Defecating to send a message?

2tuxedo_cats

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We’ve had Guy for 6 years now (SPCA didn’t know how old he was, he doesn’t seem elderly yet even though he was sold to us as a senior citizen).

We’ve got a problem with Guy defecating in strange locations, not all the time, fairly infrequently (thankfully). This is not a litter problem as my husband clears it out daily and washes the boxes monthly.

I’m painting a room in the house and have a drop cloth down. This morning I noticed the drop cloth had been peed on. Later I noticed he had peed on a cloth I had planned to use as a drop cloth. The cloth was sitting at the back of our new futon (1 month old). I sat at the front of the futon and must have leaned back. When I went to pick up the drop cloth, I noticed poop squished between the drop cloth and the futon. There was also pee that had soaked to the futon from the drop cloth. You’d think I would have smelled this before or after sitting there but I didn’t :-/

He’s peed on the drop cloth of a man who was drywalling here a few years ago. Over the years, he’s peed on 2 laptop cases that were on the floor, and other clothing that happened to be on a couch. He’s peed on my son’s lacrosse gear and in his running shoes several times. I used to figure he was trying to cover up the smell of sweat but that doesn’t explain the drop cloths.

He also has had the audacity to pee right in front of us. Once as we were watching TV he turned in a circle a few timers and then started peeing on the carpet near the wall. Another time he peed on the floor beside me while I was working at the computer.

His nightly position is on my husband’s lap as he gets pet like there’s no tomorrow. Once, just once, he was getting pet and pooped right there in his lap. 😳

Once, years ago he pooped in my son’s bedroom but that’s when my son was in charge of the litter and I think Guy was legitimately trying to send him a message.

What is wrong with this cat? Is he trying to send a message of some sort? He’s got a pretty good life here as a pampered indoor cat so I can’t figure out what his issue is.

Help.
 

Jem

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He needs a vet. You need to rule out any medical problems before you can even try to change a possible behavior. It could crystals, cystitis or UTI. And considering you don't quite know his age, it could be some arthritis causing him pain when using the litter box.
You mention it's not a litter box issue, but how many do you have in the house? Some cats are VERY picky and require two as they don't like to poop and pee in the same one. So perhaps the timing of the pees and poops are when it's been soiled by the other one.
Perhaps his feels his territory is threatened by an outdoor visitor (stray, neighborhood pet, wild animal...)
And there really is a whole host of other things that can cause a cat to go outside the box but as mentioned above...get him to a vet first to rule out a medical issue. Some cats will even go out of the box due to pain completely unrelated, like a tooth issue.
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. Sorry, though, for the situation that brought you here. I agree with Jem Jem that you should make a vet appointment and get him checked out to ensure he doesn't have anything medical going on. Once that's ruled out, we can try to figure out what might be causing his litter box avoidance issues.
 

fionasmom

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Not to scare you.....I had one, Loki, years ago who was a big sprayer. Went to the vet regularly and nothing was wrong. Once he even got up onto my desk when I was writing and backed up to me and hosed my entire face. He eventually suffered a blockage which was extremely serious....almost as if it was something that was coming but not detected previously.
 

pmv

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Well, in terms of what messages a cat can send by spraying or pooping outside the litter box:

1. "The litter box is too dirty" - though you indicate it's not this one.
2. "I don't like the litter / litter box / litter box location" - some litters can be hard on cats or just unpleasant (particularly declawed cats who can have sensitive paws). Try putting additional litter boxes near problem areas and try to see if an alternate type of litter is better received. Also, while people may like covered litter boxes in obscure locations, that isn't what a cat prefers (particularly in households with other animals, you don't want to make a litter box a "death trap" if they get ambushed there).
3. "I want to mate" - if this one is the case, get the cat spayed or neutered. It's better for their own health and happiness, too.
4. "I feel territorially insecure". This one may be the most likely, particularly if your cat is seeing other cats out the window / smelling other cats nearby.
5. "I have a medical issue" - this could be a UTI or even something like constipation can make the cat go outside their box.
 

felinelover2

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In terms of pmv's list, it seems like either #4 or #5. A vet should help rule out #5, in which case the peeing is likely spraying to mark (or re-mark, if drop-cloths are placed over the floor of the territory). Unless you're doing a lot of painting, the drop-cloth situation should be temporary but to help the other situations (clothes, laptop cases, etc) give the cat a lot of their own appropriate scent soakers - cat trees, cat beds, scratching posts, litter boxes. This will give kitty places to leave their scent and 'own' their territory without resorting to spraying.

You may want to look around outside and make sure there are no unwanted nightly visitors (cats or other animals) that may be making kitty want to mark their territory.

Good luck and I hope you find something that works for you.
 
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