problem. I've found two ways that can be effective in cutting down on the mess. A different type of litter box is key.

For some cats, simply getting a larger liter pan works. There are 'jumbo' sizes sold in most pet stores. They are both larger in size and have higher sides. Here's an online source with a photo:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=21134

Even more effective are the covered litter pans. They come in a variety of designs from simple plastic to wood that looks like a table. You can see some here:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/cat-supplies/litter-boxes-and-accessories/ps/c/3261/1926

I have even seen people use a child's hard plastic wading pool for cats that scatter litter. Of course that only works if you have a roomy basement spot for the litter pan. They put the litter in the center of the wading pool. The cat can dig and scratch a lot without throwing it out. Here is a photo of the type I'm referring to:

graphic

I hope one of these solutions will work for Prince. If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I do not mind the part of his trying to bury his waste and thus pawing at every other spot~I find it kind of funny~ I just clean it after he leaves and I know that he is trying~ it is the other behaviour that he just started yesterday~ after having him three years~ when my husband was alive we lived in the Country and could not flush his waste~ as we had a septic tank~ now I can~he died suddenly a year ago~I thus had quite a large self cleaning box then~ I am very down a lot of the time and don't spend as much time with him~ he sleeps a lot and then it is time for me to go to bed~especially the last two days this new behaviour started of his actually pulling the litter out in to the tub~ where I have his box~the size never bothered him before and I had smaller boxes~it is a lot of work to clean up the tub after ~ as he pulls a lot out~as I said he NEVER did this before yesterday~am I not giving him enough attention or what I wonder this new behaviour has nothing to do with covering his waste~ thanks for any help~ Martha~PS I just thought I would ask the other question at the same time~

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Martha, I am so sorry for your loss and all you've been through. Your suspicions are right that this new behavior on Prince's part is emotional. It is most likely not just a result of you not paying as much attention to him. Everything in Prince's world has been upset, and I suspect it has finally become too much for him. He has chosen this way to show his own distress. Sleeping excessively can also occur when a cat is grieving. From his viewpoint, first a member of the family suddenly disappeared. Then he was moved to a new home, where the remaining family member is depressed and perhaps a bit distant. Cats are very sensitive to our moods, and I'm sure Prince is confused by all this. A behavior change is one way a cat has to show unhappiness, fear, or confusion. Since you are grieving yourself, it can be very difficult for you to help Prince.

One thing that may soothe him a little bit without much effort on your part is to get a Feliway Diffuser. These are plug-in dispensers that diffuse a calming feline pheromone. They can help cats with a variety of emotional issues or stress. You can also get the product as a spray that you can place wherever you want it, but that has to be regularly refreshed. The diffuser provides a continuous supply. I would put one in the room where Prince spends the most time. You can read more here:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=8906

You might also try some ways to get Prince to be more active during the day to use up some energy. If he reacts to catnip, give him a new catnip toy. If he likes to play, but you don't have the will or energy, check the pet store or online pet supply merchant for interactive toys. There are several here that don't require a human to play, such as the 'Peek-a-Prize' :

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/cat-supplies/cat-toys/ps/c/3261/1897

Of course, best of all would be for you to play with him, but I understand that may be too difficult for you right now. If there is a family member or friend who Prince likes, perhaps you could get them to come and spend some time with him as a favor to you. Here is a site that has tips for helping cats deal with grief or stress:

http://woodruffrdah.com/grief-in-cats-how-to-help-a-pet-that-is-grieving/

At the end of that article you'll see that they mention antidepressants. If you think that would help Prince, you could discuss the possibility with your vet.

If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask. I'm here to help.

Anna
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Anna~I just feel so bad for Prince~ we had a large home in the Country with a verandah ~he loved it out there~ now I moved to another province and live in a Condo~ it is big~ but not like our home was nor has any access to the outside~ they won't even allow him in the Halls here where he loved to once go~I thought it would be okay~ but they have House Rules~ but we have been here 7 months now and stayed at my son's for 6 weeks prior~ he was okay there it seemed and here until recently~I have been down lately~ I have lots of toys and the battery operated ones too~ but he does not take a great interest in them~I just wonder why all of a sudden he changed so much~ as my husband has been gone a year now~cats sleep a lot~ so I am confused to how long is normal~I would have a ritual with him every night before bedtime on my bed~ he liked to chase my feet under the covers~ he does not ever seem to want to sleep with me~ so I felt he was just independant~ right now he is in my closet and does not want to come out~I wonder if it is my health recently that his caused this~ as I still have bad days~I do not know anyone here and my son comes as often as he can~sometimes he sleeps when he is here~I guess he should be with a home that has a family~I am too boring for him maybe~I feel terrible for him~we even spent $3500.00 on his eyes before my husband died~ as he had a corneal ulcer on one eye~ as his eye lashes were growing the wrong way~inside instead of out~ there was also the beginning of one on the other eye~we had that done also~ he needs eye gel put in everyday~ so not every one would want him~ putting him down would maybe the best solution~ if he continually gets worse~he does not care to be petted~ are cats like that~ I am feeling bad enough without this now~ Thanks for your help~Martha~

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I feel so sad for you, Martha. Some cats are not affectionate by nature, but if Prince used to be affectionate, then this behavior is not normal for him. When you told me that he hides, I became concerned that he may have a health problem. Make sure that he is urinating. Blockages and infections are common in male cats, and can be life-threatening. Even if he is urinating normally, it wouldn't be a bad idea to take him in for a complete exam, including bloodwork.

You obviously care a great deal for Prince, but your own state of mind may make it impossible for you to care for him properly right now. That would be completely understandable. Putting him down would be a last resort, but finding him a new suitable home may be a solution. The vet clinic where I worked would often help place cats when we knew of someone looking for one. Sometimes a person who recently lost an old cat would like a new companion. so you could start by asking your vet. If you'll tell em what province you live in, I'll see if I can find any Persian cat rescue groups. Such groups are often able to place cats with special needs, such as needing eye gel and some special care to get over grief. I'd be happy to research such groups for you.

Anna
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Anna~ I feel too down I guess to think of placing him~I would worry if he was treated right~he came out of the closet and seems to not like my advances of petting him~of course he always was this way~ he pees quite a lot~ but one thing the Vet said~ there is one where my son takes him to get his nails clipped~ that I am giving him too many LUV treats~I thought I was being kind and he would meow for them~ could he be sick from them~ as I heard that it could cause great problems~ he may be eating more treats than his food~ which is Tuna Iams dry~how would I know if he is sick~ would that litter change show this ~if so then there would be no use in getting a diffuser~I live in Oakville Ontario Cananda~I am so worried~Martha Thanks for being so caring~he is all I have right now and I would miss him~

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I can tell you are so overwhelmed and for good reason. The change in litter behavior alone doesn't indicate sickness, but hiding can. Of course, that can also indicate stress. If your finances permit it, I would have Prince examined to be certain of his health.Then if he is physically well, you could try the diffuser. Too many treats often lead to obesity, nutritional imbalances, and digestive upset, but seldom directly cause illness. Just try to cut back on them.

You seem to be very conflicted about what to do with Prince. I'll give you some links you can keep for future reference if you need them. If you do decide to try find him a new home, here is a place where you can post online:

http://persian.rescueme.org/ca

And here are two rescue groups in Ontario. You could reach them by clicking on the 'Contact' link on their websites.

http://www.ucrcats.com/

http://annexcatrescue.ca/

I'm also very concerned about you. I don't know if you've considered grief counseling. If you haven't, you may want to think about it. It can help a lot. Here is a link to a list of counselors in Oakville:

http://www.theravive.com/therapy/grief-counselling-oakville

If you prefer online communication, it might help to talk with other women who have experienced such loses. Yahoo has several groups for that purpose:

http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=grief+support&sort=relevance

Of course everyone deals with grief in their own way. I just thought I'd mention these resources in case you hadn't considered them. I hope you and Prince can both find some peace.

Anna
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Anna~ I thank you for the links~ it is not expense involved in my situation ~ it is just that I do not drive here and my son does all my errands~ he is and has been very good about helping with Prince~ his eyes are a big concern too~ as I have my own eye problems with high pressure~ that is now under control~ anyway I emptied his litter box today and put all new litter in~ I have not done that for a while~I don't know if this will help~ he is not hiding anymore ~ but he tends to sleep always at this time for quite a while~ even if people are here~ is this normal and do cats sleep a lot~ losing him right now I think would make my own grief even worse~ although I appreciate your help~ would a Vet agree with all of your suggestions~I had one on here ~I forget his name~if he only hid this once does that sound serious~I was staying in bed longer than normal~he has many toys and does not seem to care for them~ maybe I have not hit the right one~ my husband has been gone a year now and would he be still grieving~ he does not seem sick and eats and does not throw up~I try and comb him everyday~to stop hair balls~

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hi again, Martha. Hiding once doesn't indicate illness. I don't think it's urgent to see your vet. As far as the suggestions about the Feliway diffuser, yes a vet would agree.

Prince probably isn't still grieving because of the loss of your husband, but rather, he is upset because you are. Cats pick up on our emotions, and they affect them. Cats do spend more time sleeping than most animals. An average adult cat sleeps about 16 hours per day. Some sleep as many as 20. This amount of sleep is normal.

I hope the litter box change will help.

Anna
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for going beyond the call of duty with Prince~ I never found him an affectionate cat from the first~ which disappointed me~he only likes under his chin rubbed at times when it suits him~he seems very independent~I guess some cats are like this~he has not used the litter box since I cleaned it~ so hopefully this behaviour has stopped~I do have better days than others~ he must sense~ as you say~ not so much about my husband~ but me~it is hard to understand to why he would go in the closet today like that~ my son came over and he just kept resting ~after two seems his normal time ~would a litter box that was not cleaned completely for a while turn him off~ it appeared clean~ yet he may have smelled ouours~I sure hope he does not do this all night tonight~maybe if I put a bit of water in the tub area he will just jump out like he always did before~thanks again for everything~he only weights about 11 pounds~ but looks a lot heavier~I know that I should cut back on his treats~he has a cat tree which he loves~Martha~

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome. Yes, some cats are just not very affectionate. A litterbox that smells slightly off can be enough to turn off many cats. Their noses are much more sensitive than ours. With a little luck, the change will solve the problem.

I wish you and Prince the best, XXXXX XXXXX your outlook for the future will improve. You've had such a rough time, and that is sad.

Take care,

Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 9523
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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