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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-28-2014, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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A poop problem

Hello! I know there are countless threads about out-of-box pooping but I didn't want to hijack one, since I have a more behavior-modification-type question.

For some background, I am fostering Tabitha, a 13-year-old who was rescued from a hoarding situation about a year ago, then placed in a few bad foster homes before a rescue group got her and I brought her home. She has asthma but gets an inhaler and isn't symptomatic. She also came to me with severe constipation, and it took almost 3 months to get her pooping consistently and with good form to the poops. She's always eaten Wellness wet food, with added fiber, and now goes consistently. However, the "going" is still an issue. While she pees in the litterbox every time, she has yet to land a poop in there.

She's been to the vet multiple times to rule out medical issues, and the vet feels it's entirely a behavioral issue. I've tried every type of box, every type of litter, Cat Attract, multiple boxes (she's in one room during the day when I work, so there aren't stray poops around my apartment to find) and an enzyme cleaner used every place that she goes.

Has anyone had success with behavior modification for this? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-28-2014, 02:24 PM
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Thank you for fostering Tabitha, a senior cat who's had a rough life. It is no wonder her litter box habits are less than stellar. With the hoarding situation, she learned she could go anywhere she wanted and no one got upset about it. It didn't help that she was severely constipated as it can be very painful and she's likely associated the pain with the litter box. Even tho her poo is normal now, she still has fear of the box. You've try the Cat Attract which usually works well, and can only suggest to keep her litter boxes very clean---scooped twice a day and litter changed completely every two weeks. Get another box if you only have one; some cats prefer to pee in one and poop in the other. When you do see her use the box, praise her lavishly and even give her a treat. Don't scold her if she poos on the floor. You may have to resign yourself with the fact that poo is easier to clean up than pee for this longstanding problem in a senior cat.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 12:53 AM
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Oh boy, I sympathize. You have a tremendous amount of patience to foster a kitty who won't poop in the litter box at all. I have one with chronic constipation, and occasional poo outside of the box is quite enough for me to deal with.

I don't know what you might do to break her of this very long habit. Does she seem to have a preference for hard or soft surfaces, or a certain part of the room? Some people have tried putting a puppy pad in a box rather than litter to try to stop cats from peeing outside of the box. Maybe you could try something similar?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Catloverami - I've definitely resigned myself to it at this point, and you're so right. I'm super thankful it's only poop (and not to get too graphic, but it's nice and solid, so it's an easy cleanup).

Spirite - she has pooped everywhere. A bed, carpet, on top of a dresser, in a laundry hamper, on the mat next to the litterbox, on a computer... etc etc. I haven't figured out her preferences because they seem to change quite frequently! I tried puppy pads but she thought they were more fun to sleep on, roll around on, or just carry around in her mouth (she brings things to me, announcing very loudly that she's brought a gift).

She is the sweetest, and has definitely had a rough life. I hoped to adopt her after a trial period, but she really dislikes my resident cat so I'm trying to get her prepped to go to a home as the only cat, and was hoping to also address this problem before letting her go.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 11:10 PM
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LOL - I'm imagining her carrying a puppy pad around in her mouth!

She does sound like a sweetie. It's really unfortunate that she grew up in that kind of environment. That ingrained habit of pooping wherever is certainly not going to make finding a home easy, and through no fault of her own. Kudos to you for even thinking about adopting her and for trying your best to break her of this litterbox issue.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that she finds a home with someone else as patient as you!
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