Litter Box Problems With My Cat

Cat litter box– Q – I have had Musette for five years, and during that time traveled considerably with my job. Musette and I moved to Virginia in June 2002.  I do not travel as much, but must go hom to check on my Mother periodically in North Carolina.  Now when I travel, even though she has a pet sitter, she has started pooping on the rug once a day instead of the litter box (still pees in the litter box).

Since my last weekend trip, she has started pooping on the rug once a day even when I am home (usually at night when I am asleep).

Her litter is cleaned every day; she gets plenty of food and drinks plenty of water; she get s a great deal of play time. I need some advice on how to stop this new bad habit, or some advice as to why she is doing this.  If it was just when I am out of town, I would say it is because she does not like to be left alone at night; but now that it is happening when I am in the house, I am at a loss.Please help me to help her — she is a very sweet, very playful cat.
Paula J. Garber, Sterling, Virginia

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How to Stop My Cat Chewing

– Q – My husband and I adopted a cat from a local shelter 8 months ago. For 8 months we have been trying to curb his bad behavior of chewing on cardboard boxes. He has ruined many in our basement. We have no other room in the house for the litter box, other than the basement, so we cannot keep him out of there. What can we do to stop this behavior? We have tried all of the traditional means we can think of, and my husband is really losing patience with him!

– A –  You might try spraying the boxes with a hot pepper spray or a cheap cologne/perfume. It will only take a few tastes for him to associate cardboard with a bad experience. I would also look at the food you are feeding; is it a quality food or a bargain brand? He may not be getting the supplements he needs if the food is loaded with fillers such as ground corn rather than meat, vitamins, etc. There are also cat toys with leather laces you could provide to steer his chewing toward a more acceptable manner. All else failing, I would have your Vet take a look at him for his recommendations.

Why Does My Cat Lick?

– Q – I adopted a domestic shorthair kitten about a year ago that had been abandoned near my sister’s house. She’s now a healthy, happy adult neutered cat, with a bit of a weight problem. We recently changed her diet to Science Diet Feline Maintenance Light, and she’s slimming down nicely already.

The problem that we’re having is that in the past two months, she has started licking things around the house. Her favorite targets seem to be a fossilized clamshell, a flowerpot coated with some sort of pebbly clay-like coating, and a ceramic tile. She will sit and lick them for several minutes at a time, and if I take them away, she tries to get back at them. Does this sound like OCD, or could she have a vitamin deficiency? Or is it something else entirely? Thank you, Janie

Janie V, Mobile, Alabama, USA

– A – Janie, My guess would be her diet. A Light blend is usually for older pets with different nutritional requirements than a growing young adult. My suggestion would be to consult with your Vet about the diet and start feeding her a blend more suited to her needs.

As for the weight, may I suggest getting a laser pointer? They project a red dot and cats love to chase the dot as you move it around the room.

Not only will this provide exercise for the cat but will reward you with some amusing quality time with her as you enjoy watching her acrobatics in pursuing this elusive “prey.” Our cats love this toy and come running as soon as they hear me pick it up (it’s on a key ring that jingles). Pete

Cat Wees in the House

– Q – My cat pees everywhere and on everything! He’s been doing it years now. I thought he would break out of it eventually, but he continues to do it. He pees on my clothes, my school papers, and now he’s peed on my records and I’m fed up. I seriously thought about throwing him out and leaving him to fend for himself. I am at my wit’s end! I’ve tried physically reprimanding him, I’ve tried isolating him, I’ve tried everything! Now I am just trying to keep from seriously hurting him; what do I do?

Karl, Toledo, OH

– A – Is he a whole male or has he been neutered? It sounds more like marking than normal peeing. Have you tried caging him with food, water and a litter box as a retraining method? If he is whole, you might try neutering which helps most of the time. You might also want to read the article at:

Throwing him outside will solve your immediate problem, but then you will have your conscience to live with. Have you taken him to a Vet to see if there is a medical reason? Please explore these alternatives before you do anything drastic; after all, if he has been doing it for years what’s another few weeks or months to try and correct the situation?

Coping With the Loss of a Cat

– Q – Hi. Yesterday we got some bad news from our neighbor. He had found our sweet, eight month-old kitty (Raul)dead in his bushes. We think maybe Raul was hit by a car, crawled in front of his house to rest, and just didn’t get up. His twin sister (Lupe) is also our kitty, and she has been very upset since yesterday, and keeps looking for him. She may have found him in the bushes before we did because she was trying to tell us something. (She’s a talker…)

Raul was a very special, loving kitty, and they had a very close relationship, so we were wondering if we should try to get another kitten for her to play with. …We thing that maybe she needs a playmate, but a friend suggested that she may reject the kitten and only further frustrate her emotional state. Please let us know what we should do! Thanks so much!

Claire Meadows, Austin, TX

– A – Claire, Lupe is probably grieving the loss of her playmate (yes, pets do grieve) but will soon forget Raul as she is so young. Just play with her and enjoy her to get her through this loss and she will soon be fine. As for getting another kitten, I have mixed emotions here.

It is my firm belief that pets enjoy life more, are happier, better socialized and live longer if they have a playmate of the same species to share their life. On the other hand, unless you are willing to keep the kittens inside to prevent another possible tragedy I would say no, do not get another kitten.

It’s not safe, or fair, to subject another kitten to the possibility of a similar fate. If you are not willing to accept that responsibility please do not get another kitten.

Feline immunodeficiency virus

– Q – I currently have a cat with FIV who I am having put down tomorrow.  How long can do I have to wait & is there any pecautions that I should take when I get another cat?
Christina, Essex

 – A –  “Feline immunodeficiency virus is fairly unstable outside the cat and will not survive for more than a few hours in most environments. In addition, transmission of FIV occurs primarily through bites, so a waiting period between cats is not required to prevent FIV infection.

However, FIV–positive cats are frequently infected with other infectious agents which may pose some threat to a newcomer, so precautions should be taken. Thoroughly clean and disinfect or replace food and water dishes, bedding, litter pans and toys. A dilute solution of household bleach (4 oz. bleach in 1 gal. water) makes an excellent disinfectant.

Vacuum carpets and mop floors with an appropriate cleanser. Any new cats or kittens should be properly vaccinated against other infectious agents before entering the household.”

The above was from the Cornell Institute website in an article concerning FIV; the entire article may be read by going to

I know it is always hard to lose a cat that has been a member of your family and our hearts go out to you. I hope you find solace knowing your cat will be in no more pain or suffering from this debilitating disease. Also, understand this is a very sneaky disease, masking it’s symptoms until it is usually too late for treatment. Hope this helps.