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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20720
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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I'm wondering if whisker damage would cause a kitten to have

Customer Question

I'm wondering if whisker damage would cause a kitten to have trouble using a litter box ?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the kitten's name?
Customer: Duckie
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Duckie?
Customer: She's skinnier than her sister. They were both rescues
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

Hi,I'm Dr Scott. Welcome to JustAnswer, I am working on your question now, you can expect a written reply sometime within the next ten minutes or so.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Okay thanks.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

But before I can start I need a little more information to make things clearer to me, so could you please confirm the following :

1. How old is Duckie ?

2. Does she have problems or difficulty trying to pass urine or faeces, or is it that she is not using the litter tray but is going elsewhere in the house ?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I'd say she's a few months old I'd I had to guess. I dont know exactly. I don't think she's having trouble going to the bathroom, but she keeps peeing in my bathroom and in my bed lately. I got some enzyme cleaning spray as well as some deterrent spray that I've put on my bed, but she keeps having accidents there. I've moved a box back into my bedroom to make it easier for her but she's still doing it.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Maybe like 2 or 3 months old I guess ?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I just noticed yesterday how much shorter her whiskers are than her sisters, so I'm wondering if that's why she's acting odd about where to use the bathroom at
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I did a little research and I've been giving her lots of extra affection to help her feel safe while they grow back. She's off balance sometimes, and can't judge distances very well. I have an adult cat in the home as well and she's getting relocated to another house of mine to try and lessen the stress on the kittens.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

Hello again,

What you are seeing is highly unlikely to be related to her whiskers, probably she is just a young kitten trying to adjust to her new surroundings, hopefully as she gets older she will become a clean house cat. However this is a very frustrating problem I know, however 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, you may have tried some of these already, but for the sake of completeness I will run through the complete list.

1. The first thing to do is to have Duckie 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 actually 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 Duckie 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

I hope I have given you a few ideas on how to handle this frustrating problem. But in any case I should be available online for you the next four or five hours today so please do not hesitate to get straight back to me if you would like to talk things over with me further.

Regards,

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.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Well I plan on bringing them to a vet once I have the money to pay for both if them at once. They're using the same box and litter that I taught them with and it wasn't a problem at first. But they were kept in a bedroom until they got used to the boxes then we let them roam the house with no problems. But the older cat we have is quite mean to them, (and everyone really) so would you think that once I remove the mean cat, the kittens will resume normal behavior ? They were using the box just fine with no accidents on the bed prior to me letting them roam the house once I thought they were litter trained..
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

I have to say that stress from the older cat being mean could could well be the root of the problem ....

Regards,

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.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Okay, my plan is to move the older cat to my other house this weekend. How long would you estimate that it'll take for the kittens to notice she's gone and to go back to being normal ? Just so I'm not expecting immediate results if that isn't going to be the case
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

I would have thought that the kittens will gradually settle back in over the period of a week or so ...

Regards,

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.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Okay that sounds good. Is there any way to repair the relationship between the older cat and the kittens ? I've heard that if cats don't get along after 3 weeks, that they never will. I don't know if that's an old wives tale or not, but I'd love to have everyone living together peacefully.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

I think the best plan is to gradually reintroduce the older cat when the kittens are a bit bigger and almost adult size, they will then be much more able to hold their own. Also by that time they will have firmly accepted your house as their territory which will make them more confident when the older cat comes back. In my experience cats can accept each other and settle in no matter what the time gap. Something like Feliway could also greatly help at the reintroduction.

Regards,

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.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Okay that sounds like a good idea. Originally my plan was to bring the two kittens to my other house but they were too little when I first got them and they had to be litter trained first. But I thought they would do better together in a new place. The older cat is better at being alone anyway, so odds are she'll like it better away from the little ones.
What would the feliway do to help my situation ? I'm not familiar with it
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

Feliway is like a calming hormone and tends to help greatly with territorial issues, I was quite sceptical about it at first but many of the clients at my clinic told me it worked well for them. More info via their website : LINK

Regards,

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 1 month ago.

Hello again,

I am just checking back in to see how your kittens are getting on after our recent dialogue ...

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

Regards,

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.