Litter Box Issues

CrisL

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Hello everyone I recently joined the forums in the hopes of receiving some advice regarding some issues I’ve been having. We have inherited a cat last December, I’m not much of a cat person but my wife is. Her name is Mimosa and she is a 3 year old Norwegian Forest Cat, we received this cat for free as the previous family where having issues with allergies. My wife has been wanting a cat for along time since she came to Canada, she grew up with cats in Mexico. Mimosa is very sweet and gentle and loving and not aggressive at all. But ever since arriving to our new home she has only pooped in her box just a few times, and the rest of the times all over the house. But she does not poop consistently, but rather every 3 days or so. As I am not a cat person, I researched frantically since getting her in order to be more informed and learn more about their behaviour. Now here are some facts: over the course of the last two months and a half, we have bought another litter box, so she has two, with regular uncented litter and scented as well. We have tried putting the boxes in different places around the house. We used to mix the litter but not anymore, so one litter box is scented and the other one is just regular uncented litter. The cat pees fine in any of the boxes. When the third day comes she will poop unexpectedly anywhere, I once locked her in the laundry for a few minutes as I noticed she was going to poop, and she did poop in the box in less than a minute, tried that a second time on the next third day and she pooped outside the box. We have looked about possible issues of constipation so we have given her only can food mixed with water, canned pumpkin with the food and ocasionally some laxatives. Her feces is sometimes a little hard and sometimes not. She also seems to get spooked every time she poops and runs and hides especially if she carries chunks of poop on her butt, me and my wife had to clean her a few times. We took her to the vet to rule out medical conditions, the doctor was not very helpful and only suggested we change her food and play around with the litter boxes, he ruled out constipation. I should also point out that the cat is declawed, the previous owner did this when she was a kitten because she used to climb the curtains. We have also bought a litter attractant, and treats to calm her if she gets anxious, when she goes on car rides she will poop the carrier fairly quick due to nervousness. I have spent quite a bit of money with vet visits, grooming and cat stuff, oh and she will also pee and poop any potential bed we buy so she ended up with nothing and sleeps anywhere in the house. Im almost certain this is a behaviour issues that we can’t correct. That’s pretty much it, I know it’s a lot to read but I’m growing anxious as nothing we try is working, any suggestions will be appreciated, attached are some images of Mimosa and her litter boxes.
 

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Meowmee

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She is gorgeous, she reminds me of my Syb, who passed May 2018, she was part nfc part Siberian. ( my profile pic) She also had a problem, but it was peeing outside the box. She was a rescue and someone had trained her to pee on paper. So eventually I got her to pee on wee pads in stainless steel boxes mostly although she would still pee on papers and other things at times. I think it was part behavioral( she was stressed by my other cats etc at times maybe) and part due to interstitial cystitis a dvm thought, she said to give her more wet food. She was not declawed.
Since your girl was declawed it could be due to that because it can cause them to have pain stepping on litter so maybe try a softer litter, like the softer ococat. But it is odd that she will pee in the box, some cats like different boxes for pee and poop, so maybe add more boxes in. Another thing I would try is only wet food and a home cooked diet and more water. And trim the fur around her bum and or shave her in spring so poop doesn't get stuck. Good luck and don’t give up on her, maybe a behaviorist can help figure it out.
 

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She may not like the litter. Also, she might not like pooping and peeing in the same box, so add a second box to see if that helps. As for the litter, try something that is unscented and maybe a finer grain so that it doesn't bother her paws. If you change litter, do it very gradually. Start with a 25% new and 75% old litter and gradually increase new litter. I like to put the new on the bottom and the current litter on top and let them mix it when they cover.
 
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CrisL

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I’d also like to point out that the very few times that she has pooped in the box, she doesnt cover it but rather runs like crazy, even when she poops in the floor she runs and hides as if she was afraid of something and it takes us a while to calm her down, we did shave her butt area a few days ago, she has not pooped since Tuesday, hoping she will poop tomorrow in the box! I’m hoping someone with a similar issue will give us some direction, thank you for all your responses.
 

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Our boy had litter box issues for a long time, but his turned out to be a neurological issue. He would pee in his box consistently, but only pooped every other day. When he did, it seemed to surprise him and he got upset afterwards.

My understanding is that cats are generally expected to poop once a day. Anything beyond three days is cause for concern and an enema, because of the toxicity build up. We learned how to do these at home, because vet trips were expensive and more stressful.

Considering her reaction to pooping, it sounds like she is in pain when she goes. Does she have any other issues with her hind end?

Also: We are here to support you! You have tried a lot of the main things any vet would suggest first and that is great. Don't give up hope yet!
 
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CrisL

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Our boy had litter box issues for a long time, but his turned out to be a neurological issue. He would pee in his box consistently, but only pooped every other day. When he did, it seemed to surprise him and he got upset afterwards.

My understanding is that cats are generally expected to poop once a day. Anything beyond three days is cause for concern and an enema, because of the toxicity build up. We learned how to do these at home, because vet trips were expensive and more stressful.

Considering her reaction to pooping, it sounds like she is in pain when she goes. Does she have any other issues with her hind end?

Also: We are here to support you! You have tried a lot of the main things any vet would suggest first and that is great. Don't give up hope yet!
Thanks for your response. I don’t think she has any issues with her behind I mean the doctor checked her out and never really suggested anything else. and If she was in pain we would know, I was actually really disappointed at the doctors diagnosis and his suggestions, and as you mentioned I cannot be taking her to the vet consistently, we really don’t have the finances for all that at the moment......
 

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I’d also like to point out that the very few times that she has pooped in the box, she doesnt cover it but rather runs like crazy, even when she poops in the floor she runs and hides as if she was afraid of something and it takes us a while to calm her down, we did shave her butt area a few days ago, she has not pooped since Tuesday, hoping she will poop tomorrow in the box! I’m hoping someone with a similar issue will give us some direction, thank you for all your responses.
Syb never covered her poop either, my last dvm thought many cats with pee problems do not cover poop. It is a sign of trying to assert dominance which a territorially stressed cat may do. I am not sure about the running away and being scared.

Quinn, my siamese boy, has always announced that he has pooped since he was young, he meows or yowls a bit and then runs in from the studio or garage where his box is. He is not scared though. I will check to see if there are good articles about pooping issues. I thin the declawing may be part of the issue here maybe. He only poops every 2 days usually, dvm said nothing to worry about. With his home made diet he can get constipated so I add a teaspoon of pumpkin once. A day to his food.

Here is one article and there are more to click on. Another issue could be the cleanliness of the box. Some cats like it very clean and scooped out frequently.

Help! Why Won't My Cat Poop in the Litter Box?

Stop Your Cat From Pooping on Your Rug
 
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Saturnine2587

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I always thought not covering the poop was a dominance thing. My eldest female started doing it right after my male kitten came home so he knew his place? Are there any other animals in the house? Is the litter box in a very private area? But with multiple exits? Was she feral in anyway? Feral cats tend to poop cover and run to avoid detection from predators. Maybe it’s habitual and just needs time to resolve itself. Perhaps a feliway spray of the entire house and especially the litter box(es) is in order.
 

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Her name is Mimosa and she is a 3 year old Norwegian Forest Cat, we received this cat for free as the previous family where having issues with allergies
Hi. She is so pretty!!! I am going to guess that allergies were not the issue, but rather her pooping habits and they knew it would be easier to find someone to take her if it wasn't litter box issues. Sorry, but some people are just not 'up-front' about these things. Have you talked to the previous owners about this, just to see what they say? Nonetheless, glad you have her!
We have looked about possible issues of constipation so we have given her only can food mixed with water, canned pumpkin with the food and ocasionally some laxatives. Her feces is sometimes a little hard and sometimes not. She also seems to get spooked every time she poops and runs and hides especially if she carries chunks of poop on her butt, me and my wife had to clean her a few times. We took her to the vet to rule out medical conditions, the doctor was not very helpful and only suggested we change her food and play around with the litter boxes, he ruled out constipation.
Why did the vet rule out constipation? She runs and hides after pooping outside the box because she knows it isn't what she is supposed to do. And, 'chunks' would seem to lend itself to describing harder stools than they should be.
I should also point out that the cat is declawed, the previous owner did this when she was a kitten because she used to climb the curtains.
Being declawed likely has nothing to do with it, especially since she pees in the litterbox. A good way to help check this out - although not definitively, is: does she cover her pee? Since she doesn't cover her poop, it is possible she won't cover her pee either - IF it were to be related to her claw 'condition'. However, I will point out that Feeby covers neither pee or poop 95+% of the time - but, she never goes outside the box (she still sometimes scratches the litter anyway, just not effectively!). You can also try using puppy pee pads near the litter boxes and see if she will poop on those.

When you did give her laxatives, did you do it consistently? If not, you likely need to try that. 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of Miralax a day to start with, and if you see any improvement at all (in terms of how often she poops, and the consistency of it), reduce the dosage or back it off to every other day. This could actually take a while for you to find the right dosage and how often. This could be short-term or long term, depending on what other avenues you pursue. Technically, there is no 'norm' for how often a cat will poop, but every 3 days is really a bit abnormally long. Btw - depending on what is causing the possible constipation, pumpkin can have the opposite effect, just so you know.

I hope some of the above posts from other members will help, but just wanted to tell you what I thought as well.
 

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Adding to what Feebysowner said when my kitties get tummy troubles I give them almo brand wet food with chicken and pumpkin mixed into a broth. Helps a lot!
 
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CrisL

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Thank you all for your suggestions, to answer some of the questions asked: she is not feral as I explained in the original post, we Inherited the cat by a family who had issues with allergies, to my knowledge this family had recently moved to a new home and the cat had begun to poop in their couch. According to the owner she did poop in the litter box and in fact on the second day of her being with us, she did poop in her box while we where away. The problem began gradually, also as I said, if I take her on a car ride, she will poop her cage within 5 minutes without any issues. At first we thought that it might be a thing related to anxiety and all she had to do is get used to the house but the problem worsened, also we have no other pets, it’s just me and my wife in the house. The last time she pooped was last Tuesday as we took her to the vet, that means today is pooping day, I tend to think also that she holds it in for some reason. We are going to try something else today, we are buying a scratching post as I’ve been reading that declawed cats also need to scratch, and i do see Mimosa from time to time scratching at the walls, this may help her feel like a normal cat again and hopefully reduce any anxiety but to be honest she’s never anxious unless she gets poop stuck in her butt. We where also disappointed at the doctors diagnosis as I should have preferred some deeper examinations. Now if I want to do another examination I have to pay again and I’m in no position to be paying vet bills at the moment.
 

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It looks like she didn't cover her pee either in that pic you posted so I would try the ococat right away or a softer litter and see if it helps maybe. Even if the declawing is not the cause it may make her feel more comfortable with the box overall. You might want to try wee pads as well in some extra boxes. Try all the other suggestions too and the scratcher is a great idea.

I don’t know if anyone suggested changing box location, but if you add in extra boxes you can try some other locations. A lot of cats like a private place for their lb.

What's the Best Litter for Declawed Cats?
 
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CrisL

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It looks like she didn't cover her pee either in that pic you posted so I would try the ococat right away or a softer litter and see if it helps maybe. Even if the declawing is not the cause it may make her feel more comfortable with the box overall. You might want to try wee pads as well in some extra boxes. Try all the other suggestions too and the scratcher is a great idea.

I don’t know if anyone suggested changing box location, but if you add in extra boxes you can try some other locations. A lot of cats like a private place for their lb.

What's the Best Litter for Declawed Cats?
Thanks for the suggestions, I read the article you posted, I’m willing to try the different litter. At this point since I don’t know what the problem is so it’s difficult to pinpoint the solution, I just bought a scratcher and she is ignoring it and scratches walls and floors. All this is costing me a fortune, now I have to buy a different litter. Tonight is pooping night, she is eating right now and I’m monitoring her as sooner or later she’ll have to go, the question is, where will she poop?
 

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I know how hard this is because I had my Syb who peed outside the box which is a lot worse than dry poop, believe me😹 keep persisting and you will figure it out. Is she doing any damage scratching? I would think without claws she can’t be doing damage? Big hugs😊 🙏🏻 For poop inside box.
The old litter and the scratcher can be returned if they are from petco. Or another big store. Just explain the situation. Or donated if not, save it until you see anyway if she prefers another litter. Or starts using the scratcher.
 
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CrisL

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So as expected, after dinner Mimosa started with her strange behaviour, she would hide behind the curtains in the shape of a furry ball. I knew that she was holding it in, so I had to pick her up, put her in the laundry room with a litter box and close the door for 5mins. After a few minutes we opened and unsurprisingly she had pooped on the far side of the laundry room against the wall, of course completely ignoring the litter box. So me and my wife again on clean up duty, her stool was very soft by the way, this is not an issue with constipation, the cat is holding it in for some reason, she came out of the room and went to her spot by the window, still spooked, she probably has some poop on her butt that we have to clean. This is what we have to deal with every three days. If we had left her alone she would have chosen any other part of the house to do her stuff. Now my other option is to try another type of litter......😑😑😑😑. Below is a pic of her curled into a ball, we continue to be puzzled by all this.....
 

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Sorry😿🤗 well it sounds like she is avoiding the box so I would try a new litter for sure. She could be having pain in her paws etc. and or she does not like the box, the litter, the location. Try wee pads and different boxes as well. And research for a dvm who deals with gastro issues and declawing issues, it could be a combo of things causing it. I am not sure about the long time in between poop but Quinn only poops every 2-3 days usually, more like 1-2 now and his dvm said he is a ok. I do add the pumpkin to help him due to his diet which lacks fiber.

it looks like she wants to go outside to go maybe? Was she ever allowed outside?
 
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CrisL

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Hello everyone, we’ve had a partial success, sorry for the grotesque pic below but Mimosa did poo on the box, technically, she also scattered some small poos out of the box, after supper I put her on the laundry room again and locked her in for 2 minutes, and that was the result. What I did differently is that I placed smaller amounts of uncented litter and a diaper out of the box. Right after pooing when I let her out, she hid underneath the couch however, yet she carried no excess poo on her butt, something scares her, that is what puzzles us. Yesterday she pooped on our kitchen chair while I was at work, my wife was right there, she ran and hid underneath the couch. We are going to implement this procedure every evening after supper, it seems to us that she is holding it in for some bizarre reason, and by the way, she’s not constipated. 💩
 

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Is the new litter softer? I am thinking that is they key here maybe. Okocat is the softest one I have found. Thre are two varieties and one is softer than the other.

Super Soft Clumping Wood Cat Litter

The fact that she is holding it in and not constipated suggests she is avoiding pooping in the box and as someone said she may run away after because she knows she is not supposed to do it outside the box. Maybe a hooded box to give her privacy. I was thinking maybe the reason she will P in the box but not poop is because they have to be in a different position to poop and it may hurt her paws more? I don’t know I have never had a cat who was declawed so hopefully someone who has and has had some litter box issues due to it will come along and give some advice.
Did the dvm test her stool and see if she has a uti? Sometimes a more urgenthealth issue can cause this too.

That is so strange that she is so fearful but she will pee in the box and sometimes still poop in it. Could she be scared of the location? Is there somewhere else you can lock her in to see if she likes it more?
She is so pretty, she reminds me of my Syb so much💕 Here she is in full fluff which was a glorious sight to
behold in person.
B264A764-EF09-4820-9A48-A88D8C3E917E.jpeg
 
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So glad to hear you have had some success!! Has her poop always been so dark? I have had limited cat experience, so I hope other chime in too, but that picture makes her stool look almost black. Could you afford to have her stool tested for any GI issues?
 
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