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Goofy Litter Box Issue! Pls Help

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by dvdnj, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. dvdnj

    dvdnj Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    5
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    Apr 15, 2019
    I have a 16 year old brother/sister pair (both fixed as kittens, of course). They are a Maine Coon mix and rather large (15 and 19 pounds). They have always been tidy and non-destructive -- just the perfect cats and I love them very much -- yes, I would go back into the house if it was burning to save them. However, the female is doing something odd that has me at my wit's end -- I even thought about putting her down -- although that just breaks my heart because she is 'family' -- and old, and probably can't help it.

    For the last few weeks she has been either peeing over the side of the box or just doing it next to the box - then sometimes just sleeps on it, or something, because she smells horrendous - as does every place else that she stays - not to mention the litter box area. It is beyond anything I have ever smelled before. I have had to bathe her twice (yeah -- bathing a cat -- but like I said, these are perfect cats -- she never fusses or fights; she just sits in the tub as I scrub her down -- even though she has never had a bath in her entire life -- again, always very tidy purr factories). However, this also happened a few years back so I scoured the universe for the largest sized litter box that I could find -- and they were fine after that. Granted they are really long cats but if she just stepped one more paw forward, she would not keep 'just missing' the litter box. I have come up with a solution to solve the destruction of the floors: rubber mats on the flooring, with a lot of pee pads on top. I have also purchased a second litter box that was lower, in case walking into the box was becoming problematic in her old age. However, she never poops outside of the box, so getting in doesn't seem to be the issue. I think she is getting lazy (she sleeps all day anyway) and old and walking that extra step is too inconvenient (hmmm...she sure has energy when it is time for treats!). It is costing a fortune in pee pads -- and being retired, I have to watch my budget. I have not taken her to the vet -- but quite frankly - even if there is an issue, I am not sure that will stop her laziness - because that is what it appears to be.

    My final 'solution' will be to crate her in the basement -- but that seems cruel - but better than the 'final' alternative, of course. However, since this started, she has stopped any interaction with me. She has always slept next to my recliner in the evening while we watched tv so she could get pet - so I set up a little pillow for her there -- she hasn't used it since it she started making a mess (just as well, since she smells). She used to be the first one in line in the morning waiting for pets when I woke up (she knew exactly my path in the morning and would be right there, waiting) -- now I rarely see her. I know I'll have to take her to the vet in case she has a UTI -- but can imagine they won't be too happy with the smell either - and may insist on bathing her. The trauma will probably kill her -- she allows me to bathe her because she trusts me -- but I think she would panic like most cats if a stranger tried - and sedating her, at her age, is out of the question.

    Although I am not crazy about the mess, the real problem is the smell. I am in the process of getting my house ready to be put up for sale, and the aroma of cat urine is beyond anything anyone could 'see beyond'. Changing the pads as soon as she 'misses' and cleaning the litter boxes daily keeps the smell localized to that area -- but even that isn't acceptable, because even after a thorough cleaning - the aroma lingers, since this is a daily occurrence.
     

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    Hi!
    Please pardon me for coming to the point, but your cat is in trouble.

    Crating her is absolutely not a better alternative because it only leaves her in pain and does nothing to address the issue. It would be kinder to her to put her down now if you aren't going to take her to the vet.

    Cats are clean creatures by nature. Please understand what your cat is trying to tell you. The smell, the change in her regular daily habits to the point that you rarely see her, the missing of the box, all are extremely indicative of health issues and are a long, long way from laziness.

    There are scads of calming products on the market today that will ease her vet related stress quite a lot.

    If you aren't already, try Nature's miracle cleaner, the Equalizer, Fizzion or ScOEx10.

    I very sincerely hope there is something here that will help;
    (apologies for any dead links you may encounter);
    Financial Assistance – Day By Day Caregiver Support Inc.

    Financial Aid for Pets

    No Money For Vet Care? How To Find Help And Save Your Cat's Life

    You should look into these;
    Only Natural Pet has a product called Just Relax Calming spray with essential oil (catnip oil).

    There's this one, be sure and scroll all the way down the page;
    Bach Flower Remedies - Rescue Remedy Pets Dogs Cats Horses Birds

    Music can be useful in helping a cat to relax whether they are healthy and especially when they're not (not 24 hours a day though, just now and then for a couple hours or so). Musicforcats . com, or there's an app called Relax My Cat or there is low volume classical harp music.

    You could try one of these, only a small selection of a fast-growing section of pet products;
    Richard's Organics Pet Calm-this one is drops that you put on the tip of the tongue. Also, Quiet Moments Cat treats, and there is Calming Care, Calm-o-mile, Sentry, Natures Miracle calming spray, Vetri-Science's Composure is another item to look at, Pet Remedy (it has valerian) is yet another, as is Essential Pet Pet-ease, Only Natural Pet (brand and website) has calming products, Pet Naturals also has one I believe.

    Also Thunderease has diffusers as does Sentry, Comfort Zone and feliway as mentioned although diffusers are expensive and not always the answer.

    If it's legal where you are, you might want to check with your vet but some people have good results with CBD oil, plus there are vet-prescribed calming products too.
    Lambert Vet Supply is a website to look at, and of course chewy, also there's Petwishpros, animaleo, 1-800-petmeds, Petco and PetSmart, and other pet stores.

    There is also a product called a lickimat which could be helpful, as cats can be calmed by the process of licking. The LickiMat - Food Puzzles for Cats

    This discussion's post talks about some other products;
    Calming Treats For A Very Picky Cat
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
    Kflowers, danteshuman, basschick and 3 others purraised this.

  3. Hellenww

    Hellenww TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Mar 5, 2018
    South Jersey, USA
    You're right the first thing I'd suggest is a vet visit for UTI. It's possible she just can't hold it to get further into the box.
    Is she drinking enough and eating wet food? Strong smelling urine in a neutered cat makes me think she needs more fluids.
    At her age I also wonder about arthritis. Do they get any supplements? I give my 11 and 13 yr old Nodens cat hip and joint. After only a week I saw a big change in my older boy. I just found https://www.chewy.com/liquid-health-pets-joint-purr-fection/dp/147945 that appears to have the same ingredients at a much better price and will try it next month.
     

  4. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    She is sick, she is 16, she needs to be seen by a vet. When my cat, Feeby (14+ yo) was peeing over the top of the litter box - two things came into play: 1.) UTI, and 2.) arthritis. Get her to a vet. She can even be given a small dose of something like Gabapentin to calm her before the trip - just ask the vet if you can pick up some before hand.

    She is 'lazy' because she is 16. Feeby is lazy as well. For your cat, you are talking about a cat in the range of 100 years old in human years. If you are I are lucky to get near there, we will be considered 'lazy' too. Feeby does pick up the pace when a favorite treat of hers is involved as well. It's call 'motivation'. At that age, sometimes food is all they have left to soothe them.

    To remove urine smells from the carpet, get "The Equalizer" - it can be found on multiple internet sites. It doesn't require saturating the carpet, hence less drying time, if that is an issue for you.

    And, echo everything from @Furballsmom and @Hellenww too. After getting her issues 'squared away', get your boy in before something goes wrong with him too.

    Edited: Just in case you didn't know UTIs are painful, and when a cat feels pain peeing, they associate it with the box and stop using it to try to avoid pain.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019

  5. Hellenww

    Hellenww TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    781
    Mar 5, 2018
    South Jersey, USA
    I've been using this on my skittish boy for about a month and he asks for pets much more than before. A vet should be able to deal with a smelly cat for an exam without insisting on a bath. They have gloves and deal with animals all day.
     
    dvdnj and Furballsmom purraised this.

  6. dvdnj

    dvdnj Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Apr 15, 2019
    Thank you all for your frank replies!! I will get her to her vet - pronto!!! Yes, I've suspected arthritis is also in play -- since she rarely moves and when she does, it is stiffly. I admit, although realizing she is old could possibly be a factor -- it didn't really sink in (until you all insisted :-) -- because her brother is so 'youthful'. He is very active and when he had blood work done about a year ago, the vet was shocked at his numbers -- he said he rarely even sees a much younger cat have numbers that good. She also was brought in around that time because she seemed to have back pain (of course, she didn't make a sound when he examined her - and also found nothing wrong after testing). But he did say that some pets will suppress their pain when being examined by strangers -- it went away soon there after so I never knew what was ailing her. But thank you for the advice about the calming meds -- I think she'll be fine going to the vet (I was just concerned if they insisted on bathing her) -- but also thank you for your encouragement that they have been around smelly animals. I hope they understand.
    They definitely get a lot of water - especially after I switched them to a dog bowl after I found the male always drinking out of the dog's bowl. I guess it is easier for them to access compared to the smaller cat sized bowls that I had given them for years.
    Again, thank you all for your prompt replies!
     
    Furballsmom, Hellenww and FeebysOwner purraised this.

  7. basschick

    basschick TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 7, 2016
    our older cat started peeing next to the box when he developed kidney disease and arthritis, both of which can be treated to make a cat more comfortable and pee in the box more. he lay in the box a few times, probably due to exhaustion at one point but from arthritis at other times. cosequin helped a lot with the arthritis and he no longer lies in the box.

    for that matter, we now have a huge tray instead of a litter box - originally it went under the litter box so that when he missed the box or peed outside of it, the tray caught it. it's an extra large dog kennel tray. as HK had more trouble climbing into the box, we removed the box altogether, put a huge piece of linoleum under the tray to catch issues - we taped it to the floor with blue tape that doesn't damage the floor.
     

  8. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    I wish the best of luck to your MC girl - and you - with the vet visit! You are very lucky at your cats' age that there haven't been other issues. Just means, overall good care by you for your babies (and, some good genes too :)) !!

    Please keep us posted!!
     
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  9. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Colorado USA
    Let us know how things go, now that you've come here, we care about you, and your furbabies are nearly as much ours as they are yours :vibes::heartshape: :crossfingers: :redheartpump:
     
    dvdnj, basschick and FeebysOwner purraised this.

  10. dvdnj

    dvdnj Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Apr 15, 2019
    That is so sweet -- thank you. :blush:
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

  11. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Colorado USA
    Hi! How are things?
     
    FeebysOwner purraised this.

  12. dvdnj

    dvdnj Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    5
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    Apr 15, 2019
    Thank you, furballsmom!! and all -- for your support. Cali was diagnosed with UTI (as most of you suspected ;-); she's been on meds (low dose because of her age, for now). After the urine test, he gave her a quick look over and said she looks good for her age. And of course was so well-behaved at the vet. :-) And she is actually getting back to her same-ol' self!! She has not pee'd over the edge of her box in two days - and she's also back to sleeping next to my recliner throughout the day! :-) She also loves the extra attention she is getting at mealtime (I feed her privately to ensure she is the only one eating from the bowl with meds in it) - and she just purrs like a kitten. She even moves around a bit more too - lol! But best of all - she doesn't smell anymore. I did give her a bath before we went to the vet - and she has not soiled herself since. So I'm a happy camper. :-) So...so far, so good!! Thanks for all your support and suggestions! :-)
     
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  13. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Colorado USA
    Oh this is fantastic to hear!! Thank you for a wonderful update!
     
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  14. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    :yess:
     
    Furballsmom and dvdnj purraised this.

  15. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jul 28, 2018
    The best way to tell if a cat has arthritis is to have a full body x-ray taken. since she is large it might take two. If she does have arthritis and the vet can't tell that by touch if the cat doesn't want him to know. Well, some will attack if the touch hurts, the x-ray will show every where she might have it. Just because her brother doesn't have it doesn't mean she doesn't. You can buy some over the counter medicine - cosuquin or dasuquin (chewy.com, petmeds) without an Rx from from your vet. These are less expensive - much less expensive than what the vet will offer and have few side effects.

    Our cat developed arthritis before she was one. Dasuquin made a huge difference to the good in her temperament and ability to move.
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

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