Stressed out cat - Separation anxiety

edited 5 January, 2011 in Behavior & Training
After two trips to the vet and a clean bill of health we're thinking we have a stressed out 9 month old cat. He is a very loving boy, always following you around, purring loudly, and laying on your lap. He appears to be middening ever since we left him alone for 12+ hours on Thanksgiving. It was the longest he's been alone since we got him 2 months ago. We're trying to re-litter box train him, but its only semi working. He's still not using it every time. Someone has been home with him almost constantly since then (one of us is between jobs at the moment), but he just keeps going in high traffic areas and not his box. I'm thinking about trying Feliway, but wasn't sure if it would help or make the situation worse. Has anyone had this problem and what worked for you? Vet suggested meds soon if it didn't stop... but that's the last thing we want to do.
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Comments

  • Debra PietrowskiDebra Pietrowski Sussex CountyMember Posts: 1,833
    edited 16 December, 2010
    Say NO to meds !
  • Rebecca Mac IsaacRebecca Mac Isaac CalgaryMember Posts: 15
    edited 16 December, 2010
    Try the Feliway, it works on some cats and not on others, it\'s better then the meds
  • janice lancasterjanice lancaster temple gaMember Posts: 2,505
    edited 16 December, 2010
    I say put him in a little room with paper on the floor and a box with Dr Elsey's Cat Attract, and use the tips in the brochure in the litter box...IF you are sure this is not a health issue, or hating the spot his box is in, or the box itself, or the litter. (You want a really big box, most kitties do NOT like a cover, and never use scented litter) Anytime you aren't up to watching him like a hawk,he goes in the little room. If he's out, and starts smelling around on the floor, put him in the 'cat jail' until he does something. If you could stay in there and brush and love on him until he looks ready to "go" then put him in the box when he is about to squat, even better. Mostly, you have to get the messed on areas super clean, AND determine why he is using them, so you can try to get rid of the cause. otherwise this will happen over and over.
  • edited 17 December, 2010
    He is in a room - the kitchen. We use Pine litter because that he was he was raised on and was confused by everything else. He seems to like the box we have for him. (no lid, its the box made for feline pine.) When he's out, he'll just go. There is no way to tell that he's about to. Sometimes he'll squat, other times he's mid play (all excited) and just goes. Its really hard to predict when so we're going to try to keep him in the room for a few days straight. Even if he's squatting and we put him in the box he will fight until we let him go! He'll then hold it and go on the floor. When he was calm about 2 days ago he went in his box no problem. I was standing there cooking at the stove and I heard him behind me. Sadly, it hasn't happened since. This morning he actually pooped right in front of HIS OWN FOOD just minutes after I left the room to get ready for work. The only other place we can try to put him is in the back bathroom - its tiny and I'm not sure there is even room for his box, food, and bed. Should we try this? I'm going to order the Feliway this morning.
  • edited 17 December, 2010
    Got home to find he peed all over his bed. :( No one was home today.
  • Keri LewisKeri Lewis Member Posts: 113
    edited 17 December, 2010
    Hi, I am so sorry you're going through this with your kitty...I speak from experience. Our Pickles was urinating after being stressed too. She is very high anxiety we've determined. I know meds is not recommended by many on here, but Prozac saved our girl. She would pee when she would see another cat outside. We tried it all, new litter, box, Feliway, moving the litter location you name it. The Prozac worked instantly. It doesn't even seem to alter her personality. It depends on weight, but she gets half of a 10 mg pill. I get the generic from Target for 4 bucks and it lasts 2 months- well worth it if you ask me. We use a pill stick to give it to ehr each moring and wa lah!! I say ask your vet, it could be your golden ticket! Let me know how it works out for you and your kitty. |:|
  • janice lancasterjanice lancaster temple gaMember Posts: 2,505
    edited 17 December, 2010
    Ducky, I think I would try the little bathroom--and just take a deep breath and make him go with no bed for a few days --not as punishment, but because he is just going to P on it anyway. Has he EVER used the box well? It doesn't really matter what he was raised on either, kitties can decide to not like litters and i think trying a regular kind might be worth checking. This has got tobe curable somehow!
  • Beastie_and_the_BoysBeastie_and_the_Boys Marquette, MI / ChicagoMember Posts: 17,806 ✭✭✭
    edited 17 December, 2010
    I have to agree with Pickles that, while some don't like the idea of giving medicine for this problem, in some cases it turns out to be a godsend. BooBoo made a very good point earlier about positive reinforcement. Sometimes kitties start avoiding the litter box because they associate it with something unpleasant (pain, etc.), and need to be reconditioned to associate the box with good feelings (petting, praise, etc.). We went through that with Arthur when he was sick, and he eventually went back to using the box like the good boy he really was. Good luck, Ducky! Keep us posted! |:|
  • edited 18 December, 2010
    Yeah, he used to use it just fine. It started happening one day after we got home. He was all excited and playing around and just went on the floor. It hasn\'t stopped since. We have had him using 3 different types of litter. First a clay... until we saw he licking at the fresh litter I put in the box. Switched to wheat and he did the same. I ended up contacting his foster who said she had never seen him try and eat the pine, so we switched to that. He used it fine for about 2 weeks.
  • edited 18 December, 2010
    Update: So we decided last night to let him out, keep very calm, and try and make him feel comfortable. He asked great all night and slept till 5:30 am (usually up around 3). All was fine and dandy until his dad got out of the shower. Within minutes of him emerging from the bathroom the cat pooped on the floor in the hallway. He does the same thing to me most mornings. I wonder if he's associating the sound of the shower with us leaving. His dad typically doesn't shower until he's about to leave - maybe I can cure two bad habits at once? hahaha :)
  • Stephanie JohnsonStephanie Johnson Member Posts: 556
    edited 18 December, 2010
    Gosh, it sounds like something with the box itself if he will jump OUT of the box to pee next to it. I\'d give some other litters a try (in addition to his current box, don\'t just completely change it on him, that may stress him out too). Put a few boxes throughout the house so he\'s always got a place to go. Also, I know there are strong believers both ways on meds, but for Isabelle, they worked (after months and months of stressed cat and owner, hundreds of dollars, frustration, etc). She was on amitriptyline (and anti-anxiety med) and worked wonders. She has been off it for years now and has never had another episode of peeing due to stress. So keep that in mind if the other suggestions don\'t work, please just don\'t give up on him all together! Good luck with your little guy!
  • melissa muttermelissa mutter West ChesterMember Posts: 10,189
    edited 19 December, 2010
    I would really suggest the Dr Elsley's litter as mentioned previously. If you really don't want to use their litter you can buy their additive which you can add to whatever litter you choose. I would also try the Feliway diffuser and a Nurture Calm 24/7 collar. Hope everything works out for you.
  • ALLEYCATANGELALLEYCATANGEL Member Posts: 536 ✭✭
    edited 20 December, 2010
    We are dealing with a little of the same problem. Little Boy gets really upset if he even THINKS there might be a kitty outside our home! he is is KING of the home and he will spray or sqirt the drapes or curtains. We have taken down all the drapes and replaced them with washable curtains, MOL we re making our life work around his problem. I have read that they needs LOTS of TLC during this time, there is a fine line, we must not praise him for what he is doing but we are told not to punish him and to give him lots of love and kind words be sure to praise him when he does use the box. I was considering meds for him but my hubby does not like that either (he is not cleaing the drapes MOL. I have given him rescue rememdy in his water and on the top of his mouth (he hates that) and I also read that it helps to put it on the top of his head and behind his ears. The incidents are a LOT less often now I am not sure if he believes the outdoor cats or gone or if what we are doing is working. We got the rescue remedy from the vet but I think you can order it and other products like it on line you might want to give it a try.
  • edited 21 December, 2010
    Update: Feliway in for almost 24 hours. No change. Pooped on floor in front of dad. Pooped in his bed last night. Peed in his toy. Attempting to litter box train only ended with his not pooping, peeing, or eating for 8+ hours straight. He refused to do anything until he was let out. Even gave him 2 boxes with 2 different types of litter. Got him a cat tree last night because I read it helps some cats. He seems scared to climb it by himself. I'm scared he'll poop/pee on it. I just wish I could figure this out.
  • Stephanie JohnsonStephanie Johnson Member Posts: 556
    edited 22 December, 2010
    Oh Ducky. You are a tough nut to crack, aren\'t you? :-/ I\'m kind of at a loss here. Is he going on a specific surface (like carpet, a rug, etc)? Can you mimic that surface in the litter box for the time-being? If he always goes on a certain rug, put the whole darn rug in the box until he is at least consistently using it. The Feliway might take a bit to start working. Did you get the plug in kind? You need one every 400sq ft, I think, so might need a couple to get the whole house. Are there any other pets in the house? Does he act scared around a certain person in the house (perhaps making him nervous)? Is he ever calm? I mean that seriously. If he IS calm in certain areas or times, figure out what is going on at that exact moment and mimic it as best you can. Do you have a strict schedule? If not, try to create one so he has reassurance that he will always eat at X time, always play at X, etc. Keep us posted!
  • edited 22 December, 2010
    He's going on the carpet, usually nearby us - or where he saw us last. This morning it was in the hallway by the bathroom door. I'm not sure if I explained this before - but he's not even attempting it cover it like normal. I would understand if there was another pet and he was trying to show dominance... but he's the only one. We haven't even had a visitor over since this started. Got the plug in kind and shut the doors to the rest of the apartment. The area he's in is about 500 sq ft. He's a laid back little guy - not really high strung or nervous. Its more that he's super attached to us. Ever since he was left alone that one day for ~12 hours he's done this. Whenever he's alone for over 8 hours he'll pee on something too. I'm not looking forward to Christmas - we will be gone the majority of the day! He is on a schedule for feeding. 6am and 5 pm. I started this past weekend getting up at 6 too - just to see if it would help. We mapped out the areas he's gone in. The majority of the time has been in the hallway that leads from the front door to the back bedroom. Most open area of the apartment. Kinda like a "hey, everyone can see what I did if I go here!"
  • Stephanie JohnsonStephanie Johnson Member Posts: 556
    edited 23 December, 2010
    Ducky, could you go back to the vet for some behavioral modification advice? My vet will do this over the phone so you don\'t have to drag him back in and pay an other fee. You *might* want to open up to the idea of medication, just see what the vet has to say (no pressure, just saying listen and then make up your own mind). Also, do you think a companion would help, perhaps a young cat about the same age? :?
  • edited 24 December, 2010
    Update: Now he's not eating much. Maybe 1/4 of what he was eating before I plugged in the Feliway. He has seemed a lot more mellow, but still not pooping in box. Hardly even going since he's hardly eating. I will be calling the vet on Monday. :(
  • ALLEYCATANGELALLEYCATANGEL Member Posts: 536 ✭✭
    edited 25 December, 2010
    Oh no sorry to hear about his eating that can't be a good sign. I would get several different cans of food and maybe try to see if he will eat more until you can get in to see the vet on Monday. I am concerned that they may have "missed" something when they gave ducky a clean bill of health. Like you said it is like ducky wants everyone to see what is going on and I have heard sometimes kitties do that when going to the rest room is painful or irriting to them. If he still isn't eating there are some baby foods you can try and feed him but you might want to ask (in the food topic) about what kinds are ok to feed kitties. I am not sure all of them are ok for kitties. I know it is not good for them to go without eating for 24 hrs, so be sure and he eats something.
  • janice lancasterjanice lancaster temple gaMember Posts: 2,505
    edited 25 December, 2010
    I'm sorry to hear he's not doing better. Have you tried getting a box that looks and smells totally different, even a different color (darker or lighter by a lot)and size--heck, use an under the bed storage or something if you don't want to try an actual litter box. I'd try this, at least and I still recomend getting a bag of Dr Elseys if only for the training bookelet in the bag.
  • ALLEYCATANGELALLEYCATANGEL Member Posts: 536 ✭✭
    edited 26 December, 2010
    Hoping ducky is eating better and using his box. Please let us know.
  • edited 27 December, 2010
    Update: The Feliway is working... kinda. We've noticed he's more "normal" and doesn't mark us like mad when we come back home. He also hasn't peed on anything while we were out/just returned (he did this 3 times in the last month when we were gone for 8+ hours). He has also stopped licking things. (I figured he was doing it to calm himself, I guess I was right.) Sadly, he has also stopped rolling on his back and showing us his stomach - which we loved cause it was too cute. He still is not pooping in his box. I called the vet this morning to let her know. He goes in on Wednesday morning for initial bloodwork before she starts him on Buspar. We're not happy about this - but from what I've read - it may only be a few weeks. Maybe he'll be willing to use the pill pockets this time.... Has anyone used this medication before?
  • Stephanie JohnsonStephanie Johnson Member Posts: 556
    edited 27 December, 2010
    Oh Ducky ;c; ~a~ Small steps are good!! I'm glad you're going to the vet for some more tests, just in case. I haven't used Buspar, but I believe most meds are supposed to be short-term and once Ducky is back to using his box normally, hopefully you can wean him off soon. Good luck Wednesday! =;
  • edited 30 December, 2010
    Update: So the vet just drew blood and handed him back, didn't even get to talk to her. They will be getting the results today and then mailing me the prescription. I'm hoping I get a call today too. (I didn't bring him to the vet.) Woke up this morning to find he pooped in his bed. Not happy. I had just washed the thing! :( I probably wouldn't have even noticed if he wasn't following me around "meowing." I'm certain he laid in the bed after too (he pushed the poop into the sewn corner)! I thought cats were supposed to be clean animals....
  • janice lancasterjanice lancaster temple gaMember Posts: 2,505
    edited 30 December, 2010
    I think you might need to ask another vet if that one doesn't even have time to talk about it--also, is your vet maily a doggie one? Because many mostly-dog vets just are not that well versed on kitty behavior issues. I still think you might try to find out if something might be hurting his behind when he poops-until meowma figured out what was wrong with me I poopied all over. Now I never mess up.
  • edited 31 December, 2010
    The vet does both cats and dogs. She's a "cat person" though - and has a few herself. The closet cat only vet is over 30 minutes away and is just too far (esp since work is 15 min in the opp direction). I did a lot of research before choosing this vet, plus they came highly recommended by 2 friends (one with a cat and the other a dog). *big sigh* I don't think he's in pain when he goes, even though that was my initial thought. He was checked out and doesn't cry or anything when he goes. If everything is normal and calm he'll use the box. I've noticed over the last few days that he's separating himself from us a bit too. He used to prefer a lap over his bed on the couch, but now he'll go straight to the bed to sit/lay down (sometimes jumping onto us and then walking over).
  • edited 31 December, 2010
    If I use the litter attractant, can I still use pine litter? I was going to stop at PetSmart after work for one last effort but then I read its supposed to be used with clay litter. I can't use clay, he eats it! (whole other story there.... haha) I tried a puppy pad in the base of the pine litter box, but it didn't seem to have any effect. (We used them to re-train him after he had issues with bacteria in his urine and going outside the box. They worked wonderful then. They are also scented to attract.)
  • janice lancasterjanice lancaster temple gaMember Posts: 2,505
    edited 31 December, 2010
    They do sell the litter attractant alone, to be used with any type of litter. If you don't have it at your local store, you could probably order it from Petsmart.I'm sorry you are having such trouble, I know it's frustrationg.
  • edited 31 December, 2010
    Oy! I unplugged the Feliway when I got home from work today because I just don't like the way he's been acting since I got it (almost like there's another cat - always looking around him and seeming fearful). I also took off his collar cause the bell was kinda annoying me. We went out to dinner, gone 3 hours max. Came home to find tuffs on fur on his tree and in the hall. He's going at his neck again! My poor boy. :( The collar is back on. I went out and got the litter additive too, but now I'm going to wait until we start him on the meds. :((
  • edited 4 January, 2011
    Vet Update: Finally got the results from the blood work. Turns out that he has 2 liver enzymes that are low and he is now on a 30 day treatment of Denosyl. She said this may just be the cause of all our problems. We shall see....
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