How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 18129
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr. Kara is online now

I have 2 sphinx male cats, litter mates 2 years 8 months old.

This answer was rated:

I have 2 sphinx male cats, litter mates 2 years 8 months old. Last October they went to a new cattery where I also kennel my dog so I know the staff and facilities are excellent. On their return one of them started pooing on the floor, often next to the litter tray and has continued to do so. I have 2 litter trays which are emptied at least 4 times a day (they're house cats). I've had this breed years and have never had this problem before.
, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I understand your concern about Eddie''s behavior. It's no fun to find stool where it shouldn't be. It is possible that the stress of being away from home contributed to his behavior, that something occurred at the boarding facility that was scary or painful (through no fault of the facility sometimes things just happen) or the change was coincidental.
Cats stops using their litter box few reasons:
1) They don't feel well and associate pain with their litter box so go elsewhere hoping not to experience discomfort.
2) Their litter box is dirty, hard to get to or in or out of, they don't like the litter in the box, or they don't have enough privacy in it or feel trapped in the location it is in.
3) Other cats (can be indoors or outdoor strays), dogs or people are scaring them when they are in the box or trying to get to the box.
4) Social stress and overcrowding. Cats in the wild do not live together. It is socially stressful to have to be confined together or with other pets That is likely why many cats stop "marking territory" once they are allowed to go outside. They are less "socially stressed" because they have more room and get more exercise.
First I recommend making the area that he is inappropriately using as a place to eliminate uncomfortable to stand on. You can place plastic matts upside down so the nubby parts are up, or use double sided sticky tape on those areas.The longer this goes on the more it becomes a habit. If this has been going on while it is likely that we need to find and treat an underlying problem that started all this as well as retrain him.
Ideally he should have a physical examination to make sure all is well. Make sure his anal glands are checked, and that he doesn't have parasites (have your veterinarian check a fresh stool sample) and that his stools are normal. If he ever has blood or mucous in his stool, it is soft, hard or very large or small and difficult to pass he may have inflammatory bowel disease, constipation or megacolon which are all uncomfortable. We need to address any medical problems to have hope of retraining him successfully.
If his stools seem very hard or dry it may help to feed canned food and add a teaspoon to tablespoon of canned pumpkin (not pie filling, just pumpkin) to each meal to add fiber and moisture to make his stools softer and easier to pass.
You also need to make sure that the area that he has picked to go has been cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner, like Nature's Miracle. Although it may smell fine to you their noses are much better than ours and as long as the odor is there he will be attracted to the spot.
Make sure his litter boxes are spotlessly clean, scoop stools daily, change litter completely weekly and clean the box itself. If the litter box is older than a year get a new one. Many cats don't like odor and an old litter box stinks to them. It might be fine to pass urine there as that is quick but stool takes longer so they are more particular. I am glad you have 2 boxes but three would be ideal as there should be one more box than the number of cats. I hope they are in different locations and where he cannot be bothered and they are easy to get to. Some cats like to urinate and defecate in different areas and are very sensitive to being interrupted. I know you may have done some of these things already but sometimes you need to repeat them and I list them all to be complete.
Make sure he has privacy when he goes, yet also make sure the box is easy to get to and get in and out of. Many cats appreciate low sided boxes, especially big cats. Some cats also like a bigger box to pass stools in so they have plenty of room. The plastic very low sided storage containers that fit under the bed work very well.
If you are using scented litter I recommend plain clay litter or plain scoop litter. Most cats find scented litter objectionable.
To help ease social stress you can try using Feliway sprays or diffusors. These are synthetic pheromones which mimic those produced to mark areas as safe and many cats find them soothing. You can also use pheromone calming collars as well. See this link examples:
If these measures aren't enough you can try a homeopathic calming oral medication called Bach's Rescue Remedy. See this link information:
And if those aren't enough you could discuss oral medications with your veterinarian as well such as fluoxetine or amitriptyline as calming agents to decrease his stress.
Finally if he does better when allowed to go out you may wish to construct an outdoor cat pen so he can safely spend time outside. Here are some examples:
If you do all this and he is healthy and he is still not cooperating I would confine him to a large dog cage or small bathroom with his food, water and litter box to retrain him. You can let him out only when you can supervise his behavior. If you catch his going to his "spot" use an air horn to scare him. He must have the negative consequences every time or this won't work. Do this weeks until he consistently uses his box. Then slowly give him more access to your home, a little more area each week if he continues to behave.
Best of luck with this fellow and please don't take his behavior the wrong way. It sounds like he is trying his best to behave by eliminating near his box, but the negative associations with his litter box (whatever they may be) are interfering.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Dr. Kara and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you