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How do I stop my cat doing this? (Toilet related behaviour)

(21 Posts)
OlennasWimple Sun 28-Aug-16 14:39:38

We have two cats - both elderly, both in good health. One of them (and I'm 90% certain which one) has recently started weeing and pooing around the house: for a couple of nights we would wake up with him having weed and pooed on the bathmat in the bathroom. We started lifting this off the floor at night, so he pooed on the floor anyway. We then closed the bathroom door while we were out, but came back to find he had weed on our bed instead. confused

I think he is playing up because he is unsettled: we have been away on holiday (they stayed at home with someone coming in to feed them and clean up), and have had visitors. But this didn't start immediately after we were back, so it may be unrelated. We haven't changed anything else at all - litter tray in the same place, same litter, same tray, same food, same bowls...

What can we do to encourage him back to using the litter tray? We will be closing all the bedroom and bathroom doors until we are certain he is sorted, but that's preventative rather than curing the problem.

Any advice gratefully received!

FuzzyWizard Sun 28-Aug-16 14:51:17

How many litter trays do you have? Is there one on the same floor of the house as the bathroom where he is going? Being elderly could he be avoiding going up and down the stairs? You might need to have more litter trays. Perhaps try putting one in the bathroom where he is going and see if that helps.

OlennasWimple Sun 28-Aug-16 15:30:06

We're in an apartment, so no stairs. But our bed is very high up and he would have to make a real effort to get up there (he does jump up most days, though).

Only one litter tray - they have always shared a tray without any problem - and no space in the small bathroom to put another tray.

Sorry, not trying to be difficult, I do appreciate the thoughts!

And if anyone can recommend how to get the smell of cat wee out of a memory foam mattress, that would be also very much appreciated....

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 28-Aug-16 15:33:47

I think you should try another tray, even though they've shared up until now I think the advice is a tray each and a spare.

Toddlerteaplease Sun 28-Aug-16 15:58:48

Could it be that they need a shallower tray?

FuzzyWizard Sun 28-Aug-16 16:10:49

Even if you're low in space I think another litter tray is worth a try. Could you find space for a corner one like this somewhere with a nice low side for him to climb into? Two trays had to be better than poopy rugs and floors.

OlennasWimple Sun 28-Aug-16 17:30:02

Fuzzy - that's exactly the litter tray we have got!!

I don't think it's an access thing, I think it's a behavioural thing (the last time we went away for a long-ish time he showed us what he thought about that by weeing in our suitcase when we had got back and it was on the floor being unpacked...). If it was just the bed, I might think it was an accident when he was asleep up there, but it can't be coincidence that it happened after we made the bathroom floor unavailable to him, surely?

We've got some Feliway in the cupboard, so I'll try spraying some of that around (on the grounds that it can't make anything worse). I'll try to get another litter tray in the week, though not sure where it can go. Definitely no space in the bathroom, which was his preferred alternative place, and I would rather keep him out of our room rather than have a litter tray in there...

FuzzyWizard Sun 28-Aug-16 17:36:50

I agree that it's most likely behavioural. He's gone up there because he couldn't go in the bathroom and for whatever reason he doesn't want to use your tray any more. It could be as simple as something having frightened or hurt him whilst he was in there and now he's trying to find a new place to go. I'd give him somewhere else to go and see if that helps or you may well end up shutting him out of the bedroom and then find he uses the sofa or living room carpet.

Smidge001 Sun 28-Aug-16 17:46:26

Our elderly cat started peeing in the house and we took him to the vet. He had something wrong with him and we had to give him tablets every day which stopped it. Sorry I can't remember what was actually wrong with him (It was 20 years ago and my parents cat) but it was an age related disorder and he had to take the tablets for the rest of his life. It worked though.

Might be worth getting your cat checked out.

OlennasWimple Sun 28-Aug-16 18:05:00

Thanks Smidge. Slightly worrying DD is sitting on the floor stroking the cat and has just asked me whether he "is poorly". I asked her why she asked that, and she said "he just seems a bit unwell at the moment". She doesn't know anything about the poo and wee, so I'm a bit concerned that she's picking up on something serious somehow... sad

piglover Sun 28-Aug-16 18:05:52

Definitely take him to the vet!

piglover Sun 28-Aug-16 19:03:05

Posted too soon...Take him to the vet because I had an oldish cat (15) who started peeing in the dining room and elsewhere and we assumed that it was behavioural, but in fact, it turned out that he had a tumour and was trying to tell us that there was something wrong in the only way he knew how. Not trying to alarm you, and maybe he is just annoyed with you, but I felt horrible once I'd got Titus' diagnosis that I hadn't acted sooner.

OlennasWimple Sun 28-Aug-16 19:06:54


Looks like a vet visit is in order... Is there anything in particular I should ask them to look at, or is it just a general check up he needs that should flag up any concerns?

piglover Sun 28-Aug-16 20:30:23

Probably just a general check-up. My vet is cats only and she has special procedures for geriatric work-ups. But if you tell the vet that this behaviour has only recently started, they will probably have a careful feel around for lumps and bumps and do a blood test etc. Best of luck - I hope it's just that you've annoyed your old boy by going away!

OlennasWimple Tue 30-Aug-16 22:56:54

Just a quick update: I phoned the vets to book an appointment and when I described what was going on they asked me to bring him in ASAP sad

He went in this morning, has had loads of different tests done...and they have all come back as normal for a cat of his age. Some results will take a little longer, but obviously it's good news on one hand (not having a tumour is always good!), but does mean that we are no further forward in working out how to tackle his behaviour. I've coated the house in Feliway, in case that helps him relax - any other thoughts?

LittleCandle Tue 30-Aug-16 23:04:07

My old cat started to mess in the house, despite a clean litter tray and it was the sign of her kidneys starting to fail. This is often the first sign. I'd get your cat checked out. There is often something they can do.

piglover Wed 31-Aug-16 02:42:25

Hooray - glad he's checked out OK. There are collars that have calming cat hormones in them - they really do make our kits chill out, so maybe try one of those?

OlennasWimple Wed 31-Aug-16 03:11:45

The vet mentioned something about the collars, so good to know that they can be effective. Would a non-collar wearing cat be OK in one, do you think? Or will I be forever finding it taken off and abandoned?

piglover Wed 31-Aug-16 13:42:10

smile I cannot claim to have solved this problem yet. They are right little Houdinis. Buy a 3-pack?! (They are less than $20 for 3 online - I live in US so don't know what they cost in pounds.)

OlennasWimple Wed 31-Aug-16 14:13:51

Thanks - I'm in the US too, so $$$s is fine! What brand do you use?

piglover Wed 31-Aug-16 16:43:37

I use these ones -

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