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My cat seems afraid to poop (runs while pooping)

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by lolyschu, Jul 12, 2015.


  1. lolyschu

    lolyschu PetForums Newbie

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    My cat, Spooky, is a little over a year old now (and yes, he is neutered). He has always used his litter box just fine. About 2 months ago, I was staying with my parents and we found a baby kitten, Toby, in our field and took him in. About a week or 2 after that, Spooky started running around while pooping.

    As soon as I realized it was Spooky doing this (I was staying with my parents at the time and they have the kitten and another adult cat, so I had to see Spooky doing it before I knew it was him), I took him to my vet. The vet said that he had coccidia and that was probably the cause. So we treated him for it, and my mom took the kitten to her vet and got him treated too.

    Then, about a week later, we had finished spooky's medicine (I was back at my parents at this point) and he started peeing in my bed. I took him and the kitten back to my mom's vet, and they said that the coccidia was gone from both of them but now Spooky had a UTI, so we treated him for that. He started peeing in the box again, but he never stopped his poop run.

    So, I took him BACK to my vet, and told her everything, and she said it was behavioral and gave me some tips to fix it. She said that the kitten, Toby, probably jumped on him while he was pooping one time and now Spooky is scared to poop.

    I agree with her, however, I have since moved back to my apartment, where Spooky is the only cat, and he has only gotten worse. He now poops on the floor and sometimes he will pee outside the box too. He doesn't pick one spot so it's not like he just likes to go in a certain area.

    I got a second box and put cat attract in it. Over the past week, i have tried 3 different locations for the new box. He will pee in one or the other (except 2 nights where he peed on the floor and in my bed), however, he will not poop in either. I also keep atleast one turd in each box so he knows hes supposed to go there, but he wont even cover them up.

    Initially, he would start in the litter box and go a tiny bit, and then take off and sprint through the house leaving poop in his wake. But in the last few weeks, he doesn't even try to start in his box and starts pooping and then walks or runs as he drops more pieces of poop. (He will sometimes pause and drop some, then take a few steps and drop some more).

    Also, he eats dry cat food and his poop is not dry, so my vet said that it is not constipation. She also did a full rectal exam on him and said everything was ok. Other than the poop, Spooky acts completely normal and has been eating and drinking about the same amount as he always has. He also doesn't seem stressed out, but I guess I could be wrong.

    Sorry for the long post, but I was trying to give as much info as possible.

    I need some good advice on how to make him feel safe with the litter box again, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
    #1 lolyschu, Jul 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi and welcome to Pet Forum :)

    Part of the problem may be that Spooky associates the litter trays with the discomfort he felt when he had the coccidia and the UTI. It is worth putting away the trays he has been using and buying a few new trays for him. Also experimenting with different litters. (though I would put the Cat Attract litter in one of the new trays, and ensure you use the actual litter, not the Cat Attract additive).

    If you provided covered trays before try him with open trays. I'd also, for the moment, give him 4 trays, spread around the home, not grouped together. It is important for him to feel that there are plenty of toiletting resources being provided for him in the home. No doubt when he had to share his litter tray with the kitten he felt his resources were being taken over by the kitten, hence why he started using the floor.

    If you've been using a clay clumping litter in the past for him then I'd switch to a cereal based litter such as Cats Best Oko Plus or Worlds Best (both from Pets@Home etc). If you've been using a cereal based litter then switch to a good quality clumping clay litter such as Biokats. Basically you are trying to get him to forget the bad old association of ideas with the trays and form some new positive ones.

    I definitely wouldn't feed dry food to a cat who has a history of bladder problems (e.g. UTI), or a problem with pooing outside the trays. Dry food often contains a lot of cereal as fillers which cats do not need. Cereals can cause diarrhoea or loose stools in some cats, or bulky stools that cause pressure in the rectum resulting in the cat being caught short and starting to poop before he intended. Spooky may well be drinking plenty (though many cats on a dry food diet suffer from chronic low level dehydration. ) but it would be better for him if he had his fluids as part of his food, as nature intended. So I would make a good part of his diet wet food, preferably makes that do not contain cereals. Though any wet food is going to be better for him than dry food.
     
  3. lolyschu

    lolyschu PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your reply!

    I previously had just the one box in my bathroom. When the vet told me it was behavioral I got the second box with cat attract (about a week ago). He doesn't seem to like it any better than his original one. I have also taken the lids off (as he previously had lids). I will try setting up more boxes though, with different litter types. I will try the wet cat food again. However, when I fed it to him previously his stool became really soft and made a bigger mess to clean up.
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    What kind of wet food were you feeding him? It may have been one that contains cereals.

    He may be better with 'sensitive' wet foods. As he has already had a UTI he would be better on wet food, to keep his urine more dilute. I'd make the switch slowly so his gut has time to adjust to the increased water in his bowel.

    However, a soft stool is not good, he needs a firm stool so his anal glands get enough pressure on them to empty when he poos. Otherwise he could get blocked anal glands.
     
  5. D.T.

    D.T. PetForums Newbie

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    Lolyschu, I am having the same problem as you. One of my cat, M, 8 years old, recently started running pooping and we did what you had tried as well but to no avail. We could tell that he seemed like he is afraid to poop but he had no problem peeing inside the litter box! Just like Spooky, he stopped using the litter box to poop and started develop a habit of running pooping for the past month or so. He will sprint and then poop a few bits, then sprints again and then poop a few more bits, this goes on for about half a minute until about 5 or 6 stools are out from his body. Vet said it's mild constipation at first and we thought so too because his stools are quite hard. After couple of rounds of enema, he did pooped out a lot but he still refused to use the little box. We tried put more boxes and changed litter as well but he can't seemed to not freaking out whenever he needs to pass motion.

    Could you please share how's Spooky doing now? I really hope he is doing fine!
     
  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @D.T and welcome. :)

    The OP (lolyschu) has not visited the forum for over 2 years so I think you may be fairly unlikely to get a reply from them.

    What you describe is constipation. Your cat needs at least 2 large litter boxes. Cats like to pee and poo in different places. Situate the boxes away from each other, in different rooms or at opposite sides of the room so there are two separate toilet areas for him.
    He will decide which box to use for poo and which for pee and it may change from day to day.

    If he is still avoiding the box tray for poo then it is because he associates the litter tray with the pain of constipation. He is scared the litter box caused the problem.

    Has the vet advised you on correct diet for him to prevent constipation? You definitely don't want him needing enemas again, or developing mega colon.

    Do not feed him any dry food at all as so often it is the culprit in causing constipation, because cats are not able to drink enough water to hydrate dry food. They are not designed for lapping water but for getting their fluids in their food (i.e. their prey).

    So feed him a good quality high protein, low carb wet food and add some mashed pumpkin for fibre. Start with about half a teaspoonful a day mixed in well to the wet food and observe results in the litter box. Gradually increase the amount of pumpkin as necessary so your cat has a firm, formed stool that he does not strain to evacuate.

    At Halloween you can of course buy fresh pumpkin everywhere, otherwise you can buy mashed pumpkin in cans. Make sure it has no added flavourings (no sugar, salt or spices in it).
     
  7. saragggg

    saragggg PetForums Newbie

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    I tried to reply but it got marked as spam.
     
  8. saragggg

    saragggg PetForums Newbie

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    I don't know which part of my post got marked, but I will try posting again.

    This happened with my cat. I came here because I was freaking out and it was upsetting that nobody ever updated. So here I am to tell my story.

    My cat has always been weird about pooping. He started by pooping beside the box, then it moved to pooping on these two mats. Annoying but easily picked up and consistent. A month or so ago he started freaking out when he pooped. He would run from his poop, it would be flying out behind him as he ran around the house, and he would race back and forth in a panic until we could grab him and calm him down. His heart would be racing and he had a look of terror on his face.

    We started him on __, which is an ___ for animals. He started on the full cat dose but it made him kinda wonky, walking around with his tail between his legs and hiding under the bed, so I reduced the dose a bit.

    I also am lucky that due to ___ I'm home all day. So I was able to keep an eye on him. As soon as he started running I would stop him and hold him and soothe him. Over the course of a week or two he started to return to a somewhat normal state. He was still obviously afraid of pooping, to this day he gets a look of horror on his face and keeps looking back at his bum as he poops like he's birthing an alien.

    So good news is the ___ attacks are gone. Poops are all in one lump and I'm not finding rabbit poos all over the house. Bad news is that he will poop anywhere now. He doesn't even confine it to the mats he used to poop on. I am hoping that over time as he continues to improve he will find a more consistent spot to poop. It's honestly the best I can hope for.

    You can email me at ___ if you want to discuss further, as I am unlikely to come back to this forum.

    One last thing. I had been considering putting him on calming ___ a few months earlier because he's been acting weird since everything changed due to covid. I feel terrible that I didn't do this earlier because I feel that this all could have been prevented if he was on the ___ earlier. Lesson learned. Some cats just need it.
     
  9. saragggg

    saragggg PetForums Newbie

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    I see, I can't put the medicine name. It is a medicine for anxious animals.
     
  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @saragggg and welcome :)

    Is the medicine you refer to called Zylkene? The full dose shouldn't make him "wonky" though.

    It sounds as though your cat was/is in discomfort whenenever he poos. He may be having to strain to pass his stools. This is due to constipation. Cat stools that look like rabbit droppings also are an indication of constipation.

    Cats who find it uncomfortable to poo will often avoid the litter box and poo next to it, or somewhere else in the house.

    Even though his stools now look normal it is possible he has lost trust in his litter box (because of previous pain). My advice is to add 2 more litter boxes in different spots and put a fine granular litter in them. He should be pooing an average of once a day. Stools should be firm but not rock hard.

    Is he fed a wet food diet to ensure he gets plenty of fluids in his diet to help his bowel function at its best?
     
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