Sudden change in cat's toilet habits - advice please!

I’m looking after a 14 year old female cat at the moment. The past two days her toilet habits have changed dramatically. This is a long sit (100 days) and I have been here almost 2 months already. Apart from one day when she vomited and did some poo in the house about 10 days ago, she has been fine. She usually goes out through the cat flap to the back garden to do her business but yesterday she did some poo and pee on the carpet near the front door, and today she did the same again (pee only, no poo).

I am not sure why she suddenly changed. Maybe some of you have ideas how to discourage her from continuing in this vein? I cleaned the carpet with carpet stain remover yesterday and with some detergent today. I can keep her away from that area of the house by closing a door, but that won’t be practical forever. Are there any products that might help to discourage her?

I’d be worried there’s some illness or stress that’s caused her to change her habits. Have you been in touch with the owner?

In the meantime, Simple Solution Stain and Odour Remover for Cats (Pets At Home) to clean, and puppy training pads to protect.

I agree with @Ketch , I do have a cat that has peed out of the litterbox and it has been caused by Feline Cystitus, which is painful and does need meds. I find it odd that with a cat flap she didn’t go out. When my cats were indoor/outdoor they almost always preferred to go outside.

Hopefully the owner will let you take her to the vet. There is also a free vet hotlink on trustedhousesitters you can call for advice.

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I would tell the HOs who will probably want a vet visit. The cat could have a medical problem. If it was my cat, I would want to be told.

is there an indoor litterbox? It might be a good idea to put one where the cat is peeing inside, so she can go there in case she can’t make it outside.

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Thanks for the suggestions above.

Yes, I have been in touch with the owner since yesterday when this started. She suggested putting a litter tray in the kitchen.

The cat appears to be well / normal - she has a good appetite, and she still goes in/out via the cat flap but I don’t know why she wants to pee inside the house in that one spot. She does not do it in the living room or kitchen when I close the living room door. But if the living room door is open, she goes through the hall to the front door and pees on the carpet there. She has not done it again today because I have kept the door closed since 10am.

I have asked the owner if she wants me to take the cat to the vet, and I will call the THS vet hotline now.

Hi @cat.tails, i agree with all the above.
If its painful for a cat to do their business, they will choose to do it in a different place because they associate the usual place with the discomfort.
However, we have had re homed cats with a similar issue. One particularly chose the front door mat to pee on, even though she had a litter tray & access to outdoors.
In both cases, we worked out it was behavioural. So, this could be linked to change in a normal routine.
Cats are like humans, with some being so much more sensitive to changes in their environment than others.
You can get sprays to deter cats from certain areas if it is behavioural, but mainly its tlc & patience.

I have been in touch with the THS vet advice line - spoke for 15 minutes and their conclusion was that I contact the owner’s regular vet for a chat. Also in touch with the owner via whatsapp - they suggest using a litter tray for two days as they think it might just be a weird behavioural phase. Cat is eating & drinking as normal and otherwise appears fine. She is both loving and lovable - she likes to sit/sleep beside me on sofa or on a chair beside me when I am on the computer.

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Twice our 16 year old cat did something similar in the past year and both times it was because of a bladder infection. Everything seemed normal but she suddenly peed in the living room.

I had a cat that peed repeatedly on the back door mat once I started travelling a lot for a new job. I always used the back door to leave and enter the house. It was separation anxiety and kitty prozac solved the problem.


You are handling this well so far.
Hang in there…

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@cat.tails as a TrustedHousesitters member, you have the ability to contact a vet via phone 24 hours a day. I would suggest you give them a call and see what they think. You can find the info on your dashboard or here it is:

Enjoy peace of mind with free 24/7 advice from veterinary experts. All pet sitters also have access when you are away.

+1 845-444-1219

Launch live web chat

The number is a local UK number and normal call rates will apply (if overseas you can use Skype or another VOIP service to minimise call charges. T&C’s apply.)

Re lassie, you can get plug in calming diffusers and sprays too.

I tried those, but they didn’t work for that cat.

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Thanks and yes, I did call the THS vet advice line yesterday. I spoke with them for 15 minutes and they then suggested I call the owner’s vet for a chat.

I have been in constant contact with the owner and their decision is to use an indoor litter tray for 2 days. For the past 24 hours, the cat still goes outside to pee and poop, and is not interested in using the litter tray (which she has used in the past, she knows what it is and how to use it). I have closed off the area of the house where she peed over the past 2 days as the odour needs to be neutralised there first or she will continue to use it as her additional toilet spot.

The cat is eating well and quite playful - I can see that she was playing with her soft toys this morning when I went out for a few hours. I also saw her pooping in the back garden this morning after breakfast.