I have adopted a stray adult female cat. She is about 4 years old,..we suspect. She is in good health with the exception of using the cat-box. She will urinate in the box, but will not poop in the box. She approximates the box within about 3 feet, but NEVER poops in the litter box. Is this psychological? Might she be allergic to the litter? Could she have a rectal allergy to the litter? Please tell me that we can correct this behavior. I am a psychologist, so I have some understanding of operant conditioning. What can I do?
Please use an open litter box.
Have her anal glands checked, and make sure that her stool is of normal consistency. Hard stool can be painful coming out and can cause defecating abnormalities.
Try using different kinds of litter.
Have her empirically treated for GI parasites using Drontal Plus Feline.
Place your cat on Cosequin for cats.
If all of the above has been performed and she is still defecating inappropriately after approximately 10 days than, try a Feliway Infuser. Feliway infuser's give cats a feeling of well being and is effective for a variety of different behavior problems.
If the infuser is not effective, than you will have to try behavioral modification. That includes following her to the litter box and placing her backside in the litter box when she is in the process of defecating. You could also place the litter box. If she jumps out, place her in again. Consistency is very important. Or you could wait for her to defecate inappropriately and squirt her with water from a squirt bottle. Eventually she will get the idea. There are many other deterrents that you can use such as shaking pennies in a can, or using an air horn. Try these first and if they prove ineffective please post again.
This is a behavior problem - not a medical one - so START here. Adopted stray cats may not be used to using a litter box, so you have to make the litter box environment just right - quiet, in a safe out of the way place etc. (also an adopted cat will have already been dewormed by the shelter. also anal gland problems in cats are rare).
Sounds like she is urinating in the box - that's a big help. Pick up the stool and place it in the box, leaving several in the box (not many more) so she get's the idea that's where its supposed to go. it is impractical to follow your cat around and catch her mid-poop then run her to the box. this will only make her afraid of you and stop the defecation. Cat's elimination behavior is highly private and most will not want you around, much less holding their butt in place. you have to re-direct the behavior.
A) clean up all spots where she has defecated before with an enzyme odor remover like OUT, Simple Solution, Nature's Miracle. use by label directions. if practical block those areas so she can't go back there again.
B) use several litter boxes (rule: 1 per cat per level of house)
C) try different cat litters,and don't use those with odors - plain is best. keep them clean but not pristine.
D) never physically reprimand the cat as this typically makes the problem worse. Only use loud sound (or squirt of water) and only if you actually catch her in the act.
pick up a good book on feline behavior and read other methods of litter box training and behavior mod. This should get you on the right track immediately.
Cosequin - a glucosamine chondrotin sulfate supplement for joint health - for defecating out of the box.........huh.........
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