Jackson Galaxy on Cat Poop in the Hallway

January 13, 2012

Jackson Galaxy, My Cat From Hell

Photo courtesy of Animal Planet

Did you watch My Cat From Hell last week? What did you think?

As I mentioned last Friday, the star of My Cat From Hell, Jackson Galaxy, agreed to talk with me about some of the questions Happy Litter Box readers have sent in.

It’s hard to offer a definitive solution without knowing all of the details of the situation so these interviews are designed to help you start thinking more like your cat and start following clues that will help you pinpoint the cause of your cat’s behavior.  And, the key to solving litter box issues is to find the cause. Only then you can start on the solution.

So let’s get down to it!

This week, I talked to Jackson about a reader’s cat who poops under the front door rug.

Here’s the question:

Poo Problem - We are having a poo problem with Cookie, our 4-year-old longhaired tortie.  She likes to poo under the rug at the front door.  She doesn’t do it every day; just often enough to get our attention, but rarely enough to lull us into a false sense of security.

We took her to the vet and put her on a two-week course of antibiotics.  She isn’t good at keeping herself clean, and had developed a little bit of an infection in her bottom.  While she was sequestered in a separate bedroom for those two weeks, she didn’t have a problem at all using her box.

The catch is that we have two other cats.  Katie isn’t a problem, but Annie, our 8-year-old tabby, is very, very unpleasant to Cookie.  She growls and chases her if she sees Cookie come downstairs at all.  We believe that the poo problem by the front door is either an attempt for Cookie to stake out some territory downstairs, or it is a cry to us for help with Annie.

Do you have any words of wisdom?

Remember, a lot of what Jackson advises can be adapted for a variety of situations so everyone with litter box issues, take note!

Jackson says it’s important to be a good cat detective for any sort of problem you are dealing with. You need to start thinking like your cat, considering possible causes and effects, and then experimenting with different scenarios to try to rule things out.

The following are just a few suggestions. Every situation is different and every “clue” leads to another “clue” and so on.

Jackson said this reader has been a great cat detective so far!  She’s narrowed down possible problems and triggers.  The good news is that Cookie is only pooping in that one spot. So, thinking like a cat detective, one can surmise that there is likely something significant about either the mat or the front door. Jackson suggested she try an experiment – move the mat somewhere else in the house to see if Cookie still visits the mat or if she visits the front door even without the mat.

If Cookie visits the front door without the mat, that indicates there may be something about the front door that is important to her. It could be cats outside who are peeing near the front door and she’s pooping there as a result.

If that doesn’t seem to be the issue, the next step in the investigation would be to re-introduce Cookie and Annie. At the every least, try “side swapping” which is essentially “zoning” a house so the two cats never occupy the same place at the same time. If Cookie’s problem goes away when she is not near Annie, then you know that Annie is, in fact, the problem and you’ll need to take steps to help the two kitties co-habitate without issues.

I hope Jackson’s insight helps start you down the road to solving the “mystery” of Cookie’s poop issues. Let us know how you do! Anyone else have any suggestions to help Cookie?

Readers, have a situation you’d like to discuss? Email me at caroline (at) highpaw (dot) com and we’ll try to address it!

Until then, be sure to watch My Cat From Hell, tomorrow night (Saturday, January 14) at 8 p.m. EST on Animal Planet!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

LIZ MEEKS January 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

was woundering if you could help me find away to get my cat to stop peeing on the floor by the front door we finaly had to put poddie pads down plz help me find away to make her use the cat box again oh yea he use to use the box all the time he stopped about 2yrs ago

from helpless

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Caroline January 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Hi Liz, is the area carpeted or is there an area rug? Are there cats outside who might be prowling around and causing your cat to mark her territory?

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Jen M. January 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

Liz, you have not given a lot of detail, so the first thing I will say is this: Please take your cat to the vet first to rule out medical causes if you have not already done so.

Is you box too high for your cat to climb into? (I have that problem with one of mine, so she now exclusively uses pads.) Is the box in a noisy or high-traffic area where it may be stressful for the cat? Do you have strays that come around the front door?

PS: Caroline, I LOVE this blog!

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Caroline January 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Jen, you made my day! Thanks for saying that. :)

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Hairless Cat October 31, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Hi Caroline,

Wow, so many Jackson posts. That’s awesome.

I love the way this guy thinks and figures these mysterious puzzles out. He really is like a cat detective and that’s a smart approach.

The tip about isolating objects in the house to see which object might be the culprit is a wise idea. Zoning the house is to see if the other cat is the cause is also a great idea.

I wonder if Jackson has any advice for this mystery: I once adopted a rescue cat. The first time my DH emptied out and changed the litter, the cat pooped right on his pillow.

DH was stumped. Every time – for several months – when DH went to empty the litter, the cat pooped on his pillow. Finally the cat stopped doing it. I wish I could provide the magic remedy but we didn’t do anything different, the cat just stopped doing it.

My guess is that he was abused by one or more men before we adopted him and that he hated men. You think? I can’t come up with any other theories.

DH was always sweet to him so I don’t think it was exactly personal.

Anyhow, I like how Jackson teaches us to think like a cat and a cat detective. Smart stuff!

=^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

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