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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 505
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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My 9 yr old cat has stopped using the kitty box. Today I heard

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My 9 yr old cat has stopped using the kitty box. Today I heard him cry a few times I thought he was having a bad dream. Then tonite he pooped and peed a big puddle on the dining room table. He stays in one area all the time. I cant afford a vet so please advice what to do.
Hi there,

I'm sorry to hear that Ozzie is having litter box issues. How frustrating! Litter box problems in cats can have many causes, but here are my thoughts.

-First of all, we need to rule out a medical problem. Urinary tract infections in cats and crystals in urine can cause discomfort and trigger changes in where they go to the bathroom. I know you cannot afford a vet right now, but as soon as it becomes possible, he should have an exam and urinalysis. If there is an underlying medical problem, nothing you do may help until it is fixed. Most cat foods are already acidifying to the urine, so home remedies like cranberry juice that do this generally don't work in cats. Male cats sometimes form urinary obstructions that keep them from being able to urinate. If he's crying in the box and trying unsuccessfully to pee, he needs to go to the vet right away-- this could become life threatening very, very fast.

-There is no such thing as a litter box trained cat. Cats go where they like best, XXXXX XXXXX they stop liking the litter box best, XXXXX XXXXX is problems like what you see. Have you changed your litter, or the box itself? If so, change them back. Have at least as many boxes as you have cats, plus one, and put them in different areas of the house. Try adding a box in the room he likes to go.

-If he's developing arthritis, it might be hard for him to get in and out of the box. Try finding one with lower sides.

-Over-the-counter Feliway is a calming pheromone that can sometimes help cats go back in the box.

-Keep your boxes impeccably clean and scoop daily.

-Losing weight can help cats improve their litter box habits. It can also contribute to stress, which can worsen litter box problems. Make sure that he is losing weight slowly-- a safe rate for cats is 1/8 of a pound a month.

-Clean his messes with an enzymatic cleaner to break down the components of urine that draw him back to the same place to go again.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.

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