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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-15-2014, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Chronic fecal matter on the floor

Hi there, I come with a lengthy poopy problem. I will do my best to give complete information without asking for anyone to read a mega paragraph. I introduced myself a month or so ago so thanks to spirite and TabbCatt for the welcome. Now for the details.... ehem!


The culprit: Runt - Age 10, spayed female


Crimes committed: Pooping outside of the litterbox- next to it, a few feet away, and using the nearby carpet as toilet paper.


Crime occurences: Throughout her entire life. Consistent and persistant throughout the last year. Poops outside the box every few days or more often. The 'toilet paper' problem within the last year or so.

Box types: All plastic and uncovered, but two are 'semi- private' (see location below). Adequate spacing and depth. One is actually a shallow storage bin converted to litterbox, so it is extra wide.

Litter: Currently and most often use tidy cat non clumping. Over the years tried an untreated pellet type in one or two boxes(can't remember name but it was all natural) she did not like that even when it was mixed with tidy cat.

Box locations and servicing: Two upstairs, used less frequently but checked (if not scooped) daily. Two downstairs less then a foot from each other underneath the laundry sink(So it is more covered and private). She can go a few days pooping just fine in there so I know it is not a smell, sound, climate, etc etc etc, issue. They are scooped daily.

Other box occupants: Her neutered male littermate. Never a problem pooper.

Nutrition: Blue buffalo dry food. Previous foods were purina and felidae. No free feeding as she is a piglet and still gets her brother's food when she can.

Health: In July 2013 she was diagnosed with suspected inflammatory bowel(IBS) or lymphoma. Long story short we were told an endoscopy was unnecessary since treatment would be the same so she is on prednisolone for life. This medication does not treat nor seem to effect her pooping problem. She is going to get bloodwork re-checked next week. I would like to see her lose a lb or two but even when she was at an ideal weight this has still been a steady problem throughout her life.



Other information:
Though situations have varied over the years, we took in her pregnant mother(long story) over a decade ago and Runt was born in this house. She has had clean, safe and substantial access to litterboxes since we introduced the whole liter to them at just a few weeks old.

She is NEVER scolded unless she is CAUGHT literally GOING and I just place her in the box and then praise but that is rare to catch her.
I can stay nearby and wait for her to go and praise her a ton but we like to leave them be(who wouldn't want privacy???).

I'm sure I am missing some information so question away if need be. The problem really only occurs downstairs- she does not use the upstairs ones often. It does not matter if the boxes are totally clean, she will still go outside the box on the tile floor or even on the carpet a few feet away. I have considered adding some cat attract litter to the boxes downstairs, but it is expensive and I don't know if it would do squat anyways.

She usually has solid poops so I don't get the tush wiping thing. Even on felidae she did that.

....In conclusion ... help? Honestly she is the dumbest cat I have ever had despite the fact I've taught her to give high 5 ...easy to reward when she wants to offer THAT behavior, hah!. Her mother was the pinnacle of instincts matched with great intelligence and her brother is fine so sometimes I'm just stuck thinking 'where did you come from?' Oy!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 12:44 PM
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Was she called "Runt" because she was when she was born?.....may have missed out on some important nutrition when her momacat was pregnant which has resulted in her being "dumb" and perhaps even her litter box habits.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response!

Good question but she is short haired. My mom has always been concerned about whatever chemicals make the clumping litter 'clump'. I admit I am really ignorant about this. Is this anything to be concerned about? Cat Attract is kind of expensive so do you think just adding some to the tidy cat could help?

As for the frequency of cleaning, again the boxes can be totally clean and new and she will still poop outside of them.

As for the feeding...We've tried canned food but it is tough since she goes nuts for it and her brother is a super picky eater- it makes feeding them difficult. Especially since my mom won't follow my guidelines for feeding them. They used to get scheduled meals but since Runt has had this diagnosis the feeding schedule has gotten wonky. Runt will inhale(then vomit) her food if we don't give 3+ small meals a day and her brother will take his sweet time and then drive my mom nuts over which wet foods he will eat, when he wants to eat, etc.

Trust me I've tried to get the feeding thing straight for years- I've settled on just feeding them a high quality dry and trying to keep them from getting fat.


She was actually not a runt but we nicknamed the whole litter at a week or two old. When we decided to keep her the name had already stuck. She was never underweight just the smallest but not by much. She used to shove her littermates(5 total in the litter) aside even when there were plenty of other places to suckle- and she always suckled longer then the rest of her 'mates. She has always been a little piglet.

However, what you said about her missing out on something prior to birth is something I've wondered myself. I am not joking when I say this, she is lacking in some areas mentally. She will periodically sit and hold up one front paw. Just an inch or two off the ground. This is something she has done occasionally ever since she was about a year old. There is nothing wrong with her paws. She also has trouble retracting her claws at times, say, when she is playing or after she has stretched up on something(another reason I try to remember to clip them).
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
Crimes committed: Pooping outside of the litterbox- next to it, a few feet away, and using the nearby carpet as toilet paper.
I'm going to start with the most obvious thing to me - the bum scooching. This is a classic sign of two things: worms and impacted (blocked) anal glands.

Step one is to take a fecal sample in to the vet and get her anal glands checked. Personally, my bet is on impacted glands which can crop up later in life, but checking for worms is easy and should be done just in case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
Crime occurences:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
Throughout her entire life. Consistent and persistent throughout the last year. Poops outside the box every few days or more often. The 'toilet paper' problem within the last year or so.
Curiosity says, has your vet considered constipation for her ongoing issue? Another good reason to take a sample in to the vet. If she's been mildly constipated (not uncommon for kitties fed dry food only) her whole life that would easily explain the issue.

You've got the litter box situation well covered it seems, so no suggestions there.

I am curious about if she's only pooping outside one specific ox, or if it's all of them...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
Nutrition:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
Blue buffalo dry food. Previous foods were purina and felidae. No free feeding as she is a piglet and still gets her brother's food when she can.
Blue isn't a bad food, but the general recommendation here (and for VERY good reasons) is an all wet food diet. Wet food is not more likely to make them fat, won't wreck their teeth, and IS overall healthier for them. If you switch to all wet you might find (if you're lucky) that the pooping out of the box problem magically disappears...although I doubt it as there's most likely a habit that's formed over the course of her life along with the ultimate issue (likely health related, IMO).

I'd suggest picking a grain free wet food or three and feeding only that for a month or two to see what that does for her issues. If the pooping goes away you've got a good answer.

She'll still have to go to the vet to have her glands checked, but it'll save you on the expensive vet foods.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
Health:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
In July 2013 she was diagnosed with suspected inflammatory bowel(IBS) or lymphoma. Long story short we were told an endoscopy was unnecessary since treatment would be the same so she is on prednisolone for life. This medication does not treat nor seem to effect her pooping problem. She is going to get bloodwork re-checked next week. I would like to see her lose a lb or two but even when she was at an ideal weight this has still been a steady problem throughout her life.
It may be related, so I'm asking. What is her main symptom that led to your vet suggesting IBS? Soft stools are the most common, but my oldest kitty Jitzu's is expressed via ejecting the offending food item back the way it came.

Ultimately, there is likely going to need to be some re-training done. That is a process that involves locking her up when you aren't home or able to supervise, and when she is out closely monitoring her behavior so you can make sure only the behaviors you want to see (ie, using the box) occur.

You can get Cat Attract Litter Additive (not sure if that's the right name exactly), and you can add that to whatever litter it is that you're currently using. It's the same cost as a box of litter, but if you're careful it can last MONTHS, you don't need to use much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
....In conclusion ... help? Honestly she is the dumbest cat I have ever had despite the fact I've taught her to give high 5 ...easy to reward when she wants to offer THAT behavior, hah!. Her mother was the pinnacle of instincts matched with great intelligence and her brother is fine so sometimes I'm just stuck thinking 'where did you come from?' Oy!
Lol, I must say I'm a bit sympathetic to this. My youngest kitty Muffin is a very sweet kitty...but not the brightest. We just giggle at his silliness and enjoy his charms. *shrugs*

Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
As for the frequency of cleaning, again the boxes can be totally clean and new and she will still poop outside of them.
...*cough* brand new boxes with brand new litter are a problem I occasionally come across with my pet sitting clients. Adding a new box is a GREAT idea, especially given I usually meet them when they have the added stress of their family leaving that can prompted accidents. That being said, if I am asked I always suggest 'seeding' the brand new pristine box with a deposit or two from the previous one. Spotless boxes are not always an obvious indicator - especially for kittens and those less than genius kitties

Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
As for the feeding...We've tried canned food but it is tough since she goes nuts for it and her brother is a super picky eater- it makes feeding them difficult. Especially since my mom won't follow my guidelines for feeding them. They used to get scheduled meals but since Runt has had this diagnosis the feeding schedule has gotten wonky. Runt will inhale(then vomit) her food if we don't give 3+ small meals a day and her brother will take his sweet time and then drive my mom nuts over which wet foods he will eat, when he wants to eat, etc.
Well, luckily I have a semi-solution, although not a permanent one. Part of retraining your girl will mean confining her for large portions of the day to a room that meets all her needs...if she'll be in her own special room then she can eat her meals and her brother will be left to pick at his to his heart's content.

That being said, I'd suggest a conversation with your mother. One point free feeding proponents have not usually considered is that how much a pet is eating is a very common indicator of health. Skipping one meal isn't cause for concern, but if free fed it can also be very easily missed. Skipping 3-4 meals becomes immediately obvious when you're feeding in meals at set times, and removing the food 20-30 minutes later.

People who feed in meals routinely catch this sort of thing 2-3 meals earlier than free feeders, especially in homes with more than one person, IME. It's easy to assume someone else fed the cat, when the reality is that it's lunch from yesterday! Especially since your two are getting older it's much better for you to know what their eating, when, and how much. That means feeding in monitored meals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh60 View Post
However, what you said about her missing out on something prior to birth is something I've wondered myself. I am not joking when I say this, she is lacking in some areas mentally. She will periodically sit and hold up one front paw. Just an inch or two off the ground. This is something she has done occasionally ever since she was about a year old. There is nothing wrong with her paws. She also has trouble retracting her claws at times, say, when she is playing or after she has stretched up on something(another reason I try to remember to clip them).
Muffin runs into walls, gets stepped on, and regularly gets tricked out of his toys by the other cats. Just like people cats are not all made equal *shrugs*

The paw-thing reminds me of what Jitzu does. She injured her paw about 6 years ago, we took her to the vet and it was a very small hairline fracture. Other than giving her some pain meds (which she liked a little too much, lol) there was nothing to be done. I made such a fuss over her every time she lifted her paw that now she does it as a plow for attention...but she's forgotten which paw she hurt. So she'll sit there, look at me and lift her paw. When I don't respond she switches to the other paw to see if that will work. Very funny

It is also possible she's developing arthritis, but as long as this little personality quirk doesn't extend to limping I wouldn't be too worried.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 03:57 PM
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I'm gonna say what you don't want to hear....dry food exclusively as a diet is really not good and causes unhappy or downright painful constipated poops, they associate this with the litter box and will poop anywhere but there....they strain to poop, it's too dry, painful, comes out in several dry looking pieces instead of moist poop...look up on line what healthy poop should look like and compare it to your kitty's poop.

I'm just saying this could be a factor and worth checking out.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-17-2014, 03:39 AM
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Hi bleh60, welcome back! I know it's not a funny situation, but your post made me laugh. It's good to see you can still have a sense of humor despite the poo issue.

I second librarychick's suggestion that you have her anal glands checked and also that you consider whether it might be chronic constipation that's causing her to poop outside of her box. If feeding all (or mostly) wet is an option, then try dissolving 1/8 tsp. of Miralax in a little warm water then adding it to her wet food every day. That has really helped my constipated one. I always know when she's constipated because either I find poo on her soft litterbox (my bed) or she scoots across my rugs after using the litterbox, which leaves very attractive line and/or swirl patterns. And yes, the poo is firm. But I think because it's hard to make the poo come out, some icky stuff is still there that she needs to get rid of. Alas, she doesn't seem to know that she's supposed to clean herself.

A couple of other things that came to mind: first, could the prednisolone have any effect on her pooping? Her scooting seems to have started around the same time she started the pred. Second, no issues between her and her brother?

You might try moving one of the downstairs litterboxes so that the two are in different rooms - just until you figure out whether that has any effect on the situation or not.

Well, look at the bright side: at least she's not peeing outside of the box. My scooter has also peed on my bed - twice, and I would MUCH rather clean up poo than pee.
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