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Why does my cat pee directly in front of her box?

(56 Posts)
msrisotto Thu 07-Aug-14 16:51:11

I'm absolutely puzzled by it.

I have had her checked out by the vet, they analysed a urine sample and apart from being a bit concentrated (so she was a bit dehydrated), it was fine and she in general checks out fine. She doesn't appear lethargic or anything unusual. She's an indoor cat by the way.

She has two boxes in the downstairs loo. She uses both - one for wee, one for poo, just sometimes (averaging about once a week at the moment) she wees in front of her poo box as well. I clean the spot thoroughly. I move the box forward and she wees behind it. I put tin foil down and she appears to use her wee box as usual. The cleaner moved the box on top of the tin foil today and she peed in front of the box again.

She has form for weeing on the door mat so I bought a deterrent and she doesn't go there anymore. The downstairs loo is next to the front door so I wonder if territorial insecurity has something to do with it but the tiny window is difficult to see through (a kind of ripple effect glass made that way for privacy). I am thinking about buying some opaque film to cover it just in case - does anyone know where you can get that stuff from?

Any other ideas? The vet's only other thought is about anti anxiety meds which i'm not a fan of seeing as the behaviour is quite infrequent.

cozietoesie Thu 07-Aug-14 16:59:36

Could you perhaps put the boxes a bit further apart? (Maybe one in a different room for example.) They have very sensitive noses and if there was a poo smell about the other box, it could well drift a bit and annoy her.

Can you think of anything in common about the times she mis-pees? Is it when/after the cleaner has come or something?

cozietoesie Thu 07-Aug-14 17:07:30

PS - how often are her boxes cleaned and how deep is the litter in them? (She may be one of the fussy ones.)

msrisotto Thu 07-Aug-14 17:20:08

The litter is very shallow, she digs and piles it all up into one end so her business is as exposed as it can be. After a long period (6-8 months) of perfect litter box behaviour, I was getting bored of refilling it so often so I topped it up to an inch or so deep and then she started going outside the box! I felt like I triggered it by changing the depth but I can't be sure it was my fault.

There wasn't any poo in either tray when she weed outside the box today so i'm not sure it is that and to be honest, I am afraid to move a box in case she continues to use that spot.

Her boxes are spot cleaned daily, as soon as I see/smell them! The boxes are not cleaned so frequently but her litter is the clumping kind so they are clean.

She tends to pee where she shouldn't when we are home. I can't tell if it is a reaction to people coming happens quite infrequently (both guests coming and her misdemeanours!) and it isn't happening every time someone comes over.

msrisotto Thu 07-Aug-14 17:20:29

Thank you for replying and trying to think this out with me, really appreciate it.

cozietoesie Thu 07-Aug-14 17:33:31

An inch should be fine - I can't see why that should have caused it.

You mentioned that her boxes are in the downstairs loo? Cast your mind back: is there any timing thing with either of you using the loo and her mis-aiming?

You said 'we'. Out of interest, how does she get on with each of you?

msrisotto Thu 07-Aug-14 18:44:48

That was something I hadn't considered before. I hardly use that loo, Dh never does and no one else has recently. Interesting angle but I can't see a pattern there.

She gets on fine with both of us. She's 'my' baby cat, however Dh does play with her, feed and brush her occasionally. She is nervous with new people - hides from them until it is obvious that we are comfortable and not scared so she doesn't have to be.

Also, the Feliway plug-in had long run out when this re-started but I have ordered more and it is going strong again.

cozietoesie Thu 07-Aug-14 19:00:06

Well if you've ruled out a physical problem then she's not happy about something and is likely protesting. It could be the litter tray arrangements (cleanliness, positioning, type of litter etc etc) or it could be that she has more general issues with her life and that's her main way of showing it. (A sort of 'That'll larn them'. ) From what you say, it's been going on for a while as well, just that you've put 'plasters' on certain aspects of it which have had a temporary effect.

Have a think about her whole daily routine, perhaps. How much activity does she have, how much game playing is there, does she have a high up place to go for privacy, where does she sleep and so on.

Is there anything there that you can see any edginess in her about? What sort of cat is she?

msrisotto Thu 07-Aug-14 19:33:54

I think i'll get another litter tray and try her in other places in the house. She doesn't spend much time downstairs at all. I sometimes wonder if she doesn't like it downstairs. She seems happy enough when we're downstairs but it isn't often that she is on her own downstairs. She has places high up which she likes but nothing at the front of the house where the front door and loo are - there's no room, her scratching posts etc are in the rear of the house downstairs.

We play with her every evening pretty much but she is sedentary during the day.

She is a ragdoll/moggy. She doesn't seem overly nervous to me, she does watch the windows but i'd think it odd if she didn't.

cozietoesie Thu 07-Aug-14 19:50:22

She sounds an edgy girl, right enough. Is there any possibility (I don't know your house layout) that another cat could be coming and sitting on the windows or peeing on/sitting at the outside of the door when you're out? (Which she'd be able to smell.)

I think I'd agree with moving her litter trays to places where she's more comfortable for the interim at least until you see how that does. Other posters may have other ideas as well.

msrisotto Thu 07-Aug-14 20:02:31

As I said, the window in the loo is hard to see out of but it is possible so I will buy some opaque film (any ideas where from?). I did also buy a sonic cat deterrent for any cats that might be coming up to the doors. There are several in the area.

cozietoesie Thu 07-Aug-14 20:21:08

I you are able to, I think I'd move the trays as a preference - if just to see how it went for a while. She'd know there was a cat there (if there was) despite any film and as she seems to prefer other parts of the house, it might be better to just allow her to be in places where she feels safer and more comfortable.

Maybe try it for a little and see how she seems to be getting on?

Best of luck and let us know how things go.

msrisotto Thu 07-Aug-14 20:55:28

Thanks for your thoughts....i'll see how it goes!

Brodicea Thu 07-Aug-14 20:58:40

Have you tried different litter, sometimes certain types hurt their feet?

msrisotto Thu 07-Aug-14 21:06:48

That's on my list too. At the moment we use Cats Best, fine wood chips. Any recommendations?

cozietoesie Fri 08-Aug-14 08:48:16

I'm not really able to recommend a whole load of different litter types because my boys have always liked natural clay (Fuller's Earth) clumping which seems to suit and also covers up odours for them. (They like the Coop or Sainsbury's and not the vastly cheaper ones which can be a larger grain of litter and seem to hurt paws or something. (Those latter don't seem to clump/cover quite as well, either.))

I do know that some cats can be real fussy though so other posters may give you additional thoughts. I do recall bringing Darling Oneago home for his first night to some wood pellet litter which a friend had given me and which I was trying for the first time. He sniffed it, made a few desultory scratches - and then came onto the bed and peed copiously all over a split new duvet. I got the message and went out to the supermarket for natural clay clumping litter the next morning.

I suspect from what you've said that it's not the type of litter so much as something in her general environment but if she does have some deep-down preference sorting that out would ease one gripe at least. Unfortunately, there's no real option other than trial and error to see if they like something better. (Perhaps getting an additional cheap tray with new litter and seeing if it's used or rejected?)

cozietoesie Fri 08-Aug-14 08:56:12

PS - if you do decide to trial an alternate, perhaps spinkle a spoonful of the (clean) litter from her existing box on to the top of it. It may seem clean to you but her sensitive nose would pick up the faint odour and tell her that the new litter was an 'authorized place.

msrisotto Fri 08-Aug-14 10:41:05

Thanks for the tip. Someone else has recommended waitrose microgranules so I might try that in a new litter box in a new place to see if that helps. I too suspect that she doesn't mind the litter as she does still use the trays.

After saying this isn't a regular problem, she did it twice yesterday afternoon/evening. She must have heard me.

cozietoesie Fri 08-Aug-14 11:08:27

Probably got special cat-key-loggers on all your electronic devices. Little blighters.


Good luck.

msrisotto Fri 08-Aug-14 14:11:46

I've bought micro-granules and a new box which is upstairs. Fingers crossed!

cozietoesie Sat 09-Aug-14 11:47:37

Has she shown any interest in it yet?

msrisotto Sat 09-Aug-14 14:10:53

None whatsoever! It is a hooded box which I put out intact yesterday. This morning I took the cat flap off the front and if she shows no interest by the morning i'll take the lid off. If still no dice...she clearly doesn't feel the need to pee upstairs.....

cozietoesie Sat 09-Aug-14 14:15:27

Maybe take the lid off, Yes, if she's not used to them. (You can always re-introduce it later.)

Despite my question, I wouldn't worry necessarily about the lack of interest after so short a time. It seems to make them feel better even if they don't use it because they know it's there. Seniorboy has two trays and uses them as he sees fit - although he does have a preferred tray, he'll suddenly go to the other tray for no apparent reason. As it's generally clean and not causing any issues, I'm happy to leave it just in case.

msrisotto Tue 12-Aug-14 17:28:25

Well she still hasn't shown an interest but she has peed by the back door today so I'm thinking of moving it there instead.

If none of this adding boxes and trying to put them where she wants works, what do you think of anti anxiety meds? Or letting her out? She's about 5 and never been out before though.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 12-Aug-14 17:49:16

What was the original reason for keeping her as a housecat?.

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