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Do cats stop eating for behavioural reasons?

(25 Posts)
animalsunited Fri 16-Jan-15 10:30:22

Ten years old cat hasn't been eating properly for weeks. He's had blood tests which are normal and is having a scan next week.

But I'm wondering if it could be behavioural? We took his litter tray away because he was using it twice a day and he has a cat flap. I have three children (including a baby) and selfishly maybe couldn't face cleaning a litter tray twice a day. At first it seemed fine but then he started pooing in the same spot in our bedroom. I'm wondering if this is when he stopped eating. I also wonder if another cat is trying to get in the flap.

Currently he's in the warm utility with a bed and water and I'm trying different foods everyday. He must be going out to do his poo as he doesn't go in there. We let him into the living room with us at night for a cuddle. I can't let him in the house unattended as he poos inside and as I said have three kids.

Any advice? I really don't want to put the litter tray back but if this has caused his anorexia then if course I will sad

cozietoesie Fri 16-Jan-15 11:34:08

I've had Siamese for many years and they can definitely go into a despond and almost or actually give up if they're unhappy.

I'd get that litter tray back right away if only to see if that makes a difference - he may not like going outside, perhaps even has an 'enemy' out there (not every cat is a fighter) so it's absolutely worth a try.

Have you installed a microchip flap so that only he can get in?

RubbishMantra Fri 16-Jan-15 12:11:19

So how much of the day does he spend alone in the utility?

And yes, agree with Cozie, you need to re-instate the litter tray. Part of owning a cat, which you knew when you got him.

animalsunited Fri 16-Jan-15 12:23:00

Okay didn't realise I would get such a curt reply RubbishMantra.

Of course I knew what looking after a cat entailed. I've had him for ten years. Don't patronise me.

Will take advice thanks Cozie.

Archfarchnad Fri 16-Jan-15 13:09:24

I'd probably stop eating too under those conditions sad. Please put the tray back - why doesn't your DP clean it out instead, at least once a day, so it's less of a burden on you? And please stop keeping him in a small room by himself. The poor lad is probably miserable as heck and doesn't understand why he's being 'punished' like this.

animalsunited Fri 16-Jan-15 13:57:16

I'm not punishing him. I'm really upset now as I've had my cat for ten years and have always cared for him.

All I was doing was trying to get him to poo outside and presumed when he wasn't eating he was ill, so took him to the vet.

He's not alone all day, he sits on my lap every evening. I will put his tray back as advised and if that was the cause will feel forever guilty

FushandChups Fri 16-Jan-15 14:16:58

Have you considered a covered tray - might alleviate your worries about small people and trays of mess but give your kitty somewhere inside to do his business (nicely cuts out smells too!)

BertieBotts Fri 16-Jan-15 14:22:37

Well I'm not sure why you're getting such a flaming for taking the litter tray away, I do think cats can get lazy about using them when they're not keen on going out. However I would have put it back when he started pooing in the house without it because I think that's a sign there's a reason they don't want to go out. And twice a day isn't much to clean it. At ten he's probably only got a few years left so it would be kind to be forgiving of little habits like that. And then hopefully he'll stop pooing in the house and can come back into family life, with the utility as a bolt hole from small grabbing hands!

animalsunited Fri 16-Jan-15 14:31:09

I've been a bit run down recently, baby, bad back and norovirus. I just wanted him to poo outside that's all.

I've maybe handled things wrongly but I do love my cat and am not trying to punish or be cruel.

cozietoesie Fri 16-Jan-15 14:33:17

I recall that when The Lodger moved in with us, he started using the tray for morning pees - and then when we moved here, he started using his tray for everything. The cats round here tend to be the sort that carry light weaponry so I think, alpha cat though he was, that he liked to be able to go outside with no vulnerabilities and be able to be fully alert to his surroundings. (Cats can be very sensitive about where they poo and pee.)

That's the thing - cat society outside the house can change overnight. (All it needs is one mean tom to arrive on the block suddenly.) Maybe his going outside to poo ruffled some fur out there and he's decided he doesn't like it anymore?

That's the good thing about a microchip cat flap. An ordinary flap can lead to your house becoming Party Central for the neighbourhood and can cause problems even if your cat isn't a sensitive soul.

See how it goes anyway and let us know the outcome.

RubbishMantra Fri 16-Jan-15 14:36:58

Yes, but it's not just taking the litter tray away is it? He's shut in one room alone most of the time. sad

BertieBotts Fri 16-Jan-15 14:40:07

No okay, but I think it was just perhaps a chain of events which started with something fairly innocuous and then wasn't joined up due to everything else the OP has going on.

Archfarchnad Fri 16-Jan-15 14:40:38

No, of course you're not actually punishing him, but it probably comes across to him like that - that's why I put 'punish' in quote marks. Absolutely no need to feel forever guilty or even a little bit guilty. You tried out a change, it doesn't seem to have worked, so you just need to put things back again as they were before. It might take him a little while to get back in the groove again and stop the bedroom pooing though.

Perhaps in this weather he just didn't want to go outside to poo, so the tray indoors seemed a more comfy option. If there's no tray, there's no incentive for him to go outdoors, and your bedroom is the best way of making his displeasure clear to you.

Cats are such contrary creatures. We have something of the opposite problem to you. We lock the flap at night so he won't go out and get run over in the dark, but he hates having to use his tray at all so he's trying to contain himself all night and only pee or poo during the daytime outdoors.

shaska Fri 16-Jan-15 14:49:46

When you say 'eating properly' what do you mean? Is he vomiting? How much is he actually consuming? Is he losing weight? Seeming unhappy? How's his coat?

You say he poos inside - is this only since you took the tray away? Does he wee inside as well?

animalsunited Fri 16-Jan-15 15:12:43

RubbishMantra, when given free reign of the house he sleeps in a quiet corner all day anyway and only tended to come to us at night. Think he liked to have peace from kids. He seems quiet happy on his cushion, I check regularly.

You seem to want to see cat neglect and have a go

mrsnec Fri 16-Jan-15 15:16:09

This recently happened to our beloved cat.

She's an outdoor cat. Very fussy. Went off her food and we tried everything.

We knew there was a tom around that had been upsetting her. She had been in a fight and we thought the wound had healed and she was fine but she was off her food a bit before and after that.

We took her to the vet. She was obviously in a state because instead of screaming like she normally does she actually slept in her carrier. Anyway it turned out she had internal injuries from another fight with this nasty ginger tom. She was fine after a few injections and back on her food but occasionally I have seen her cowering by the cat flap as dh shoos the ginger tom away. I had noticed her behaviour had changed so I'm agreeing with anyone who says it could be another cat and also could it be internal injuries from a fight as it was in our case?

cozietoesie Fri 16-Jan-15 15:20:42

Poor girl. Have you got a chip flap, mrsnec ?

animalsunited Fri 16-Jan-15 15:22:09

Do you know what, I came on here for advice and I've been accused of some sort of animal neglect.

I have a baby and maybe I've been a bit focused on her. I actually lay in bed while my baby slept wracked with guilt, feeling weepy. I don't need this, no one does.

How odd this forum is. Cat lovers yes, but not very empathetic to humans hmm

cozietoesie Fri 16-Jan-15 15:24:34

Not so, animal. Relax and try a few baby steps for him. Let us know how you get on. smile

mrsnec Fri 16-Jan-15 15:31:52

Yes will be installing it soon. Our cat now just doesn't go very far and dh shoos away the tom whenever we see him.

My point was if ops cat is out and about that from my experience what's happening outside could just as likely be the problem. My cat has been through quite a bit of disruption inside the house too and it's not been a problem. I also have a very young baby. I don't think it's anything op has done or not done.

cozietoesie Fri 16-Jan-15 15:37:45

Oh it can be blood and guts outside, indeed. The Lodger was a most kindly and equable cat - made friends within 5 minutes with next door's tom when we arrived - but neither would he back down from a scrap if someone else insisted.

I recall one morning at the old house going outside to find a sea of pale fur on the lawn with a pink collar neatly lying in the middle. Now a pink collar doesn't necessarily mean a fight with a girl but still .......

shaska Fri 16-Jan-15 15:42:19

I do apologise if you feel set upon! I was asking questions as I'm actually not sure that you have as big a problem as you think you do - the indoor poos might be easily fixable with the litter tray thing. The eating - it really depends. Both my two have been eating much less this winter, I think they're just self regulating as neither have lost weight, so I was wondering whether your boy might be the same.

It sounds like the utility is where he has outside access from, is that correct? In that case I'm not as worried as others about him being in there - he can still go out and with kids and an indoor-pooing cat I can see why you'd want to prevent accidents.

RubbishMantra Fri 16-Jan-15 18:42:39

I'm sorry you felt my questions/advice were accusatory. I was trying to enquire/advise re. your cat.

Besides that, you've been given some really sound suggestions by other posters.

animalsunited Fri 16-Jan-15 19:52:12

'Part of owning a cat, which you knew when you got him'. Patronising to say the least

'He's shut in one room, alone most of the time' you've exaggerated this in your head to be accusatory yes. It's a big utility with adjoining toilet and access outside through the flap. With a bed and food and me checking.

I have taken the sound advice of less provocative posts yes

RubbishMantra Fri 16-Jan-15 21:02:39

Have you tried Feliway?

Hope your situation improves OP.

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