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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I have a problem with my cat's toilet behaviour which unfortunately has got to the point where I'm considering moving her out as we have a new baby due in October. Am hoping to solve the problems with your advice before then!

Some background: I have 2 cats, one 4 year old and one 3 year old female. They are both rescue cats but we got them at different times. We originally had two girls - Roxy and her sister at 6 months, but her sister died at a young age of kidney failure so we got Rainbow at 9 months to keep Roxy company. Rainbow was very nervous when we got her and didn't come out from behind the sofa for months. She also stank of cigarette smoke. And finally, she weed a lot behind the sofa and on the sofa. She also weed on anything that had a towel-like material.

3 years on, Rainbow is a different cat - she plays a lot, chases (and gets chased by) Roxy, rolls around on her back and comes for cuddles. She also stopped spraying/weeing pretty much completely but she will wee on any towels that we accidentally leave out. She's a very small cat and does get bullied a bit by Roxy who won't ever let her come too near but they seem to tolerate one another.

We moved into a new house 6 months ago and both the cats seem to really like it. Rainbow did get into a fight with a neighbourhood cat and lost the end of her tail recently but it didn't seem to bother her much.

The problem I have is that since we bought a new rug for the living room, Rainbow has been pooing on it every day. No wee though. She won't go near it when we're there and if we put her on it she'll run away immediately.

I have a feeling that Rainbow was never properly litter trained when she was a kitten, or was trained using a towel in a litter box because if we ever leave a towel on the floor, or the bath mat on the floor, Rainbow will wee on it. I also keep both our sofas covered in plastic when we're not in the house and overnight.

I'm assuming the rug / poo problem is the same root cause as the weeing but have no idea what to do to sort it out. We've tried all kinds of things: feeding Rainbow on the rug, using a Feliway diffuser, giving her treats, using different cat litter, rubbing her nose in her mess when she's bad. Nothing seems to work. It's like she thinks the rug is her litterbox.

Sorry this is a bit long but I figured you need all the context to understand the problem. I really don't like the idea of having cat urine and faeces around when my new baby arrives and am seriously considering getting rid of Rainbow before it's born.

Any ideas?

Duncan
 

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Hello, its great that you are posting her seeking help and solutions for Rainbow's problem. Typically when a cat is peeing or pooing outside of the litter box (assuming there is not a physical problem behind it, and it sounds like there is not in this case), there is usually a "human" problem behind it. What I mean is, somewhere along the line the cat was subjected to some sort of conditioning by a human to do this (even if unintentional). In this case, it is quite probable that she did not come from a very good environment, where indeed, she may not have even been provided with a litter box. It may be a situation where she may have been locked in a cage or kennel without a litter box for long periods of time, and ended up having to do her business on a towel or blanket placed in there for her to sleep on.

( I should also mention that I've been involved in rescue work with no-kill shelters, so this is where some of my experience comes from).

So the first thing to keep in mind is the need for compassion and understanding with this cat. Somewhere along the line, a human did this to her, someone let her down - she is not being a "bad cat". We really want to avoid having this poor cat be "let down" a second time by being given up. Cats are much more sensitive than many people realize, and being given up to a shelter or "given away" causes deep emotional distress and anxiety.

You may want to find out if your local humane society offers free or subsidized services of an animal behaviorist. I know my local humane society offers this because they would rather see people receive assistance to overcome problems with the pets instead of just giving them up.

If not, contact the good no-kill shelters in your area and see if they can recommend a good animal behaviorist. These professionals have intensive training to determine the root of the behavior and to devise the solution. They are really much like psychologists for cats - and they really do have wonderful success with these types of issues.

Additionally, its really not good to ever rub a cat or dogs nose into their "business" in these types of situations. They simply dont understand why you are doing it and it can cause feelings of alienation. It just isnt effective so its best avoided. What you want is an effective approach and a behaviorist can provide that.

Lastly, another alternative is (now don't think this is crazy!), to consult an *good* animal communicator. I can refer you to one whom I've used, who provides her service long distance. Let me know if you want her info. The cost is about $70 for a session, but she is amazing, and after such an experience, it will change every thing about the way you think about "animals" and make you open your eyes to realize there is a whole lot more to them than most people know.

An animal communicator makes a spiritual or telepathic connection with your pet to determine what is causing the problem. At the rescue I'm involved in there is a communicator who does remarkable work with animals with problems. Once she can understand from them what is causing the problem, she is able to communicate the necessary info to them to enable them to stop the behavior and peace is restored. However, all animal communicators are not created equal, and its important to pick one that is highly reputed (again, I can give you someones name whom I have worked with if you want). I know it sounds nuts, but I did this out of complete desperation and the results were quite remarkable.

Whatever you do, please remain committed to your kitty and to standing by her through thick and thin. Please remember, we make a commitment when we adopt a pet. Relinquishing an animal is more difficult on them then you might imagine. Cats are deeply feeling creatures.
 

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Re-training an older cat with toileting problems is hard, but can be done. Confining her to a large cage for a few weeks with no other options but a regular litter box is the method many people use.
Yes, it does sound like she was encouraged to go on towels instead of in a regular box. Poor cat. Rubbing her nose in her poo is a REALLY bad idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies! Yes Rainbow is spayed. I had actually already considered a cat behaviourist so may give that a try. Funnily enough I removed the rug over the weekend to give it a good clean and she used the bath instead... ah well at least it's easier to clean.

I have a bunch of cat paraphernalia arriving soon which includes new litter tray, new litter, lots of Feliway so maybe some of this will help too. I've also re-instated a cardboard box around her litter tray which she seemed to like previously.

I think you're right about her being conditioned - she never looks very guilty when she soils the carpet (or a towel) and also it's not spraying, it's weeing.

I'll let you know how I get on!

PS - don't worry she won't really be made homeless, I was a little frustrated when I wrote that first post....
 
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