Luna's litter box problem

Mochiandme

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Hi. I don't know where to begin. Luna is a 3/4 yr old scaredy cat that I saved from a bad situation. My ex-friend's friend's family was renting out one small room (5 family members) and he decided to add a kitten to that situation. Luna had problems pooping on the stair carpet, my mom was done with her, and then we got hardwood floors and that fixed the problem. We saved 2 kittens later on who currently bully her, Luna was living in my room, and she would go to the bathroom under my bed. We decided to add a litter box and it was okay for a little bit but she would rather go on the floor. We moved her to the downstairs bathroom and she was fine when to door was closed. The other cats got used to her scent, we let her out, and it was okay for a little bit. She started coming out of her shell and sits with us on the couch. The 2 kittens are now 1.5 yrs old and still bully her. I tried feliway but I can't now because we have a bird. It was so good that we didn't put water or dry food in there anymore because she was coming out and drinking out of the big fountain. This morning Luna pooped next to the cat litter on the mat twice and my mom lifted it up and there was pee everywhere. She's at her wits end and I'm trying to come up with something. Then Luna was drinking at the fountain and my oldest (10 yrs old who Luna adores and was always harmless) was behind her and attacked her (took pic and showed mom that there was a line at the fountain). Luna sometimes has blood in her stool and we took her to the vet and no parasites. Any suggestions? Sorry its all jumbled so basically how do I stop the attacks? And she seems to prefer to poop/pee on the floor/plastic/mat instead of cat litter? Maybe a sandless cat litter? Thank you.
 

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Mochiandme

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I volunteer at a shelter and I talked to the behaviorist. She said to use feliway, make sure to use unscented cat litter (in pic), play with attackers, and use uncovered litter box.
 

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Hi. Sorry no one has responded to your post. I would say Luna is sick and probably should have a full check up with your vet. The peeing and pooping, with blood involved, outside the litter box could be a host of things. Checking for just parasites doesn't do anything to look for bacteria or viral issues that might be going on; so, a fecal PCR should be done on her stool, and a urinalysis/urine culture on her urine. Full scale bloodwork might help to identify/rule out specific health related problems. Also, another cat attacking her could be an additional sign that Luna is sick - as, sometimes other cats will act aggressively toward one that is ill. It is all likely due to stress/anxiety, but those can cause illnesses when they go on long enough. On that note, you might want to discuss something you could give Luna to help with anxiety.

Please let us know what the vet says!
 
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Mochiandme

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Hi. Sorry no one has responded to your post. I would say Luna is sick and probably should have a full check up with your vet. The peeing and pooping, with blood involved, outside the litter box could be a host of things. Checking for just parasites doesn't do anything to look for bacteria or viral issues that might be going on; so, a fecal PCR should be done on her stool, and a urinalysis/urine culture on her urine. Full scale bloodwork might help to identify/rule out specific health related problems. Also, another cat attacking her could be an additional sign that Luna is sick - as, sometimes other cats will act aggressively toward one that is ill. It is all likely due to stress/anxiety, but those can cause illnesses when they go on long enough. On that note, you might want to discuss something you could give Luna to help with anxiety.

Please let us know what the vet says!
Thank you for answering. I can't take her to the vet currently. I'm not working and my mom is on disability. I used all my care credit taking my bird to the vet. I'm going to try using attract litter and a calming collar on everyone. I will take her to the vet once I'm working again. Thanks.
 

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M Mochiandme : Hello and welcome to TCS. Sorry though for the situation that brought you here. There's a few different issues you mention, which may be related, as sometimes cats attack other cats that are sick. And as FeebysOwner FeebysOwner mentioned, the best first step would be a thorough vet checkup, though I realize that's not possible right now.

Can you keep her in a separate room away from the other cats for a while. That way she won't be attacked, plus you can track what she is eating, and her litter box usage. It might be that she just feels threatened, and needs a safe space of her own, although that probably doesn't explain the occasional blood in her stool.
 
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Mochiandme

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M Mochiandme : Hello and welcome to TCS. Sorry though for the situation that brought you here. There's a few different issues you mention, which may be related, as sometimes cats attack other cats that are sick. And as FeebysOwner FeebysOwner mentioned, the best first step would be a thorough vet checkup, though I realize that's not possible right now.

Can you keep her in a separate room away from the other cats for a while. That way she won't be attacked, plus you can track what she is eating, and her litter box usage. It might be that she just feels threatened, and needs a safe space of her own, although that probably doesn't explain the occasional blood in her stool.
I didn't know that other cats attack sick cats but it makes sense. I guess I have to go back to square one, she's in the bathroom now. She pooped on the couch yesterday which frustrated me lol. She's not happy and she seems depressed because she's back in the bathroom. It's crazy because one of the bully cats and her were fighting through the door :runaround:and she can easily get away in the bathroom. I ordered the calming collars.
 
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M Mochiandme : Hello and welcome to TCS. Sorry though for the situation that brought you here. There's a few different issues you mention, which may be related, as sometimes cats attack other cats that are sick. And as FeebysOwner FeebysOwner mentioned, the best first step would be a thorough vet checkup, though I realize that's not possible right now.

Can you keep her in a separate room away from the other cats for a while. That way she won't be attacked, plus you can track what she is eating, and her litter box usage. It might be that she just feels threatened, and needs a safe space of her own, although that probably doesn't explain the occasional blood in her stool.
I took her to the vet because of the blood and I don't remember exactly what he said but I remember "no parasites". I brought in a fecal sample. I tried to read the chart that the vet made of her but I really can't read his handwriting and he retired.
 

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Try giving her puppy pee pads to use - either place them on the floor, inside a low sided cardboard box lid, or in a litter box and see if that helps any. Also, I would put the bully cats away in a separate room at times during the day and let her be outside the bathroom. I am sure it is adding to her anxiety being confined and away from you. She might at first be a bit leery, but when she figures out they can't get to her, I am sure she will appreciate it.

Blood in the stool isn't just caused by parasites. She should have had a full fecal PCR done to look for bacterial and/or viral related issues. Viral issues can cause flare ups, so that could explain the reason she doesn't always have blood in her stool. She also might have a sensitive stomach/digestive tract, exacerbated by certain foods and/or anxiety, and that could be the cause of the intermittent blood. Since it seems her big issue is with pooping outside the box, you also need to make sure none of the other cats are the culprit for the pee your mother found. And, making sure you remove the urine/smell with enzymatic cleaners will help reduce the chances of repeat incidents.

When you get a better handle on what is going on with Luna, you should also start to consider some ways to teach your younger cats to stop bullying her. Things like picking them up, hissing at them or saying a firm 'No' and them putting them in a time-out room for a couple of minutes before letting them out will let them know it is not OK to attack Luna. The key to this working is consistency and patience. It may take some time for them to get it, but if done each and every time they attack her, they will eventually figure it out.

Is there anyone in the retired vet's office that could decipher his notes? It would be helpful for you to know what is in her records.
 
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Mochiandme

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Try giving her puppy pee pads to use - either place them on the floor, inside a low sided cardboard box lid, or in a litter box and see if that helps any. Also, I would put the bully cats away in a separate room at times during the day and let her be outside the bathroom. I am sure it is adding to her anxiety being confined and away from you. She might at first be a bit leery, but when she figures out they can't get to her, I am sure she will appreciate it.

Blood in the stool isn't just caused by parasites. She should have had a full fecal PCR done to look for bacterial and/or viral related issues. Viral issues can cause flare ups, so that could explain the reason she doesn't always have blood in her stool. She also might have a sensitive stomach/digestive tract, exacerbated by certain foods and/or anxiety, and that could be the cause of the intermittent blood. Since it seems her big issue with pooping outside the box, you also need to make sure none of the other cats are the culprit for the pee your mother found. And, making sure you remove the urine/smell with enzymatic cleaners will help reduce the chances of repeat incidents.

When you get a better handle on what is going on with Luna, you should also start to consider some ways to teach your younger cats to stop bullying her. Things like picking them up, hissing at them or saying a firm 'No' and them putting them in a time-out room for a couple of minutes before letting them out will let them know it is not OK to attack Luna. The key to this working is consistency and patience. It may take some time for them to get it, but if done each and every time they attack her, they will eventually figure it out.

Is there anyone in the retired vet's office that could decipher his notes? It would be helpful for you to know what is in her records.
Pee pads are a great idea. We threw away the pee soaked mats and cleaned the bathroom really well with orange spray (pic). I usually hiss at them or spray them with water. The vet office is abandoned but I attached a pic.
 

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FeebysOwner

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From what little I can read of the vets notes, there really isn't much there. The first half just repeats what you must have told him initially. So, if that is all there is of any records associated with Luna, it is pretty worthless IMO. Maybe someone else can read some of the scribbles further down on the page...

A single tactic/approach used consistently always works best when trying to correct behavior. If you don't do the same thing each and every time it is too confusing for the cats involved to really know what you want. Also, spraying a cat with water is confusing as well, and typically reinforces the behavior as opposed to correcting it. Here is a TCS article about it that you might find interesting.
5 Reasons To Never Spray Water On Your Cat [Or otherwise punish them]
 
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Mochiandme

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From what little I can read of the vets notes, there really isn't much there. The first half just repeats what you must have told him initially. So, if that is all there is of any records associated with Luna, it is pretty worthless IMO. Maybe someone else can read some of the scribbles further down on the page...

A single tactic/approach used consistently always works best when trying to correct behavior. If you don't do the same thing each and every time it is too confusing for the cats involved to really know what you want. Also, spraying a cat with water is confusing as well, and typically reinforces the behavior as opposed to correcting it. Here is a TCS article about it that you might find interesting.
5 Reasons To Never Spray Water On Your Cat [Or otherwise punish them]
Yeah I wonder if the vet can read his own handwriting lol. Wow okay I still have things to learn. I will definitely change how I do things.
 

FeebysOwner

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I did forget to mention that if part of Luna's issues are from anxiety with the bully cats, making them stop should also help her in terms of relieving some stress by building up her confidence knowing that you 'have her back' and that she can count on you to 'protect' her!!
 
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rubysmama

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Some of her problems could be caused by stress, however, I do have 2 questions.

1) how many litter boxes do you have? With 3 cats, the "rule" recommends 4 litter boxes, one per cat, plus one.
2) when she poops outside the litter box, is is normal formed? Or more hard (i.e. constipated) or soft (more like diarrhea)
 
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Mochiandme

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Some of her problems could be caused by stress, however, I do have 2 questions.

1) how many litter boxes do you have? With 3 cats, the "rule" recommends 4 litter boxes, one per cat, plus one.
2) when she poops outside the litter box, is is normal formed? Or more hard (i.e. constipated) or soft (more like diarrhea)
I have 2 and my mom's deciding on a third. I know the rule but the first one is huge like huge huge. It's not a normal litter box it's a storage container with a little hole cut out for them to get in and out. We clean it twice a day. Please don't judge but we have 8 cats and we don't have an issue with pooping/peeing outside except for luna.

The couch poop was normal-ish, there was 2 piles and one was a little bit slushy lol sorry for description.
 
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Some of her problems could be caused by stress, however, I do have 2 questions.

1) how many litter boxes do you have? With 3 cats, the "rule" recommends 4 litter boxes, one per cat, plus one.
2) when she poops outside the litter box, is is normal formed? Or more hard (i.e. constipated) or soft (more like diarrhea)
I just remembered that luna has feline herpes. When she was a kitten, she gave it to all the cat residents back then and one passed. He had pneumonia and feline herpes.
 

rubysmama

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Not judging, as some cats are less particular about litter boxes than others. But some cats are super quirky and won't poop in the same litter box they pee in, or a litter box other have used. So adding another litter box might help.

Here's some TCS articles with more info that you might find helpful:
How To Solve Litterbox Problems In Cats: The Ultimate Guide
Litterbox Problems? Here’s Why You Should Call Your Vet
Inappropriate Peeing, Spraying, Toy Obsession And Leg And Hand Nipping | TheCatSite
Spraying: When Your Cat Uses Urine To Mark Territory | TheCatSite

Stress in Cats – The Ultimate Guide – Cat Articles
 
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Mochiandme

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Not judging, as some cats are less particular about litter boxes than others. But some cats are super quirky and won't poop in the same litter box they pee in, or a litter box other have used. So adding another litter box might help.

Here's some TCS articles with more info that you might find helpful:
How To Solve Litterbox Problems In Cats: The Ultimate Guide
Litterbox Problems? Here’s Why You Should Call Your Vet
Inappropriate Peeing, Spraying, Toy Obsession And Leg And Hand Nipping | TheCatSite
Spraying: When Your Cat Uses Urine To Mark Territory | TheCatSite

Stress in Cats – The Ultimate Guide – Cat Articles
Thank you for your help, I've never had this happen so I wasn't sure on what to do. It seems clear now that there is something wrong medically and I'm sorry to her that it took me this long to figure it out. :paperbag:
 

rubysmama

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Hopefully you can get her to the vet soon to at least rule out something medical, and if it turns out she's healthy, then we'll have to try to figure out what it is that is stressing/bothering her that she isn't using the litter box.
 
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