Cat using dog ped - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Cat using dog ped

I have recently moved into my parents house after my divorce and I brought with me my 2 cats. Both I adopted from either a Humane Society or a rescue. One is female and about a year old, the other is an adult male, age unknown. Sage is the female and Gandhi is the male.

Neither has had any problems with using the litter box.

My parents have a male and a female cat as well. We introduced the two parties slowly and they got along great.

One day, Gandhi started spraying things out of the blue. It was infront of my dad. He went after Gandhi and Gandhi scooted and tried to spray again. Dad went after him and Gandhi scooted away and tried to spray again. We put him in the garage and I took him to the vets the next day.

Vet put him on antibiotics for a UTI. He was kept in the garage for a week then slowly let back into the house. He seemed to be just fine after that.

That happened at the end of June. Last night I went downstairs and noticed the dog bed was smelling...and bad. It was cat urine. I washed the cushion and the bed and found that behind the cushion, on the carpet, smelled as well. I scrubbed it three times to get the smell and stain up with that checmical cat urine stain buster we have (we have 3 products). I treated the dog bed with it as well after it was cleaned and put it back.

Last night, around 1am I went downstairs and found the dogbed was disrupted, and the dog wasn't inside. I looked closer and someone had peed in there. I doused it in that stain remover and let it sit. This morning I discovered poop in there!

It wasn't solid cat poop. It was more runny.

I picked Gandhi up and put him in the garage as a precaution and told my dad about what I found. I'm washing the cushion again and Gandhi is hanging out in the garage with his own cat litter box. If it's Gandhi, the problem should stop in the cat bed. If it isn't, it'll continue because the 3 other cats are still inside.

The cats have 2 litter boxes in the basement (low traffic area) that are cleaned at least twice a day. My stepmother cleans them in the morning, I clean in the afternoon.

I'm HOPING it isn't Gandhi again. Though we just caught him spraying 2 months ago, which was very unlike him. We took him to the vets and got him on antibiotics and everything went back to normal. He sprayed, but he wasn't NOT using the litter box. The stuff I found yesterday was a full urine passing and then there was the poop. So someone isn't using the litterbox at all.

The only other cat I have suspicians about is my stepmother's cat who hasn't been eating as much as she used to. She's overweight and should be dropping some with how much she isn't eating, but she's still fat.

Gandhi doesn't appear to be ill. He's active and playful.

Is there a way this couldn't be him again? I'm really worried about his future if it is. My parents don't tolerate an animal that soils in the house and I'm not yet on my feet enough to move out. If its him, I'm guessing we are going to the vets again to try and fix the problem once more.

What would cause a cat to use the dogbed as the litterbox if they have 2 litter boxes that are cleaned twice a day? Can it be a mental issue or would it be medical?

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music

Last edited by Copperhead; 09-14-2012 at 12:26 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 01:33 PM
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General rule is to have one more litter box than you have cats.

Bringing cats into other cats' territory can be tricky business. In many cases it just doesn't work out.

Here is FANTASTIC info about getting a cat to use the litter box: The Litter Box From Your Cat's Point of View by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM :: Litter box management, types of cat litter, feline house soiling, inappropriate elimination (the whole site is really great, I highly recommend reading all of it!)

When a male cat suddenly stops using the litter box, it is cause for alarm. They are very prone to urinary issues, including crystals and blockages. I would take him back in to the vet so they can test his urine for bacteria and crystals/ph. Does he get primarily dry food?
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 01:41 PM
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Copperhead, here's some random thoughts (I'm a multiple cat owner so this is the voice of experience speaking):

Re Ghandi spraying: There is a tendency for older male cats (even neutered) to start marking their territory or spraying in new situations (ie stress related). This may pass for him. If it doesn't, all is not lost. I had a die hard sprayer years ago and I had the vet give him a female hormone injection. This was done once and was sufficient to break the cycle; after that, once in a long while, he would have a rare insignificant incident. The person who told me about this solution, by the way, used to have her sprayer injected on a regular basis to curtail his activity.

Re litter boxes: I have boxes upstairs and downstairs in four locations to give the cats as much choice as possible. I have read that some experts recommend one litter box for each cat (wouldn`t work for me as I don`t have enough room). I notice that the older less active cats have preference for the easy to get to boxes. Cats are quite particular about their toilet activities so it may help if just one more box could be added in your situation.

Re overweight cat: If she is the one doing the deed, I`m thinking one of two things - either she is making a political statement about the new house guests or she is having some medical problems like bladder stones, arthritis, metabolic issues, etc. And we all know what that means - vet time.

I sincerely wish the best of luck in solving the mystery.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 02:09 PM
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I have 3 cats, but only have space enough for 2 litter boxes-BUT I clean 3-6x a day & they are all very good about using their boxes. 2 are female & the youngest is a male-all are fixed. But they sure shed! I hope you figure out which cat(s) are having the problem & that it is fixable. We have had the youngest cat for over a year already & the older girls still give him grief, they would prefer him gone!
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 02:33 PM
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It could still be him. Since it happened before and it was medical I'm inclined to say it is medically related again. Take him back to the vet and have his urine tested - he may need to stay a while if he's a shy pee-er. He may have "crystals" in his pee that require him to be on a special diet. Went through something similar with my cat.

And yes... Litterboxes = number of cats at least, +1 is ideal. Even though you're cleaning them often, the scents other cats leave behind linger.
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses, guys. It makes me feel better.

We moved in at the beginning of June, and my cats stayed in the basement for about 3 weeks solidly before being slowly let up out of the basement to explore and meet the other cats with supervision. When no one could supervise them, they went back downstairs. Finally, everyone seemed happy enough with eachother that we could allow the basement cats up into the house.

Gandhi used to be completely feral in his younger years and was captured by a rescue who spays and neuters ferals and attempts to tame them. The untamables go back out into a cat colony (unable to make babies but are fed and captured and vetted if they become ill or injured) and the tamables go to homes. I've had him for 3 years now with no issues. I can't even begin to guess his age.

The vet mentioned crystals so we put him on antibiotics to help him out. He said that if the problem persists, we will have to do a couple other things to get him back to normal, including sticking him with a huge needle to collect urine since cats don't want to pee with an audience. I went for the antibiotics and they seemed to work.

I'm kind of hoping that one of the other cats is peeing in the dog bed. It would mean Gandhi is healthy (we are extremely bonded) and it would clear his name. BUT on the flip side, it would mean more trouble and heartache in finding who IS doing it.

We have two other unused litter boxes. One is currently out in the garage with Gandhi and the other one doesn't have anything in it. I'll fill it and put it in another spot and see if that helps any.

If no one uses the dogbed while Gandhi is outside, he'll be back at the vets on Monday. I'm not sure if he's spraying anymore...I have cleaned up all the areas he had sprayed before his first vet visit, and there are no more new stains or smells in those areas. I check about once a week on the furnature and walls to make sure theres no marks and I haven't found any. If I have to take him into the vets, I'll ask about that female hormone injection just as a precaution.

My cats used to be on Solid Gold while I had them. No wet food. Sage was on wet food for the first month I had her because she was very thin. Now that we are at my parent's house, they eat a can of wetfood every morning and night and have dry food as an option during the day (my stepmother spoils them).

If he has crystals, I hear theres a diet I can start him on to help out with that problem, since theres no cure.

Anyways, heres a photo of Sage and Gandhi...because all threads are pointless without at least one photo :)

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 03:33 PM
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Your vet put him on antibiotics without testing his urine?!?

Wow. I'd be going to a different vet. Whenever I take my cats in with potential urine issues they get that dang sample even if they have to wait all day for it. Crystals are NOT something to mess with. My Ace has blocked twice and Bogey has blocked once. It is a life threatening emergency and is extremely painful/uncomfortable for the cat. Crystals can cause a partial blockage and the cat might still be able to urinate, but it is still painful. They associate that pain with using the litterbox and tend to try to find soft places to go (beds, couches, rugs, etc.).

Just a note: Dry cat food is not an appropriate diet for cats. It essentially puts cats in a state of dehydration and can cause blockages. Cats that are prone to crystals do NOT necessarily need to be on a special diet. They just need to be fed a species appropriate diet: either raw or canned. My cats get canned (occasionally raw) with water added. Cats do not generally drink a lot of water so adding water to their food is really helpful. Also, using a fountain for their water can encourage them to drink more.

I found this all out the hard way. My cats are prone to crystals and if I reintroduce dry food, they start having issues. As long as they're fed a good wet food and/or raw, they are perfectly fine. I feed Evo 95% turkey & chicken.

ETA: Your kitties are adorable, btw!
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Last edited by nikelodeon79; 09-14-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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I think he put him on antibiotics as a precaution since testing his urine would have uncluded poking him with a needle, and he wasn't to thrilled about doing that since he's concerned about penetrating the bladder and having it leak. So hoping that it wasn't a mental issue, he put Gandhi on antibiotics and he seemed to clear up rather well.

There is another vet that my sister uses. Its a bit out of the way but not so much that its a deal breaker. If I have to take him again, I'll think about getting a second opinion with the other vet instead of going back to the first.

How did your cats act when they became blocked? Did they skip the litterbox and try other places? I read a typical spot for them to use is a sink or a bath tub, but he hasn't used any of those.

They are currently on a Friskies wetfood diet, which is my stepmother's choice. If he is diagnosed with crystals, I will switch him over to what you use to help ease things. Thanks for all the information. It makes me feel a bit better about whats going on. Do you have any other knowledge on crystals that have come from personal experience? I can google it all day but nothing helps like personal advice. My first thought when he was spraying in the house was crystals. Again, the antibiotics seemed to help but if he's having problems again, we have to address things a bit differently.

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 04:32 PM
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Ace was the first to block. He started using places outside the litter box first: the couch, the dogs' beds, our beds, rugs, the tub, the sink, etc.

We think he was in the UTI phase then, and we missed it, thinking he was just being naughty. :(

When he totally blocked, he would meow, strain to urinate (usually in a pile of laundry), and then meow again and lick his genitals. We took him to the emergency vet and $1200 and three days later, we had him back.

He was okay for awhile but then I got lazy and started doing dry food for one meal. He blocked again, and this time we didn't catch it right away so he was actually defecating because he was straining so hard to urinate. Poor baby! We wised up and drove an hour to the country vet, and it only cost us $250 this time.

Again, I got lazy (my vet told me they didn't think the dry food was causing the issues, but I should've known better) and started feeding dry again. Just one meal a day, in the morning.

This time, Bogey blocked. He is much less dramatic than Ace and I caught it very early. He was still able to dribble urine, but I could tell by his slightly abnormal behavior that he'd blocked. If you know what to feel for, you can also feel when their bladder is full. What you do is take both hands, one on each side of the back of the tummy, and gently palpate. It will feel like a mass slightly larger than a golf ball, slightly firm. I make it a point to know what my cat's feel like when they're "normal" and what they feel like when they're blocked. It can be tricky... when I brought Bogey in the vet tech felt and didn't think he was blocked, but then the vet came in and confirmed it and took him in for the procedure.

Basically, what they do is sedate the cat, take a syringe and draw out urine (a precaution so the bladder doesn't burst before they can empty it) and then take a tiny wire catheter and insert it into the cat's penis. The catheter stays in for a few days, then it is removed and they monitor the cat to make sure he can urinate on his own.

Since Bogey blocked, my cats get nothing but wet food or raw, with water added, plus a kitty drinking fountain. Both of my cats are doing FANTASTIC and also losing weight (Bogey was 18.4 lbs, he's down to 14 lbs). There was NO WAY they were going to lose weight on that carbohydrate loaded Hills c/d, and my vet told me as much. He said if they were his cats, he'd consider putting them on a low carb high protein food. I did my research (mostly on that site I linked earlier) and chose Evo 95%. The cats LOVE it and are doing fantastic. An added bonus: they have much smaller poops and shed a lot less.

It's actually not all that pricey, either. You feed a lot less than crappy canned foods. I buy the large cans by the case. I think it's something like $21.95 for a case and you actually get MORE product than a case of the small (5.5 oz) cans.
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 04:34 PM
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Oh, another tip:

Pay close attention when you clean the litter boxes. Use a clumping (nonscented, some cats start to develop aversions to scent!) litter so you can see the size of the urine balls. If you start seeing smaller urine spots, definitely start paying attention and try to catch the cats "in the act" of urinating so you can see who's putting out less than normal. Partially blocked kitties aren't able to totally empty their bladders, leading to less urine output.
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