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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20274
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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Our 12 year old female cat uses the liter box for peeing but

Customer Question

our 12 year old female cat uses the liter box for peeing but refuses for poop. We have two other cats in the house. Is there a way to retrain this old cat?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome,

This is just a quick note to let you know that I have picked up your question and am working on it now.

My name is***** and I am a small animal vet with many years experience in treating cats and dogs and smaller pets, rest assured I will do my best to answer your question to your satisfaction today. You can expect to receive a written reply sometime within the next ten minutes or so.


Dr Scott

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
the poop is generally in same place in the floor
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
on the floor
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 10 months ago.

No problem, just starting to type out your answer now ...


Dr Scott

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 10 months ago.

Hello again

I have worked out an answer for you below.

1. This is a very frustrating problem I know but there are things you can try, I have worked out a plan of action for you, this is drawn from the practice handout which I give to clients where their cats have behaved like your one, some of these solutions have worked well.

1. The first thing to do is to have Tonya checked over by your vet regarding this problem, you should do so in case there is some medical problem or other at the root of her behaviour. While this may be unlikely this is your logical starting point as you would not want to miss medical causes. If she gets a clean bill of health at your vet then logically it must be a behavioural problem of some sort, and this is not uncommon in the cat.

2. When you clean up after where your cat has been dirty use one of the odour eliminator type solutions you can get from the vet or pet store. These work as they have a biological action like a washing machine soap powder and digest organic matter. In fact a dilute solution of such a soap powder is a good thing to use as well. If you just use normal soap and water it will smell fine to you but to your cat it will still smell it afterwards, and if the place smells like a public toilet to her then she may use it as such! Make sure you leave the cleaning agent to soak for a while.

3. Best advice is to keep the litter trays well away from food or water bowls because that could be reason she does not use the trays. Having an additional litter tray in another part of the house is always a good idea as well.

4. Change your cat litter to another brand which is very different in colour and texture from the brand you are using now. Also consider using earth from the garden or peat from the garden centre instead of cat litter, it is not quite so absorbent as cat litter in terms of smells etc. but it is much more natural for the cat and might bring her back into her litter tray. If this works then you can gradually switch back to commercial cat litter.

5. This could be your best idea : Some cats start to be dirty in the house in response to some anxiety, another cat in the house or neighbourhood etc. They may just have seen another cat through the window or smelled them under the front door. Products such as Feliway can help here, some of my clients swear by Feliway and it has helped them a lot. Here is a link to this product so you can check it out : LINK

6. Some cats respond to low level tranquillisers where territorial anxiety concerning other cats is a factor but this is a last resort, it often works well though. These are prescription drugs so you will have to talk this over with your vet.


Dr Scott
Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 10 months ago.

Hello again,

I am just checking back in to see how your cat is getting on after our recent dialogue concerning her behavioural problem and to make sure that you do not need any more information on the subject.

Please get back to me and let me know how things are going.


Dr Scott

Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue. Such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.