May the poo in the tray be the first of many. My male cat much prefers to wee in the dog's dish than the litter tray but as it's easy to clean up we accept it as one of his quirks and wonder if it's a deliberate message to the dog!
Thanks solorolo - she doesn't seem to be going out much at all but then she never particularly bothered going out apart from to go to the toilet. She has always preferred louging indoors.
We have been using rugdoctor urine eliminator which seems to do quite a good job, although I do use more than half a bottle each time so it gets a definite dousing! (I don't use as much when it's on the tiled floor just when it's on carpet).
She has never been able to jump the stair gate or perhaps never chosen to, we just remembered her not jumping it when DS2 was little (he is now nearly 9), so thought it was a good way to keep her in the kitchen but still give the other cat freedom. There has been no suggestion of arthritus before but things may have changed over the years, she's just never been spritely or particularly active unlike her brother. It may well be a good idea to take her to the vets for a checkup soon though, she went last year and got a clean bill of health.
The good news is she has done one poo in the litter tray , only one but still that's better than none.
There's a few possibilities I can think of, I aren't an expert but hopefully this will give you a bump until one appears. Does she use the cat flap to go out for other reasons? There could be a reason why she feels safer toiletting in the house, like a local cat using your garden or cat flap. Are you using a specialist pet product to clean up with? Cats will go back to the same place to urinate if they can smell it (even if we can't). We had to replace not only a living room carpet but also an area of floorboards and skirting board when our old cat took to urinating behind the tv. Once we had done that she stopped-thankfully! You mention that she can't jump the stair gate and this problem occurs in colder weather-she could have arthritis especially if she has always carried a bit of extra weight, putting more strain on her joints. I read a report recently about how arthritis in cats is more common than first thought but evidently they are very good at hiding the pain. It may be worth taking her to the vets for a consultation to discuss this specific issue, they can check her physically and refer you to a behaviourist if the problem persists.
We have two cats, both around 12 years old. We don't know exactly as they were from a rescue centre, we have had them 11 years.
The boy cat is fine, never been a problem at all. He has always been more agile than the female though.
For about the last 5 years the female goes through a few weeks a year when she doesn't fancy going outside so decides to poo and wee in the house. This usually coincides with the first cold/wet spell of the winter. We usually put a stair gate up at the kitchen and keep her in there for a couple of weeks. (The male cat can jump the stairgate but she can't) It is a large kitchen/breakfast room with beds, radiators and cat flap so comfy. She never used to toilet in there and then after a week or so, we'd get rid of the stairgate and she'd have freedom again and the issue went away.
A couple of years ago, she did poo in the kitchen so we put a litter tray down for a couple of weeks, then as before the issue resolved itself.
This year she started the pooing and weeing inside a couple of months ago and has not stopped. In fact she's been pooing and weeing in the kitchen too. This is getting really grim, we reluctantly put a litter tray down again but she's still pooing on the floor! We're getting to the end of our tethers now, we hate litter trays as it has to go in the kitchen which isn't exactly hygienic but there is no other place it can go. We were prepared to put up with that but she's not even using it.
She has no fundamental health issues, she is overweight due to hormonal imbalance (she was born hermaphrodite so had testicles removed at the same time as being spayed when we got her). The vet since told us that she will always be overweight but that no treatment was needed.