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Unread 11-20-2006   #1 (permalink)
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Default Our 5-year-old Persian male Sebastian has a tendency to urinate and defecate outside

First, bravo that you had your cat checked by the veterinarian, as that’s usually my first recommendation. Cats having had crystals sometimes develop litter box aversions even after they’ve been “cured.” That’s because they remember the discomfort took place in the box—and associate the bad feeling with urinating or defecating in the litter box.
Second, bravo again to the veterinarian for explaining that cats do not “retaliate” and behave in certain ways out of spite. Cats behave like cats. Period. They always have a reason for acting the way they do. You and I may not understand it, but it makes perfect sense to the cat.
You mention having two litter boxes. Are they covered or uncovered? Some cats dislike the covered ones, or the box proves to be too small for them to turn around and they need a much larger facility. If your cat isn’t currently faithful to the boxes you have, it’s a relatively cheap option to throw them out and buy brand new ones that are much larger—and uncovered—and see if that will help. You might also try placing one of your husband’s worn (but unwashed) tee shirts in the bottom of one of the boxes if his scented items seem to be a common target.
Why not try spiking the litter with the Litter Attract product by Dr. Elsey, which has been successful in bringing many cats back to bathroom allegiance. You can do a search on the Internet or check with pet products stores and ask for this.
Brand new furniture and carpet does not smell like your cat—and he above all wants his world to smell like him. That provides comfort. So although you wish everything to be new and clean, your cat wants to make his world smell familiar and will do so using urine or feces if all else fails. He may also target your husband’s side of the bed either because he has a special relationship with him or perhaps because of a particular scent your husband wears.
Cats also love the status quo. Every time you change the cat’s routine (by being gone and then returning) he tries to calm his resulting stress by self-scenting his world with urine or feces. A typical sign of separation anxiety in cats is defecation on the owner’s bed—this cat may love you both so much that he’s at his wits end when you leave. It’s a back-handed compliment, to be sure—but he is NOT being vindictive. He’s hurting emotionally. And the more upset you become the greater his stress—and the chances increase that he’ll continue messing outside the box.
One final thought on the bathroom carpets you mention. If these have a rubber or plastic backing, get rid of them. Some new carpet and especially those made for bath mats often are treated with mold-deterrents or other materials that to the cat smell exactly like cat urine. Your cat thinks he’s SUPPOSED to go on these places.

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