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Old 11-07-2009, 04:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

I thought I noticed a cat urine or spray smell the other day in my bedroom. My 5 year old daughter noticed it too (without me asking). So I began searching and discovered my cat has been using a corner in my room instead of his litter box! I am anal retentive about being clean, so this nearly prompted me to open the door and let the cat go! There was poop and pee. I cleaned it the best I could, but I still smell it. There was a pile of cords (hidden behind a shelf) where he went, so I zip tied them up to the top of the shelf (thinking he was using them as "litter"), but doubt that will solve the problem.

I clean his litter box each day.
He is neutered.
He is the only cat in my house and no cats spray outside.
He is 1 1/2 years old and I've had him since he was 3 months.
No life changes in my house/household.
He is on a 95% wet food diet (Evo) and always has been.
No furniture has been moved, etc., in the house.

How can I get him to go back to using his litter box? I read the post on removing the cat urine smell, so I will try that. If this continues, I will find him a new home because I cannot live this way. In the meantime, the door to my room will remain shut!

Thanks in advance for help!!
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

Well, you're doing everything RIGHT, but the one thing I would *definitely* do is take him to a vet for a UTI (Urinary Tract Iflamation/Infection) check-up. The #1 reason cats avoid the litterbox is UTI because they are painful and the cat associates the pain of urination with the litterbox (LB), so they pee in other areas because they are hoping to find *somewhere* to pee that it doesn't hurt. ONLY a vet visit will be able to rule out UTI, there is no way for anyone to diagnose UTI without it. If he checks clear for a UTI, then we have to dig a little deeper to determine *why* he is avoiding his litterbox. Is it filled with a litter that he likes? Is the LB configured (small, large, pan, hooded) in a way that he finds pleasing? Is the LB in a private area so he can do his business without interruption or loud/abrupt noises? Has your 5yr old ever frightened him and/or made him feel trapped in his LB?
Cats are normally very neat and fastidious about their elimination behaviors and when they exhibit deviations it is the only way they have of saying: "Something is wrong" or "I don't like something". Try to be understanding as you try to figure out what he is trying to say to you. He wants 'the problem' to be fixed just as much as you do.
Good luck in finding whatever it is that is bothering him,
heidi =^..^=
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

Thanks Heidi!

I think (hope!) I found the problem! I think I needed to do a complete litter change. He has a hooded box with a door and I noticed the last few times I changed it it had a very potent odor. I either got a bad box of litter (even though I have used the same kind since I got him), or I just needed to change it. It wasn't clumping right. I dumped it, bleached the box, put new litter in, and left the hood off. He went right in behind me and went (both!)!

I also went and bought the Nature's Miracle and applied that to his corner. He hasn't gone there since I changed his litter box, so hopefully that's all it was. My daughter doesn't go near his litter box as it's in the back corner of the laundry room, so it wasn't that. And I was fearful of a UTI, so glad it doesn't appear to be that!

I didn't think my cat was as picky as everyone says cats are, but guess he proved me wrong! I will be more dilligent about changing out the entire litter box now!
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

Yay! I am so glad you were able to discover what was bothering him! Yay! Yay! Yay! I don't think your kitty was being picky, kitties' noses are very sensitive and a slight ammonia smell to us, would be enough to knock-a-cat-right-off-its'-feet. Do keep an eye on him for a few days, just to be sure he isn't having any trouble peeing. With eight to a dozen cats, I always scoop the LB's daily and it is fairly regularl ... so it is cleaned about every 24hrs, right on time. There have been a few times when I've noticed a pee-clump smelling just a bit ammonia-y and another time when we were out of town and I had a teen come over to care for the kitties, he didn't get all of the pee-clumps out and the ones left beyond the 24hrs were getting a strong ammonia smell.
*I know its' weird, but just like a momma who takes note of diaper consistency to judge overall internal health and/or efficiency, I do the same (generally) when I clean the LB.
I'm very happy you appear to have solved the mystery and your kitty approved by using it ASAP.
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

I think that was a good move to take the lid off. Can you imagine being forced to pee in a tight little container where you can't even move around and the smells become more overwhelming? We wouldn't like it, so why should they?
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

Yes -- among the many problems w/ covered LBs is that the owner gets a false sense of security -- THEY can't smell the box so it must be o.k. The lid holds in the nastiness so only the cat is affected. And the cat, understandably, says, "I"m not going in THERE!!!"

The only way to use a covered box correctly, IMO, is to use a HUGE one -- a big rubbermaid storage tub -- with a smaller box inside that. AND it must be cleaned 2X a day, period!
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

I know, I know, I read on here many times not to use a hooded box, but I really didn't think he minded it. It was only when the smell from the urine not clumping (therefore I couldn't get it out) got to be too much that he quit using it. And no, I don't blame him! I just wish he would've gone beside it on the concrete floor instead of the carpet in my bedroom! Good think I'm single because there's nothing romantic about that LOL! (Still working on getting the smell out...)
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mellen04
(Still working on getting the smell out...)
Ah! You need an enzymatic cleaner, one that removes all trace of the odor causing bacteria. The enzymes break down the organic matter and eliminate the smell. I like to soak the area, give it a good scrubb with a small white shop-towel (I keep several handy for cleaning hairballs and other accidents) and then re-soak with the enzymatic solution and let it air dry. You may need to reapply the enzymatic solution several times to completely remove the odor because when it dries, the enzymes stop working and if it dried before they broke down all of the bacteria there will still be traces of odor.

My fave products:
Nature's Miracle
Odo Ban
Simple Solution

I use hooded jumbo boxes to prevent vigorous diggers from kicking litter out. I also have a huge home-made LitterChest (2'x2'x4' and vented outside with clothes-dryer ducting). As long as I scoop all of the pee clumps out I have only minimal odor problems. Something that helps considerably, is *how* you clean the litterbox. I scoop/sift *everything* from side to side, scraping the bottom and sides as I go. If you have a flimsy plastic scoop, this will make the task more difficult, because you need to be careful and not stress/break the scoop.

I used to use this:
But I keep my litterboxes 3" deep in litter material and it was just too much for the plastic scoop to handle. Being careful, I could get a lot of life out of that plastic scoop, but I also needed to make certain I had a "back up scoop" handy because they *would* eventually break.
I now use this, Dura Scoop:
I think this will be The Last litter scoop I ever have to buy.

I like to push all litter to one side of the box/chest and have a clear area at one end. I then take 'bites' of the mounded litter (scraping the bottom of the tray/chest) and sift it over the cleared area until I have worked my way through all of the litter and scraped the bottom and sides of the entire tray/chest. I learned this technique when cleaning horse stalls and I transferred the skills I learned from horse care to caring for my cats' litterboxes. Scooping in this manner allows me to be certain I've removed all waste and nothing is left behind or buried.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mellen04
I know, I know, I read on here many times not to use a hooded box, but I really didn't think he minded it. It was only when the smell from the urine not clumping (therefore I couldn't get it out) got to be too much that he quit using it. And no, I don't blame him! I just wish he would've gone beside it on the concrete floor instead of the carpet in my bedroom!
But try to think like a cat -- or even like a person! If you had to pee and there was no acceptable toilet, would you choose an absorbent material or an unabsorbent one? The unabsorbent one would, after all, allow the pee to go all over your feet. 'Nuff said.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: He stopped using the litter box suddenly!

Hey I said I wished, not that I blamed him LOL! Although he did pee on the top of the DVD player, which isn't very absorbent LOL!

Oh, and no problems urinating, he's been using his box perfectly and I'm finding lots of clumps (hard ones now that I switched litters!).

And he's gotten new toys and treats to make up for my error
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