Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cat Pooping Drama

For the most part I would say Tom has been enjoying his American life here in Seattle. He has stairs to climb, a couch to plop on top of and the opportunity to roam around an enclosed garden. But starting around the beginning of August we started to have a pooping-out-of-the-box problem. Now, I live with a roommate who has 2 older male cats. So for this whole time we weren't really sure which cat was the culprit.

We also weren't exactly sure why since none of them were showing significant signs of distress or unhealthiness. At one point I had the idea that it was the litter, and if it was Tom he was being finicky. We use a flushable non-clay style litter, which is the preferred item to use. I didn't use this stuff in Korea but Tom took to it after moving in. However, after reading some websites about the issue they suggested trying a new litter. So I bought this stuff called "Cat Attract" litter and a huge open box. Turns out it did work for a few weeks, until that litter got low and I added the flushable kind back in (mixing it). Then poop reappeared on the floor (next to the box). Since the flushable kind is preferred we didn't really know what to do, cause having bags of poop pile up wasn't desirable. Thankfully, the same Cat Attract company made a sprinkle version you can put on any litter. So we tried that ...but the problem persists.

Finally, at my wits end and thinking I need a cat therapist for myself I figured it would be a good idea to find out just which cat is the culprit. Turns out you can turn your iPod or other iOS device into a surveillance camera. After going through a few apps that weren't quite what I wanted I found one called "Manything". The way it works is that you put the app on the device you would like to act as the surveillance camera, then you sign up on their website and create a login ID and password. Then you point the iPod in the direction you want, turn on the app and press start. It then video streams everything onto their website, which is accessed through the ID you make. It's free for the first 30 days but then you have to pay. I figured I would probably solve this case before that time is up.

The above picture is my iPod situated atop an old travel watch. It's facing the direction of where the action happens.

Below is a picture of the culprit, Mr. Thomas P. Cat. Last seen sleeping innocently on my bed. Before Mr. Thomas P. Cat did the bad deed, I noticed that he seemed to try and use the boxes. He walked around a lot sniffing them, even walking into one to give up on.

What is one to do in this situation? I have to be considerate of my housemates who probably don't want litter boxes on different floors (some websites suggest putting out litter boxes in different areas). So I've decided to first rule out whether it is a health issue. I'll be taking Tom to a local Vet tomorrow to get a checkup and Fun Fun...poop analysis. If health is not the issue and instead this is a behavioral issue I'll see what I can do next. My instinct is that it is indeed the litter and he just prefers the clay kind. Another hunch is that he doesn't like sharing his box with other cats. In this case, it's going to be hard to solve. But there are products out there that release odors that make cats comfortable in spaces. Or maybe an order neutralizer for the box so he doesn't smell the other cat's stuff?

If anything it's going to have to be one thing at a time. Thankfully, he's doing his bad deed near the boxes and on a surface that is easily cleanable. By the way the litter boxes are downstairs in the second bathroom near the entrance. Tom had been using the box just fine up until August and also he must be peeing in the box since that hasn't shown up anywhere.

So cute, yet so guilty!


  1. Aw. Poor Tom. I hope his vet visit goes well - I'm pretty sure it will, though, because your description definitely makes it sound behavioral in nature. He probably just wants his old litter back. I mean,everything in his life has changed in the past year... is it so much to ask that at least his litter stay the same?

  2. He might very well just not like sharing :/