Dear Your Own Vet,
I came across your website in a desperate Google search and I am hoping you can help me.
My husband and I foster kittens for a local no kill shelter. We have brought and adopted out about 30 kittens so far from our home. However, last year we took one in we called Luke. He was always more aloof than most. When we would take him to the adoption center, he would start to hiss, spit, and fight with his brother and sister. After he started biting people who tried to adopt him, we had no choice but to no longer show him at the adoption center.
For the past year, he has taken to defecating in our bathtub and bathroom sink. We had other kittens that had done this before but always grew out of it. He is over a year old now. The odd thing is, whenever I go out of town and just my husband is home, he never goes outside of the litter box. I have tried everything to get him to go inside the litter box when I am home but nothing seems to be working.
Is there anything we can do to calm him so he can go to the adoption center as well as stop him from going in the bath tub and sink when I’m home? We used the calming spray but it doesn’t seem to help and our vet said there is nothing physically wrong with him. Any help would be so appreciated.
Thanks for contacting me about your problem with Luke. He really does have a problem and it is quite a difficult one. When cats soil they are really not happy; and he is obviously not happy when around other cats.
With regard to the litter tray, do you have enough around? Some cats do not want to use a communal tray and I always suggest that you almost have one tray per cat per household. You can also try changing the actual cat litter. Some cats are fussy with what they feel underneath their feet. My cat which has just passed on, would only go on ultra fine litter.
Also look where the tray is placed, if it is in a very busy area, some cats do not like this. To try and stop him from using the bath, put the litter tray in the bath. Alternatively, keep some water in the bath and sink at all times to discourage him from going in there.
Also make sure that the tray is not anywhere near the feeding area.
You mentioned that you had used a calming spray – was it Feliway? This pheromone is usually very good in multi cat households, helping to calm stressed cats. You should be able to get it online at some of the suppliers that advertise on this website.
You could also try giving him some rescue remedy. Here in South Africa we have a special homeopathic range for pets. I would suggest EcoFear (as this has rescue in it) to help with the stress.