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Cat Training and Behavior (Domestic and Feral)/My cat sometimes poops outside her litter box

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Question
My 4.5 year old rescue cat is pooping outside her litter box average of 3 times a week.  I keep her liter box ,and always have, kept it under my bathroom sink with a lace cloth around the sink.  I have used the same litter for 3 years, but gradually switched her food to a less fatty food in March, I also started giving her 1 tbsp of wet food in the morning.  She started not using her litter box occasionally shortly after I switched her food.  The reason I switched her food is because she doesn't digest fat, or so her vet says.  She has seen a new vet since she started this litter box thing and they found that she had an impacted bowel, which they gently squeezed, she was slightly dehydrated and was developing an infection in her gums, all of which has been treated.  I threw out her plastic dishes and now she only uses metal ones.  I've tried washing her soiled areas with bleach, then I made a paste with water and baking soda.  I put some cat attract in her litter, even bought her a second litter box.  Nothing has helped.  I don't know what to do.  I really hope that you, or someone else from the all expert team can help.  I got the other advice, which I gave you, from the resc ue group from where I got her.  I even went to Jackson Gallexcy's website, but that's for Americans only.  If you don't have any suggestions, is there a site like Jackson Gallery's in Canada?

Answer
Hi, Jinene.  While you are doing what is typical would recommend and pooping outside the litter box, there is one medical issue that could also cause this, and that's anal glands. And since you mentioned it happened after you started switching food, could be a possibility.  Anal glands will fill on the inside and if not expressed as they defecate and start to become an issue. Your cat could be associating this discomfort with the litter box, hence not wanting to use. I'd advise you to make a visit with to rule out that. Please keep in touch.

Cat Training and Behavior (Domestic and Feral)

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Melissa Burg, RVT/Behavior Consultant

Expertise

I have experience dealing with different cat behavior signs, including separation anxiety, possible aggression and the difference between fear aggression and actual aggression, this would include possible feral cats. I also am familiar with the several different approaches to introducing a new cat to the environment as well as how each cat or cat and dog and live comfortable and dealing with litter box issues and help you decide if the problem is medical or behavioral.

Experience

My experience began with my own cats and escalated while working with area animal shelters for the past 10 years. I was able to watch and learn how the cats would react to different stimulus and each other. My experience grew during college and became able to distinguish between medical and behavior issues.

Publications
"Pawfect Pets," a weekly column in my local newspaper with pet health and behavior and training tips.

Education/Credentials
I graduated with an Associate's in Veterinary Technology in 2009 and became RVT in the state of Iowa in 2012 with a focus on Behavior.

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