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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 33288
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I have a 17yr old Persian cat (Bailey) he is and always

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Hi I have a 17yr old Persian cat (Bailey) he is and always has been an absolute angel:) spotlessly clean, never goes outdoors apart from maybe sitting on the doorstep if the sun is shining and always, always used his litter tray:) unfortunately for about 4 or 5 moths now he has been a wee devil and refuses 2 poo in the tray (still pees) as a result when we r. Out we have 2 lock him outta every room in the house, he poos on the beds, the sofa, on the computer, the hearth, the pouffe, everywhere:( after replacing duvets etc. etc. I can only let him have the run of the hall and kitchen when I am not at home and I feel so bad but I cud not take much more:( I still come home from work 2 find a lovely poo on the floor everyday, why oh why is he doing this? Apart from this he is just his usual loveable self:(
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. I have advanced training in feline behavior and am pleased to discuss Bailey's behavior with you. If a cat consistently urinates in the tray but defecates elsewhere, or vice versa, then the problem probably isn't caused by an undesirable tray, substrate, or box location. Likely causes include medical problems (lower urinary tract disease, constipation, hyperthyroidism, diarrhea, diabetes, renal disease, arthritis, and senility, e.g.). Be suspicious of constipation or colitis if an older cat suddenly stops defecating in the tray, but continues to use it for urination.

Constipation may be obvious and is commonly found in our geriatric cats. We address constipation with bulk laxatives such as psyllium seed (Metamucil) at a dose of 1 teaspoon added to each meal, canned pumpkin at a dose of 1 ounce in the food daily - or as much as Bailey will tolerate; lubricating laxatives such as the hair ball remedies; and stool softeners/laxatives such as the over the counter docusate sodium (Colace) at a dose of 50mg/cat daily. Colitis is more problematic to diagnose - particularly if stools have remained normal. Rather than scoping and biopsying our elderly cats we might attempt a trial of the antiinflammatory antibiotic metronidazole and see if it returns Bailey to the tray to defecate.

For some cats, the act of eliminating on horizontal surfaces (particularly beds and furniture) can be marking behavior caused by the same stimuli that cause spraying. The most common cause is increased cat density - inside or outside the home. Emotional problems, such as a stressful relationship with a family member, separation anxiety, or fear can trigger housesoiling. If emotional factors are influencing the housesoiling you may see related changes occurring, such as hiding, avoidance, aggression, or an alteration in Bailey's general temperament - which you haven't seen.

Because Bailey is elderly it would be prudent to address a possible medical etiology before instituting behavioral modification/reconditioning. We would begin by performing a geriatric/senior blood/urine panel in conjunction with a thorough physical exam. If nothing untoward is found, we would address a presumptive gastrointestinal disorder as described above.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
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Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a week for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

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