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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20928
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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He has started peeing and pooping on my couch. he also uses

Customer Question

he has started peeing and pooping on my couch. he also uses his liter box.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the cat's name and age?
Customer: Jakie =- 15 1/2 years old
JA: What is the cat's name?
Customer: Jakie
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Jakie?
Customer: no other than he has never peed/pooped outside his box until recently. He has also started lying in my stall shower.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

How long has he had these signs?

Are the stools loose or hard compared to normal?

Is he passing large or small volumes of urine?

Any change to his drinking, weight or appetite?

Any changes at home (ie new pets, new animals outside, new people, renovations/ house moves, changes in schedule, etc)?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
He just started doing this in the past 30 days. Stools are normal. He seems thinner to me. No new changes at home.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Is someone responding to my questions?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

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,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

You are very welcome, my dear.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. B.

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