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Older cat having trouble using cat box... ideas?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My cat is 22 years old, and for the past year, he's been peeing out through the door of his box.  We have one of the boxes with a top cover.  This started when I turned his box 90 degrees to fit better in our bathroom and it only happened occasionally.  I read somewhere that cat's develop preference for a corner of the box to go in, so turning the box confused him.  But by the time I read that and turned the box back, it was too late and just confused him more.  Nothing's helped... I tried getting a bigger box, a box with one of the swinging doors (he just hangs his bum out with the door tilted open), and cleaning the box more often.  Over the past year he's started to go more and more out the door, and now he's probably doing it 75% of the time.

 

I need some new ideas.  I'm pregnant and my sweet husband has been put in charge of the cat box, and it's driving him crazy to have to deal with pee on the floor multiple times a day.  He's the sweetest snuggliest cat, and he goes into the box every time, so I know he still wants and tries to use the box, but he is getting old and I don't know what to do to retrain him or how to modify the box to make it work.  Any ideas would be so appreciated!

post #2 of 14

Could you try using a box without a lid?  One of my cats is having trouble using the lidded boxes (I think just because he's so big he can't comfortably fit in it) so we're trying that here.  I've also heard of something called Cat Attract litter, I'm not sure what's in it but it's something I'm keeping in mind for us to try if the open litter box doesn't work.  

 

Have you had him into the vet to check for any UTIs?  

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the ideas broodymama!  I took the lid off last night, so we'll see if that helps.  He's been to the vet twice since this started, so I don't think it's a UTI... he's due for another check-up soon though, so I'll go ahead and schedule that so we can rule it out.  I'll look into the Cat Attract... I'm willing to try anything right now!! 
 

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Argh... well, there's pee on the floor again in the same spot.  I looked at the Cat Attract litter, but I don't think it will help since he's never had problems going in places outside the litter box and he's still climbing into the box, just "overshooting" the lower edge of the box out the doorway.  Not sure what to try next.

post #5 of 14

We had a diabetic elderly cat (now deceased) as well as another that enjoyed all sorts of gymnastic poses on the edge of the box.   When the diabetic was still alive, I used blue pads around the box (those pads that have absorbent cotton on top with a water proof backing, like puppy training pads) and discarded them each time there was an accident. 

 

 Can you get a larger box?  Pets Mart sells a large box with a low entry area and our 19.5 yo cat hasn't overshot the box sides since.

 

Are you worried about toxoplasmosis?  If so, you can get yourself and/or the cat tested to see if either of you have been exposed in the past.  If you have, you are immune.  

post #6 of 14
Can he get in a box without a door opening? If you just got a large, rectangular box that he had to climb into, there wouldn't be a door opening for him to hang out of. You could also try moving the box to an entirely new space to see if that "resets" him.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caneel View Post

We had a diabetic elderly cat (now deceased) as well as another that enjoyed all sorts of gymnastic poses on the edge of the box.   When the diabetic was still alive, I used blue pads around the box (those pads that have absorbent cotton on top with a water proof backing, like puppy training pads) and discarded them each time there was an accident. 

 

 Can you get a larger box?  Pets Mart sells a large box with a low entry area and our 19.5 yo cat hasn't overshot the box sides since.

 

Are you worried about toxoplasmosis?  If so, you can get yourself and/or the cat tested to see if either of you have been exposed in the past.  If you have, you are immune.  


The training pads are a great idea!  I'm 7 months along now, so I think those would get us through till I can take back over.  Tell me more about the large box w/low entry... does it have high sides and just a low entryway?  I've looked at Pets Mart, but I don't remember seeing one like that.  And yes, we were worried about toxoplasmosis... I probably won't worry about testing since I'm this far along.  

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkToMeNow View Post

Can he get in a box without a door opening? If you just got a large, rectangular box that he had to climb into, there wouldn't be a door opening for him to hang out of. You could also try moving the box to an entirely new space to see if that "resets" him.

Yes, he can get in a box without a door opening... the opening for the box now is probably 6-7" high and he climbs in fine... the sides are probably 8" or more.  I'm afraid without a door opening he will just back up to whatever side he enters from and pee right over the edge, you know?  I might give it a try anyway and see what happens.  He used to back up into a corner and spray down the side of the box, which I guess is why I first got him a box with a lid.  Since I turned the box 90 degrees he's been backing up to the door opening more and more often.

 

I'd LOVE to move the box to a different place... but our house is tiny and we have only 1 bathroom, so unfortunately that spot is pretty much the only spot.  Where it is, he's peeing right in front of the bathroom door, so you have to step over it to get into the bathroom to clean it... yuck. 

 

Vet appointment is Monday, so hopefully we'll rule out any health issues then.

post #9 of 14

You could also just get an under bed storage box as a larger, lower sided box - way cheaper than a specific cat box!

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by treehugz View Post


The training pads are a great idea!  I'm 7 months along now, so I think those would get us through till I can take back over.  Tell me more about the large box w/low entry... does it have high sides and just a low entryway?  I've looked at Pets Mart, but I don't remember seeing one like that.  And yes, we were worried about toxoplasmosis... I probably won't worry about testing since I'm this far along.  

 

Yes it has a low openning and high sides.  The one I have is cream colored. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stardogs View Post

You could also just get an under bed storage box as a larger, lower sided box - way cheaper than a specific cat box!

 

If you try this, make sure the box has a completely flat bottom.  The one I bought had a border around the entire perimeter that was lower then the center of the bottom.  It was a b$tch to clean because our cats liked to pee in the corners and I couldn't ever get that little area clean of the clumping litter.

post #11 of 14
OP, how did the vet appointment go?
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Okay, the vet said that he has no sign of a UTI or kidney disease, so that rules those out.  He does have some arthritis though, and the vet said most likely he is having trouble getting into a good position in the box.  He said he once had an older cat with arthritis who did the same thing for years and he just dealt with the messes.  So... he said one option is to try some arthritis meds (glucosamine/chondroitin) and see if that helps after a month.  Or we can keep trying different boxes, but I'm running out of ideas there.  Or we can just look for easy ways for dealing with the messes.  We're still considering whether to try the meds or not... and still looking for other ideas! 

post #13 of 14
You cat is aging and may have kidney problems take the kitty to the vet is there any other signs showing up tell the vet.please don't get near car urine when pregnant it can cause serious Heath problems you may ask your husband to place a garbage bag under the box to replaced dayly.I hate to say this but it sounds like your cat is not going to be around that much longer please make it's time on earth as comforting as possible! I sure there must be a lot of love in your home to care for you kitty for all time still Consult a vet!
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

To post an update... my husband did LOTS of experimenting with the box to find out what was going on.  I think arthritis is making it difficult for my cat to "squat" down.  He's sort of peeing in a more standing position so the pee was going over the side of the box.  What works is to only put a teensy amount of litter in the box in the corner where he pees... only enough to absorb one or two pees.  And then keep the corner where his nose goes completely empty... this is also the corner where he poops.  If too much litter accumulates in his pee corner there will surely be pee on the floor.  Three cheers for my hubby!

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