13 year old cat has forgotten how to use litter tray

by Barb
(Glen Burnie, Maryland)

My 13 year old cat weighs approx. 13 pounds. She has some brain damage from too much anesthesia when being spayed at a very young age. I call her my special ed. kitty who always used the litter pan before and after her surgery. Approx (1) year ago she started peeing outside the litter box and pooping outside the box as well. She now pees and poops everwhere at will. I took her to the vet, had blood work done - she had a UTI which was treated, was told she has a lot of uric acid in urine and may develop kidney stones I was given HZTZ for the cat - only increased her peeing. Told the vet about my continued problems with the litter problem. Vet said he can't help if my cat forgot how to use the litter pan and can't help with her memory. I have her caged, am using cat attract. I should also tell you I have hardwood floors and she is unable to walk on the floors. She drags her hind legs or one leg goes east and one goes west. She cannot jump of her legs complegely collapse. She just sits in her cage and pees up the front of her of sits and poops in cage, then lies down after eating and goes to sleep. Occasionally she will pee in litter box, but mostly not. I don't know what to do for my poor little special kitty who has such a sad little life crated most of the time. Please, please, help me! Also, I have tried a small amount of canned food, but I'm afraid to try it while she's caged, because of what I might find when I get home from work. Thank you for any help you may be able to give us.

When i read your question my heart sank i'm afraid. I can completely understand that you love your cat and want the best
for her, however as you already know she is not a happy cat at all, this is probably due to both being caged a lot of the time and also she may still be suffering from some sort of distress due to her urine problems.

What can I say, she is getting on in years and due to her brain issues and health issues may now start to be suffering more from age related problems such as dementia etc.

If a cat needs litter box training the usual process is to keep them confined for a few days with their litter box. However due to your cats possible mental disabilities this usual training method is not working.

What can I say, I am not sure your cat can or will recover from this and be able to use her litter box again. She is distressed and unhappy and cats will often urinate an defecate outside of their litter box when they feel this way.

If it were me, i would give her a week outside of the cage an in one room with her litter tray , toys bed etc and little else. Yes the room may get really messed up but it may give her a chance to feel less anxious and this in turn may help with her litter problem. It will give her more space to roam round in (you may have to put old rugs on the floor etc if you have slippy boards in there too).

However there are no guarantees this will work and you may have to make a hard decision, i will say no more as you know what i am referring too. But a unhappy cat is the worst thing ever and sometimes if we love them we have to let them go when they are no longer able to lead a decent cat life.

I am so sorry for your problem and my heart goes out to you.

God bless

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