Defecation Problem: New Home Cat Defecation Problem

by Sterling Burgess
(Plymouth, MI 48170)


My wife and I moved into a new home, which had a dog and a smoker. The house was cleaned very well before we moved in; but I was wondering if this could still have something to do with our cat "Sheba" defecating in our Living and Dining rooms.

She was somewhat heavy; but since we have moved into the new, home she has slimmed down substantially; and she still eats very well.

Hi, Sterling,

The behavior could definitely be related to the scents left behind by the former tenants, especially the dog.

However, you mention that Sheba has lost a substantial amount of weight. If she is 8 years of age or older (sometimes younger than 8 but more rare), she could have developed hyperthyroidism. An overactive thyroid gland can be responsible for weight loss in a cat that is eating well. It can also be the cause of a change in bowel consistency and frequency and thus sometimes location of bowel movements.

If Sheba is old enough and has not been tested recently for hyperthyroidism, that would be an important thing to do. Also, take a fecal sample to the vet to be analyzed.

If there is no abnormality with her thyroid level or fecal sample, than it probably is a behavioral problem related to either the stress of moving or to the odor of the dog. You can have any carpets cleaned again and that might help. There's also a number of things that you can do to encourage her to use her litter box again. You'll find most of them in the section entitled Cat Elimination Problems.
However, there are also other questions and answers related to this type of problem throughout the website.

Thank you for writing,

Dr. Neely