What can be done with an older cat, previously litter trained, that stops using the litter box?
Do cats get senile and forget where the litter box is? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get her to stop urinating on the carpet and various other places?
I've heard that cats that start urinating outside of the litter box usually do so because of a urinary tract infection. You would need to get the cat checked by a vet and administer the proper medication (antibiotic). It's quite common.
Born Again 05 is correct.
If you haven't changed anything regarding your cat's litter box such as the type of litter, the location and privacy, it is time to consider a medical issue.
Your older cat needs to be thoroughly checked by a veterinarian to be sure there is no pathological cause of this inappropriate elimination.
If, after your kitty is cleared by the doctor, you might want to reevaluate the box. Can he/she get into it easily? Is the litter comfortable for his or her paws? Is the box in a quiet location? Has anything else in your household changed?
Cats are creatures of habit. Any change to kitty's routine could cause her to not use her box.
Don't underestimate the importance of psychological factors. Stressful situations can make a cat feel the need to start marking everything as her territory.
If your vet can't find a medical reason for the behavior, it's likely a response to stress. Try to identify the source of the stress and see if you can't make your kitty feel more comfortable.
Cats like a very tidy litter box it's best if you have an automatic one. Check it at least twice daily morning and night. Use a deodorizer. You didn't give her age, or mention if there are other cats. Unless she is very old like 18 on up I don't think that senility is an issue. We have two cats 15 & 16 and this is seldom an issue. We have a 5 year old male who some times goes on "potty patrol" and keeps the other cats from using the litter box! Also some times cats show their displeasure if you leave them alone longer than what they have come a custom to. Use Resolve and Odoban to clean the urine. If she is the only cat, retrain her by locking her in the bathroom with the litter box at night. Two or three nights should do the trick!
As a cat ages, it may develop health issues that aren't immediately apparent. Older felines sometimes begin to experience seizures that cause them to lose bowel and/or bladder control. Unless the seizures are pronounced, an owner won't realize that the cat is seizing and might incorrectly assume that the issue is with the litter box. If your cat begins to relieve itself in unacceptable places or attempts to get to the litter box but doesn't make it in time, pay attention to your feline's mannerisms to be certain that seizures aren't an issue. A seizure can be as subtle as a glassy eyed look or 'freezing' in motion. Seizures can manifest as unusual behavior such as sitting up on the hind legs with the front paws raised in a bunny posture. A seizing cat might sway slightly while standing. If you suspect seizures could be the cause of litter box problems, a visit to the vet is in order.
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