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Not using litter box.

Species: Cat
Breed: Long haired tortoise
Age: 5-8 years
For the past several months she has decided to stop using the litter box to poop in. There are 3 cats in the home, she is the only female and we've had her since she was a kitten. We can never catch her doing her dirty deed, but I recognize her poop. Can you please help me trying to rectify this problem? My husband is ready to get rid of her and I just can't. I know there has to be a reason behind what she's doing.

Thank you


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi. I am so sorry to hear that this is happening. This is unfortunately a common problem, especially in a multi-cat household.

Here are a few things that you can do that may help:

If you have 3 cats, you need at least 4 litter boxes. They need to be cleaned at least once a day. You can experiment with adding a covered box, or trying different sizes of boxes and different types of litter.

If possible, restrict her from the areas where she is doing this.

If she goes in one area regularly, you can try adding a litter box there. Or, if she won't use the litter box, then put an incontinence pad (that people use for bedwetting) there. Then, each day, move the box or pad a little closer to the area that is acceptable for her to go.

If she only does it at night you can keep her in a room such as the bathroom at night time, with her own litter box.

You may want to look into a product called feliway. This is like a plug-in that diffuses a feline pheromone that makes cats feel good. It has been shown to reduce stress in multi cat households. It is usually stress that causes this type of problem.

Is it at all possible to let her outside? Some cats will have this type of behavior because of boredom.

You can also talk to your vet about a medication called amitriptylline which helps to reduce anxiety levels in cats.

I hope this helps!

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. AskAVetQuestion.com 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.

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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.