What's wrong with my cat?

by Art Doweyko
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Hi - I'm the owner of 2 cats (one male, one female). The male is about 4 years old, and the female is 3. We've lived together in a spacious one-bedroom condo for the past 3 1/2 years. Just recently, I moved in with my girlfriend to a house with a big, secluded back yard. After a day or two, my male cat was loving the new house - especially going outside (which is something he's never done before ever). However, my female was a different story.

My female is EXTREMELY loving - so much so, in fact, that she won't leave us alone some times - constantly wanting to be pet, wanting to sleep with us in bed, etc. She gets upset once in a while - like when I try to mover her, sometimes she'll let out a deep meow that says "stop it!". But other than that, I've never had a problem with her.

When we moved into the new house, she was under the bed for the first 2-3 days. She'd come out during the night and actually sneak into bed with us, but come morning, she was nowhere to be seen. I would try to coax her out of her hiding places (under the bed, in the closet), but I would be greeted with hissing and growls (very uncharacteristic of her). But I chalked it up to her being in a new place and being frightened.

As the days went on, she would come out more and more - to the point where she seemed like she was fine (although any sudden movements or loud noises, and she was right back under the bed, in the closet, under her dining room chair). But all was good - and she WAS using the litter box.

Then things changed. A few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I found and rescued a 2-day old kitten that was thrown away in the trash (unbelievable...some people are just inhuman) and we brought her into the house. Obviously we knew that this gesture would not be looked kindly upon by the other two cats - and he was met with a lot of hissing (from both). Eventually it died down, and when we let the new one walk around on the floor, the other two are genuinely curious about him.

However, we've been noticing that one of the two cats is pooping and peeing...not in the litter box. It's strange though, because the location of the pooping (mostly IN the bathroom and shower tub!) is usually in a location that is hidden. If the cat was upset about the new kitten, I would think the pooping would be in a location that basically says "I'm upset, so here's my poop"...we thought it may be the cat litter (we had JUST bought this strange new cat litter that was supposed to work great)...but I changed it this past weekend...and we've found the poop in the bathroom the past two days. We know it's the female cat (I caught her doing it). I've tried different tactics - making her smell her poop, yelling no, then bringing her to the littler box...we've tried locking her in the room with the litter box...

Nothing seems to be working. I don't know what to do. Any advice would be REALLY helpful. Please! Thanks a lot!

Art Doweyko

Answer by Kate
Classic symptoms of a nervous cat being upset by the arrival of a new cat i'm afraid. It is not her being bad when she does it and she will not associate being shown it, shouting etc with the act. It just isn't there way of understanding.
Basically she is using the waste to make the home smell like her and this will make her feel more secure and comfortable in the home. She is obviously feeling very insecure with the new arrival.
Now usually this will settle down as she regains her confidence but this can take a little while. i would suggest keeping her in one room for about a week with her bed litter tray toys etc. It will give her time to calm down and become secure in the smaller environemnt. Then reintroduce the kitten to her in supervised short bursts, again to increase her confidence. Then after another few days you can start to let her have access to a few more places in the home, you can also try rubbing her body scent usinga towel around the home, table legs, doorways etc. This will make it smell like her and reduce her fears.

I know this sounds like a long srawn out process but it is the only way to help your cat find her confidence again and stop the scenting behavior. It should also help the cats to get to know each other in a more slow and controlled way. this will make for a happier household in the future.
best wishes

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