Q: 3yr old cat not using the litter box occassionally

August 25, 2011 | By Davina T. | 3 answers | Expired: 1618 days ago

3yr old cat not using the litter box occassionally

All of a sudden my cat Starsky has started peeing outside of the litter box intermittently. I'll see him use the litter box one second and then the next time he's peeing on my suitcase or something. Before relocating to Florida (from house to apartment), I'd always scooped litter every morning, added fresh litter weekly and cleaned the box once a month and it worked for Starsky and my other cat, Hutchie. After relocating, I still clean the box once a month and add fresh litter weekly, but I had started scooping at night and sometimes because of my schedule would go two days without scooping. Hutchie does like to lie in wait and ambush Starsky as he gets out of the litterbox, but she's been doing that for a long time and didn't affect him.

When I noticed Starsky was peeing elsewhere (my other cat is okay), I started making sure I scooped every night and kept the box cleaning schedule. It seemed to get better but now I find him peeing in the bathroom sinks. He did it right in front of me one time (I thought he was just going to curl up in the sink as usual). He's already been checked by the vet and they say it's nothing physical. They gave me a printout of the usual things to try, but my dilemma is why only once in awhile is he doing this and what to remedies to try and in what order? I just started going back to scooping in the mornings yesterday....

1. One litterbox has been fine for Starsky and Hutchie for over two years but I know they always recommend at least one for each cat (and then plus one). Hard to have two LBs in an apt, so they would probably sit right next to each other in the same room.
2. Or do I stick with one LB but just try an entirely new one.
3. Tidy Cats Immediate Control is my usual litter, but I've used switched between that an Everclean before and neither cat seemed to mind, so I could try that.

Any recommendations on what order to try new things, etc. or any other suggestions on what the issue could be. Nature's Miracle is loving me right now :-)

Readers' Answers (3)

Aug 25, 2011

I would Take him to the vet this could be a sure sign of a bladder infection!

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Aug 30, 2011

Starsky was given a urinalysis at the vet? If not, go back and have that done.

2 cats - 2 litter boxes. Or even 3. That's the deal whether it works in an apartment or not. If your box is covered, uncover it. You can add a deodorizer or baking soda if you're worried about smell. The problem with covered boxes is 1. cats have to smell each others excrement even in a clean box, and 2. they can make the cat feel trapped.

Starsky probably didn't start out with any insecurities or grudges against Hutch, but the more Hutch would pounce, the more the problem begins to mount in Starsky. Eventually he had to say enough is enough, and is doing that by claiming other areas.

Don't give the cats something to guard or reject. Get a second litter box, make sure both are uncovered, and start out by placing them in very obvious open areas. Areas where Starsky can escape and Hutch can't guard. Sounds like a horrible solution for you, right? It's only temporary. Give it one month out in the open, literally in the middle of the living room. Put the other in an equally obvious spot but far enough from the first so there's no battles for territory. When you feel this has served it's purpose, transfer each to different rooms in the apartment, but don't hide them.

When we hide litter boxes in multi-cat homes, we create situations for cats to develop a problem with using them. The solution is to agree to disagree and make that sacrifice for your cats. I've long since ditched all my covers and surprisingly there's no smell. It's just not worth having to clean urine not to have to see a litter box.

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Aug 31, 2011

Jillian is absolutely right. When our cats start peeing outside the litter box or misbehaving they're desperately trying to tell us something. It's up to us to find out what it is. You've already ruled out health problems, so you've got a very unhappy kitty.

Covered litter boxes are more for us than for cats. Even if they smell clean to us, they never smell clean to a cat whose sense of smell is 14 times as strong as ours. For them to walk into a closed in space where they and others continually pee and poop would be like us walking into the dirtiest port-a-potty imaginable.

Also scooping one litter box every two days for two cats is not good. Cats are very fastidious by nature. If they have to dig through someone else's poop and pee to find a place to do their business, they'll look elsewhere for a cleaner spot. If using one litter box for two cats, they should be scooped twice a day at least. The best solution is at least two litter boxes for two cats though. It can be done in an apartment...I've done it, with separation between the boxes. Your cat should your main concern, so do what you have to to make him feel secure and safe. The boxes need to be set up in such a way that Starsky doesn't get ambushed and feels safe. He needs an escape route so he won't get attacked in the litter box. This is another good reason not to have a covered box. Cats get cornered in a covered litter box and there's no escape route. Between the lack of scooping and the attacks, the litter box does not have good associations for Starsky. The more bad associations he has, the less he'll use the box.

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