Q: Recently had a baby and Cat quit using litter box

April 21, 2012 | By Ising4hm | 1 answer | Expired: 1378 days ago

I had a baby 8 months ago & in the last few months my 6 year old male fixed cat started pooping & peeing in the bathtub and has peed in the kitchen. His litter box is clean, and he's even done right after I'v cleaned his box. I'm sure it rebellious/attention getting behavior probably due to stree but how do I stop him. I still pay him attention, but obviously not as much as I used to. Any ideas?

Readers' Answers (1)

Apr 21, 2012

Cats are creatures of habit and routine. Anything that upsets their routine, like schedule changes, moving, guests, new furniture, and new babies, can stress them out resulting in litter box problems. Stress is one of the leading causes of litter box issues.

Although it probably is stress-realted, he should be checked out by a vet to make sure there are no health issues causing his behavior. Once he get a clean bill of health, you need to find time to help him reduce his stress level. de-stress. Try to spend quality time with him every day. He's a part of the family too and needs one-on-one time with those he loves. Play with him, pet him, groom him, just spending time with him will relax him and hep him realize he isn't being replaced.
Is it possible that he's been startled while in the process of using his litter box and now he associates it with a scary place or occurence. Even a screaming baby can be enough to scare a nervous kitty and make them change their habits. Put his box as far away from any noise and distractions as you can. He should safe and secure and not be startled when he's in his box.

A cat's sense of smell is much better than ours, so be sure to clean all spots thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner. If he has one particular place he's been going, you can place the litter box near that area after thoroughly cleaning it. Give him about a week to get used to the box and then you can ove the litter box a couple of feet a day until you get it back to the desired location. Cats won't eliminate where the eat, so you can also move his food and water dishes to that area to discourage him. If he goes on a bed, sofa, or chair, clean them thoroughly and then make those areas places where you play.

If all else fails, you may just have to retrain him. Start him off in a small room with a clean litter box on one end and his food, water, and toys on the other. Make sure he doesn't feel like he's being punished. Provide lots of activity and attention. Don't just stick him in there and forget about him. Make this his place for a few days to a week until he's back in the habit of using the box.

Also, don't punish him when he doesn't use the box. Spanking, yelling, squirting water, rubbing their nose in it do more harm than good and often make the problem worse by creating a nervous, insecure kitty.

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