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Hi guys, I have a 13 year old red point siamese that I have had since he was a wee 8 week old kitten. This cat is like my child and means the world to me. He is relatively healthy... the only thing that we have issues with are his ears. He had some hematomas many years ago and since then his ears have never been the same. They get infected a lot and I have to clean them all the time.... other than that he's a fabulous cat and has never had any behavioral issues (aside from an incessant need to lick my earlobes!!) but anyhooo...

We recently went on a trip to Denmark for 3 weeks. We hired a cat sitter to come in twice a day and take care of them. Since we've been back... he has been refusing to use his litterbox.

He's never done this before and I'm not sure why it is happening now. At first I thought he was just popping on the floor but the other day I caught him in mid stream peeing on the carpet.

We have cleaned the spots and tried to disipline him at the time he's doing it but he persists.

The other odd thing is that anytime I try to take him to the litterbox and be like dude this is where you go ... he hisses at me. This is very unusual as he would never hiss at me for anything.

Nothing has changed in our apartment everything is as it was...the only difference is he wasn't doing this before we left the country and now that we're back it started. Can he still be mad at me for leaving him for 3 weeks? We've been home about 2 weeks now.

I just last night moved the litterbox to the area where he has chosen to do his business to see if its the location of the box he no longer likes. I woke up today and so far nothing on the floor...but I also have another cat, so I don't know if the stuff in the box is from him or my other cat.

Any thoughts or ideas is appreciated... my next move if this doesn't work is to just totally wash the litterbox and get totally fresh litter... I really have no idea what could be wrong as I know he's healthy and nothing has changed in the house or anything. He still jumps up on the bed and the couch etc... so I don't believe that its anything with climbing into the box.

Thanks in advance!
 

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I would recommend bloodwork and urinalysis. It could be behavioral, but many times use behaviors to indicate a problem that is undetectable by the human eye.

In the meantime, I'd stick to having the box in the area he wants to go in, and try using Dr. Ellseys Cat Attract litter. It has worked wonders for us.

Once Ribbons started to pee in the bathroom. So we added a box to that room and she started using it and just prefers to go downstairs than upstairs. Odd, but whatever works. She had blood and urine tested, and she had a slight e.coli infection in her urine as well. I wouldn't have caught that and maybe the box downstairs would have worked, but then again I could end up with a raging e. coli

Best to be safe than sorry and have everything checked out. Cats are funny like that.
Good luck!
 

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As Sphyx said - definately get him checked out by the vet first. He might have a urinary tract infection.

Don't try to discipline him - he won't understand and will be upset that you are treating him differently. If you have more than one floor, it might be time to add a second box.
 

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First off, vet appointment to rule out any physical ailments. If there's nothing wrong then it's behavioral.

A couple of things. Is it only pee or poop or both that he's not doing in the litterbox? Unfortunately, sometimes little things for us can be great stress for cats. Depending on the cat, something as simple as moving a piece of furniture can set them off. It looks like your trip could be the trigger in this case. Is this the first time you have went on a trip for this long?

Treatment is trial and error. The same method won't work on all cats. I had a similar problem with Miu who only peed in the litterbox but poop outside of it. I tried everything under the sun. The final method was confinement and that has worked out beautifully for the both of us. I'll list a couple of things you can try.

1) Litter attractant. You can try Dr. Elsey's litter attractant available at Petsmart.
2) Feliway to help calm him down if this is stress related.
3) Confinement to re-train him.

I think perhaps #3 would work better in your case. Confinement in a small space serves two purposes, helping to re-initiate litterbox use and also for calming the cat down. So don't feel bad about confinement. Use either a small bathroom/room or the largest dog kennel you can buy at Petsmart (48" long). You got two options. Either confine him indefinitely for about 3-4 weeks until he gets the idea of poop in the box. Or confine him until he poops then let him out until the next time. (you'll know his poop patterns)

I confine Miu in there overnight with a bed, box and water and in the morning, I'll find a nice pile in the box. I let her out for the day because she only poops once a day. She treats the kennel as her safe place. I feed her in there with the door closed. She finds it comforting because then she doesn't have to be on guard that Jack or Rocky the dog will come steal her meal. Cats love routine. After Miu got used to it, she even goes in the kennel and patiently waits for me as I prepare her food.
 

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Try changing your litter. It's a possibility that the litter itself is hurting his feet. If he continues then he's just still angry. Siamese cats are like this. I've seen this so much on other forums.

This may apply if he checks out fine physically. Sounds like something in the box is being associated with pain though. Good Luck!
 

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Yes that is also something else you can try. Thanks Magicat, missed that one. You can try clay, wheat, corn, paper-based pellets.
 

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I cat-sit occasionally for a friend of my Mom's who travels. One of her two cats came down with a UTI while she was gone for 10 days. I am quite sure the stress of her owner being gone had a lot to do with it.
And of course the #1 symptom is peeing in inappropriate places.
They want you to see it.
 

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I have a feeling that the cat sitter didn't scoop as often as they should have..
 

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If your cat checks out OK at the vet, I think it's likely related to "something" that happened with the cat sitter. such as cat got punished for peeing/pooping inappropriately by being yelled at or something else.
It's fairly common for cats to eliminate inappropriately when owner goes away on a holiday. They get into the habit of it, and then continue on when owner gets back, as has your cat. I agree with Alpaca's suggestions. If change to cat-attract litter doesn't work, you'll need to re-train. Also give him lots of praise if you do see him using the litter box each time, and make a big fuss over him. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys.

Yea as I said he goes to the vet regularly actually because of his ears and I know he's healthy.

He was pooping and peeing on the floor. More pooping than peeing.

I moved the box to where he was going and it seems to have stopped. He's now using the box again. Its in a very annoying place though. He had decided the coolest place to go was against the wall underneath our dining room table. So, we had to move the table over and put a trunk against the wall and then I finally moved the litter box over there.

So, I'm wondering how long I need to leave it there before I can try to move it again?

We have never left them alone that long before. The longest before was about a week. While we were away apparently the cats were very upset as they were hiding behind the sofa most of the time and wouldn't come out for the cat sitter.

And actually I think the sitter was changing the box more than I do... lol. But I have been keeping it very clean since he started doing this thinking that was his problem.

So, I'm wondering what will happen when I move it back to the closet where its supposed to be. I'm not sure how confinement would go... he does not take well to being locked in anywhere. Especially if we are outside. He starts wailing and freaking out and my other cat goes nuts too.
 

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Has he been to the vet since you have been back and has he had tests done to rule out an infection that could have developed while you were gone? If he went before you left then he needs to go again. Seeming healthy alone means nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, he has gone since we got back. As I said I have to take him a lot for ears and I had to take him when we got back to clean out his ears and I asked about the peeing/popping thing and they checked him out. The vet didn't give me much guidance and just said to check back with him if it persisted. We've been back for a few weeks now and I took him a couple days after we returned.
 

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Glad to hear your Siamese is using the box again. I would move it very gradually, only a few inches a day, back in the direction where you want it to be in the closet.

Just curious whether your cats met and were introduced to the cat sitter before you left. Did they spend some time with the sitter being played with, being petted? If that didn't happen, I suggest you do that just before you go away the next time. And I know it sounds crazy, but tell the cats that this person will be looking after them while you're away for a week, or however long it will be. It can be a big shock for some cats if they haven't met the sitter beforehand to just have a "stranger" coming into the house. If the sitter is a neighbour or relative that the cat knows and likes, this is the best solutiion, but it's not always possible and one may have to use a pet sitting service. Most cats are very quick at picking up when you're going on a trip especially if they see the suitcases being packed. Doesn't take them long to associate packing with your going away for a while.

It sounds as if your cats experience "separation anxiety" if they fuss and carry on if you go outside. You could try to train them out of that, or give in to them and put harness and leash on them and let them come out with you, or have an outdoor enclosure for them. There are portable ones. Hope some of these suggestions help.
 
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