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Super Contributor
Posts: 743
Registered: ‎08-03-2010
Our twelve year old pet cat has stopped using her litter box. So, I bought her a brand new one. I scrubbed the floor, bought new litter and thought that would fix the problem. No. She's still at it. I made her an appointment at the vet, as I read that sudden litter changes could be the result of an infection. She eats. She plays. She's our only animal. The dog died several years ago. Depending on what the vet says, will determine our next action.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 22,449
Registered: ‎10-03-2011

We've had this happen, too. Sometimes as they age, I think they just start failing a little at a time. Our first cat was always so lively and handsome, but as he got older his coat thinned and looked mangy, he stopped jumping up to a couch or chair, and he seemed to be arthritic in the back end (moved slowly, back end drooping, etc). He started having occasional accidents. Personally, I don't think he could help it, he just didn't have control anymore. We put up with it for a long time, avoiding the obvious, but one day we had to let him go. He was about 17 yrs.

I hope the vet can help you.

Super Contributor
Posts: 292
Registered: ‎03-11-2014

Perhaps your cat has a UTI. If so, the vet can treat it with antibiotics. If vet determines that she has no health problems -- then please consider some of these suggestions:

Buy CAT ATTRACT litter. It has herbs in it that will attract your cat to the litter box. This stuff is highly rated for getting cats to use their litter boxes faithfully.

Leave the top off of the litter box.

Add one litter box so that you have a total of two.

Move one of the litter boxes close to the area where she is making mistakes.

Make sure box is very close to where she hangs out. She may not be able to hold it long enough to make it to the box if it's located too far away.

Make sure litter box is not in a high traffic area.

Get rid of any throw rugs that have a rubber backing. The rubber is cured with ammonia and cats can mistake the rug for a litter box.

Move any magazines, books, dirty laundry, clean laundry, anything with a scent -- AWAY from her litter box area. Don't place her litter boxes in the laundry room. Sometimes these scents confuse the cat.

Make sure to clean the area where she makes mistakes with soap and water and apply an enzyme spray like Nature's Magic Citrus Blast.

She may be arthritic and unable to jump without discomfort. Buy (or make) a litter box that has a low opening where she can just walk into the box and doesn't have to jump. Here's a link for a homemade litter box for arthritic cats:

http://voices.yahoo.com/how-accessible-litter-box-arthritic-10507715.html?cat=70

Remember to never scold, punish or chase kitty if she makes a mistake. Simply pick her up, tell her a "No, no" in a monotone voice and place her gently in her litter box.

Buy some treats and when you observe her using her litter box, give her treat.

She may be anxious. In that case, buy a Feliway plug in diffuser. This will help quell her anxiety and she'll begin to use the litter box again. Smiley Happy

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,026
Registered: ‎09-30-2012
Super Contributor
Posts: 325
Registered: ‎06-09-2014
The Feliway might well help, but she may be ill. The vet will look for something going on with her. Hope all works out for the cat and you! Been where you are...it is hard but you love the animal and will try to help them through this.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,227
Registered: ‎03-10-2010
On 6/30/2014 Jeremiah 2911 said:

Perhaps your cat has a UTI. If so, the vet can treat it with antibiotics. If vet determines that she has no health problems -- then please consider some of these suggestions:

Buy CAT ATTRACT litter. It has herbs in it that will attract your cat to the litter box. This stuff is highly rated for getting cats to use their litter boxes faithfully.

Leave the top off of the litter box.

Add one litter box so that you have a total of two.

Move one of the litter boxes close to the area where she is making mistakes.

Make sure box is very close to where she hangs out. She may not be able to hold it long enough to make it to the box if it's located too far away.

Make sure litter box is not in a high traffic area.

Get rid of any throw rugs that have a rubber backing. The rubber is cured with ammonia and cats can mistake the rug for a litter box.

Move any magazines, books, dirty laundry, clean laundry, anything with a scent -- AWAY from her litter box area. Don't place her litter boxes in the laundry room. Sometimes these scents confuse the cat.

Make sure to clean the area where she makes mistakes with soap and water and apply an enzyme spray like Nature's Magic Citrus Blast.

She may be arthritic and unable to jump without discomfort. Buy (or make) a litter box that has a low opening where she can just walk into the box and doesn't have to jump. Here's a link for a homemade litter box for arthritic cats:

http://voices.yahoo.com/how-accessible-litter-box-arthritic-10507715.html?cat=70

Remember to never scold, punish or chase kitty if she makes a mistake. Simply pick her up, tell her a "No, no" in a monotone voice and place her gently in her litter box.

Buy some treats and when you observe her using her litter box, give her treat.

She may be anxious. In that case, buy a Feliway plug in diffuser. This will help quell her anxiety and she'll begin to use the litter box again. Smiley Happy

Great info - thank you!

Super Contributor
Posts: 373
Registered: ‎03-10-2010
My oldest boy is 14 & he started going on the floor. Thank god for tile & laminate, and we had only one box. The girl & boy had shared for 7 yrs with No issues. I started watching Jackson Galaxy and he said have more than one box with covers. So I got 2, still no resolve. So I took the covers off. Still going on the floor. So I got 2 more and finally he is happy with that. It's been a year and he only did it once and that was bcuz we came home very late from a day trip and he was hungry. My DH said he was angry at us. Who knows, cats are very set in there ways. The girl could care less about anything, my DH says she could go live next door and wouldn't know the difference, but the boy is set in his ways. Maybe try getting another one and put in a different are so hurry has 2 choices.?
Super Contributor
Posts: 292
Registered: ‎03-11-2014
On 7/5/2014 OCGurl said: My oldest boy is 14 & he started going on the floor. Thank god for tile & laminate, and we had only one box. The girl & boy had shared for 7 yrs with No issues. I started watching Jackson Galaxy and he said have more than one box with covers. So I got 2, still no resolve. So I took the covers off. Still going on the floor. So I got 2 more and finally he is happy with that. It's been a year and he only did it once and that was bcuz we came home very late from a day trip and he was hungry. My DH said he was angry at us. Who knows, cats are very set in there ways. The girl could care less about anything, my DH says she could go live next door and wouldn't know the difference, but the boy is set in his ways. Maybe try getting another one and put in a different are so hurry has 2 choices.?

You male cat is older and may have issues with getting to the litter box in time. Having more litter boxes is a good idea and yes, leave the tops of the litter boxes off.

He may have a bit of arthritis and getting in and out of the box may be difficult for him. Consider making or buying a litter box that has a low entry. Cosequin is good for cats who have arthritis. Talk to your vet about giving it to your cat.

He may also have a Urinary Tract Infection. Vet may need to rule that out. Cats also have issues with Urinary crystals. Canned food with a little water added helps with preventing crystals as cats need about a 75% moisture diet. Also, adding a pet fountain can help as cats are attracted to the fountain and will drink more water.

Cats don't possess the negative emotions that humans do. They don't get angry and/or pay us back. If they piddle inappropriately it's usually due to some type of medical issue.

After medical issues have been excluded there is a host of other reasons a cat might be making mistakes. It is never because the cat is angry at someone. Some of the reasons for inappropriate piddling can be aging (not able to hold piddle in as long) dirty litter, change of type of litter, too small of a litter box, too few litter boxes, litter box too far away, fear of being ambushed by other pets while doing their business, new pets in the household, new people in the household, new environment, etc.

You just have to eliminate (no pun intended!) the potential causes one at a time until you find out what the problem is and then correct it. Smiley Happy


Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,954
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Does your box have a top?

Our cat suddenly decided he didn't like his enclosed litter box. After we opened up the top, he was fine.