Cat Behavior Problem
“My cat sleeps in his litter box and defecates on a bed or by a door. Can someone give me some ideas about stopping this as it is causing big problems? He used to be my mother’s cat. We had a cat and dog already so he’s had to fit in. I kept him in my bedroom when he first came to us. He is large and obese.”
As usual, comments and different viewpoints are welcome.
Your cat is very anxious and nervous. In order to try and feel calmer he is sleeping in his litter box. His litter box smells of him and therefore it is a sort of comfort zone for him. He defecates on your bed because that marks your bed with his smell making the environment more friendly for him. He defecates by the door as the door is an important junction in the pathways of human, dog and the other cat. The intention in defecating there is to send a message through scent to the other animals that he is there and this is his place. It is classic territorial marking. Wild cats behave in exactly the same way.
Your cat is anxious and nervous because he is in a strange place with strange animals. It is a complete transplantation of his “habitat” and he is finding it very unsettling.
Perhaps he had a very quiet and settled life with your mother. The change has been a shock to him.
What To Do?
My immediate gut feeling is to relocate him to a new home where there are no other companion animals and single senior women of kind disposition and a warm heart. That would solve the problem. That might not suit you though. And it might be impossible to arrange. This is no criticism of you. It is just that the circumstances are not suitable for this cat.
Alternatively, you will have to figure out how to make your home more friendly for your new cat. That is going to be hard, I think, because you have an existing dog and cat. The newcomer may never really feel at home. He might be scared of dogs, for example.
If he has to stay with you it will take a gradual reintroduction of the existing companion animals to your new cat to make things work. That might mean separating them again, providing some secure personal space for your new cat and then gradually getting him used to the new family and environment. A good place for him to hide is necessary too.
It may be that you are out of the home at work quite a lot. That would add to the sense of insecurity. I wouldn’t expect anyone to change their work practices under these circumstances which is one reason why it might better if he was rehomed.
Being overweight is not a factor in his unwelcome behavior. However, it is obviously a health matter. Good quality, wet food dispensed in a controlled manner and some treats over a long time will lead to reduced weight. Spending some time playing with him might also help him lose weight and feel more at home.
Associated page: Cat relocation anxiety.