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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy New here and need advice :(

Hello all...

I joined this forum hoping for good advice/ideas on what to do. My 17 year old cat is not using the litter box consistently anymore. I have taken him to the vet 2 times, he does not test for any uti's...I wish he did then I would have an answer. His litter is clean always...I have not changed the brand. I am afraid he is just senile. He has ruined sofa cushions, countless blankets...and clothes. I don't know how much longer we can deal with this. I am looking for hope through this forum. Maybe somebody can suggest something I have not thought of yet.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 08:35 PM
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One of mine, who's 12 1/2, poops outside of her litter box frequently enough - maybe once every 2 weeks or so - to drive me out of my mind. She particularly likes my bed, so I try to keep the door shut, but when I forget, invariably she's pooped on the bed.

I know it's because she suffers chronic constipation, so she's starting to associate pain with the litter box. Is your kitty pooping normally?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 11:12 PM
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Perhaps take him to another vet? And ask specifically that he be tested for a UTI? My kitty is prone to UTI's and they have a very hard time testing him as he won't go potty while he's at the doctors, and he won't let them take urine with a syringe. They told me he gets a kitty six pack and goes hulk mode when they try..
Has he ever had a UTI? Do you know the signs to look for, other than not using the box? When my baby gets them, his belly is always rock hard and swollen. And when he does pee on things other than the litterbox, you can see blood in the urine. Have any of the pillows/etc he's ruined had blood stains as well as the urine stains?

If he's senile and just not using the litterbox for whatever purpose, this wouldn't work.. But for litter training kittens, most pet stores sell a special kind of litter called "attract" litter. They also sell things you can mix into your litter that have a smell that will attract the cat to the litter. Perhaps try something like that? It can be semi-pricey.. I believe here it's like $13 for a container of the stuff you mix into the litter. But if it works, I'm sure it will be worth every penny..

Good luck!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 11:40 PM
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At 17 years it may be arthritis. You could ask your vet to check for that but it can be tough to fix. The issue is that the shifting of the sand is painful for a cat with arthritis.

Sometimes using less litter helps, or adding a box that has a puppy pad in it rather than litter to see if he likes that better.

In my experience there is always a reason, especially if he's always used to box faithfully before now. Give your kitty the benefit of the doubt and try to figure out why he's having a hard time with it all of a sudden.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 11:49 PM
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I find the post about arthritis interesting. I have an old dog and his habits have changed due to poor sight, arthritis, etc. I didn't realize it at first but now it makes perfect sense.
I googled your issue and there are more links but if you do a find on this for "old" you will read some of the same issues.
Litter Box Problems With Older Cat

Old age is tough for animals and people.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 07:13 AM
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Hi Marcell,

Have you tried to toilet train your cat? My work better if he would use the toilet instead of the litter box. If he's senile it may not work, but it worth to give it a chance. You will save also on the cat litter. Here is a video how it's done: How to Toilet Train Your Cat

I hope your problem will be solved fast!
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:15 AM
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I wouldn't try to toilet train a 17 year old arthritic cat. That would be cruel in my opinion. Have you thought about a glucosamine supplement? Might help with pain if your cat is suffering any joint issues. At 17 I don't know how he couldn't be.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:56 AM
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New here and need advice :(

Is the litterbox in an easily accessible spot? Easy to get into?

I'd place a second box out. It could be age related - sides are too high when he's having a bad joint day, he can't get up or downstairs to use it when he needs to, he literally just doesn't make it in time.

Put a 2nd, low-sided box out in the open where he likes to hang out or where his typical misses end up and see if that helps.

UTI was also something that comes to mind, but it sounds like you considered that already.

When you clean up his accidents be sure to you an enzymatic cleaner so he isn't drawn back to the spot.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 11:33 AM
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I would get a second opinion from another vet. It isn't necessarily a UTI, but that's a common cause and ought to be ruled out before you get too far into other conclusions. Your cat should also probably have a kidney function test, since change in litterbox habits can be a sign of kidney failure in older pets.

There's no guarantee it's a urinary tract or kidney problem, but unless the vet actually tests for that, you can't be sure it isn't - so that would be my first step. Just like humans go to another doctor for a second opinion, cats can too.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 12:15 PM
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Getting a second vet's opinion sounds like a good idea. Doctors are only human after all, they don't always think of every possibility. A fresh pair of eyes might be able to offer a new perspective on this situation.

In the meantime it must be very trying to deal with this (both for you and the elderly cat!). I'm sure your cat doesn't like messing around the house any more than you like having to clean up after him.

If you only have one litter tray set up, I definitely suggest adding more. Perhaps even one for each room your cat is allowed in. It's possible that your cat would like to make it to his tray, but can't get there in time. The more litter boxes you add to your home, the easier it will be for him to find an appropriate spot in time to do his business.

You should be sure to clean the places he messes with an enzymatic pet cleaner such as Nature's Miracle. This will eliminate lingering trace odors that tell your cat he has eliminated nearby. If he can smell that "this is a bathroom" he will be likely to mess again in the same areas. Regular cleaning products are usually not enough to get rid of these smells, you really need an enzymatic pet odor product--even if it seems fine to humans a cat's sharper nose will probably still be able to detect those places.

You may also find it worthwhile to try different types of litter, and/or different styles of litter box to give him more of a selection. His preferences may have changed with old age. For example, my mother's cat stopped using his litter box for a while around age 15. It turned out that he was quite healthy, but his arthritis made it painful to climb in and out of his tall-sided litter box. My mother offered him a tray with much lower sides and he was happy to use that new one.
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