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Cat is being picked on

Species: Cat
Breed: Black long-hair dome
Age: 2-5 years
I have 3 cats. Inga is picked on by both. I think they both just want to play with her but she won't play back and they are constantly chasing her and jumping on her back. All 3 of my cats are inside cats and they are well loved and taken care of. They have their own catbox but Inga only pees in hers and chooses to poop on the floor downstairs in many different spots. She has been doing this for over a year now. Everytime I go downstairs, I have to clean poop off the floor. She has never peed on the floor. Brodie, my other cat, has a habit of following her downstairs when she poops and jumping on her. He isn't always there with her, but she ALWAYS poops on the floor. Catboxes are always clean, by the way. All 3 cats get exercise every day by me playing with them. I am not a person to give up my animals as once I bring one into my home, they are mine to take care of for life. I am incredibly stressed out right now about this. It's taking its toll on my husband and me. I would be so grateful if you could suggest something. It would be nearly impossible to separate my cats for more than a day at a time to keep Brodie from jumping on Inga because Inga nearly scratches a hole in the door trying to get out of a room. Also, I have used Feliway many times, to no avail. Thanks so much for your time, Mynde Crawford

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that poor Inga is having such a hard time.

It sounds like you are doing all of the right things. I'll see if I can help out any more.

Is it possible at all to add one or two more litter boxes? Even though you are keeping them clean, studies show that having more litter boxes than you do cats actually helps cats to feel better and poop in the box.

If Inga won't poop in the box, then another option that may help is to put a pee-pad down on the floor where she is pooping. Most cats will poop on these quite willingly. Then, you may be able to move the pad a little bit each day so that it is getting closer and closer to the litter box. Eventually you can put the pad into a litter box and this may train her to go in the right spot.

Regarding the inter-cat aggression, this is a tough one. Feliway is one thing that often does help, but not always.

Is Inga smaller than the other cats? If so, you could try to create a little refuge for her like a room where there is a hole cut out of the door that is only big enough for her to enter. This may help give her a safe place to go.

Another possibility is to ask your vet about trying some behavior modifying medication. Two that I will use are Clomicalm and Amitriptyline. I will sometimes treat the scared cat, and sometimes I will treat the aggressive cat(s) and sometimes I put all of the cats on it. This medication helps to calm cats down and relieves stress. If they are doing well on it then we can usually after a few months wean them off of medication.

You mentioned that it would be difficult to separate Inga from the other cats. Would it be possible to put the other cats in a room occasionally and let Inga roam free in the house? This could give her some time to have your attention to herself without fear of attack.

Situations like this are tough. Any time we put multiple cats in a house there is a tendency for cats to get anxious and behave improperly.

I hope things are better soon!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thanks so much for responding. I will purchase two more catboxes and see if that helps. Yes, I have tried the potty pads and have around 3 or 4 downstairs. She used them a few times but would rather just poop on the carpet.

I will think about putting my more aggressive cat on some behavioral meds. I hope it works for him because in my opinion he is not being really aggressive, rather just loves to play hard. But maybe that will calm him down to the point of leaving Inga alone.

Should I put the new catboxes around the same area as the other ones or in the room she is pooping in ?(I do have one already in the room she is pooping in.)


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I think these are great ideas.

If you are able to put the new boxes in the rooms she is pooping in then this would be best.

Here's another thought...if she likes to poop on the carpet, what about getting a cheap rug to use in place of the pee pads. You could see if she would poop on that and then gradually move that closer to the appropriate areas.

But, I'd try the new litter boxes first and see how that goes.

Hope all is well!

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.