Advice on older cats who stop using the litter box

Dear Cat Faeries,

Bart’s inappropriate elimination ramped up. He is now 16 and hasn’t used a litter box for the past month. I don’t want to put him down for this! He is such a lover boy!

Diane in Minnesota

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Dear Diane,

Sometimes when a cat gets to be Bart’s age the kidneys are starting to shrink and not function as they once had. Shrinking kidneys lead to various stages of renal failure, and it’s time to begin diet changes, and often sub-cutaneous fluids. But what we often aren’t told is that it can lead to behavior changes including avoiding the litter box. So have your vet examine Bart and run some blood work.

A few other medical conditions come into play as well. Arthritis is another big one for many cats as their back legs and lower backs become stiff and sore so that getting in and out of a little box can be painful – when that happens your cat might pee next to the box or on a surface like a bathmat. Or they can enter the box but they don’t squat – the urine flies out their back end and hits the wall or spills over the sides of the box.

The solution for this is easy pie: a box that’s shallower for easy in/out access. Or even better, get a large storage container and cut out an opening that’s low enough for easy entry. The high sides are tall enough to contain urine that might be sprayed out. See below – that’s some of our washable waterproof pads in front of the box opening. This box is from Rubbermaid. Another option is a semi-transparent box such as those from Sterilite – some cats may feel less closed in that way.

Advice on older cats who stop using the litter box
(click image to see it larger)

 

Another factor in renal failure is that cats often lose some or all of their hearing. This can lead to loud caterwauling both in the middle of the night and during the day. When a cat goes deaf their world can shatter and this can affect their behavior and out of panic or not understanding what’s going on with their body the cat could stop using the litter box. But the cat’s sense of smell is still very much intact, one of the many reasons we love Comfort Zone with Feliway so much. It works with your cat’s sense of smell. If your cat is feeling rotten from malfunctioning kidneys (it will feel like a hangover to your cat) or scared from not hearing well, Feliway will be soothing and comforting and allows that the negative behaviors can be corrected. You and your cat will be much happier with the smell of the Feliway pheromone wafting through the house. But don’t be concerned about the smell, only your cat can detect it.

A customer tells her astonishing Anti Icky Poo tale!

(Here’s an amazing story from a customer with yet another use for Anti Icky Poo and its enzyme cleaning power to eliminate odors.)

A couple of years ago we discovered that rats had infiltrated our fireplace around our firebox from outside. They weren’t in the house, and we got rid of them outside, but every time we had a fire there would be a terrible stench of rat urine that would last for days.

We’re remodeling now and the area is open around the fireplace but not accessible to clean because there isn’t enough space between the masonry and the metal firebox to get a brush or sponge in. We asked some cleaning companies and restoration experts and they had no idea what to do. We weren’t very happy about demolishing the masonry and replacing the firebox, that’s for sure!! Since it didn’t bother my husband as much he “tested” it recently and lit the first fire of the season — EWWWWW! I said, “PLEASE!! NO MORE FIRES until you can fix this.”

Just the other day I came home and he had a big smile on his face. He said, “I had a fire this afternoon. Can you tell?” WOW! No, I couldn’t tell at all. Turns out he streamed Anti Icky Poo onto the suspected areas of the firebox with a really good sprayer several days before and let it work its magic. By the time he lit the fire, there was no more rat smell. We’ve had several fires since then and the problem is solved!!

I will order some special treats for the four kitties we have (who are absolutely worthless with the rats, but tons of fun anyway).

Best regards,
Lisa N.

10 Tips For Spring Cleaning with Anti Icky Poo

It’s time for Spring Cleaning. And, Cat Faeries and Anti Icky Poo want to help you, and make it easier! The wildly popular Anti Icky Poo isn’t just for cleaning up kitty accidents. AIP’s special enzymes and friendly bacteria also clean up any and every organic mess. As the label says, it “will digest any malodorous decay.” (Your brother-in-law doesn’t count.)

Here are some unique and different tips from Cat Faeries on how to use Anti Icky Poo products – you may be surprised! (Remember, test fine fabrics for colorfastness or know that they are water safe before using Anti Icky Poo.)

  1. If you dare… take a close look at your hand powered can opener. There may be that persistent build up of crud on the blades and gears that seems to resist repeated trips through the dishwasher. Unscented AIP (Anti Icky Poo) to the rescue! Give it a heavy spraying of Unscented AIP and let it sit over night while the enzymes do their thing. Now the crud should be much easier to wash off. If some still resists, try another application and use a toothpick or brush to loosen the persistent icky bits.
  2. Recently we discovered how some yucky sticky stuff had accumulated on the rubber seal on our front loading washing machine. And how much sticky lint like stuff had migrated underneath the seal. Rated H for Horrifying!Here’s what we did and you can too. Use a flash light so you can really see where the crud is. Spray Unscented AIP under the fold of the seal and on the part of the rubber seal that’s exposed. Scrub a bit, then apply more Anti Icky Poo and let it stay wet. Keep the door open so air circulates. Repeat the spraying two or three more times during the course of half a day. Do one final spraying and use a rag to remove any crud that AIP did not eat, then wipe dry. Leave the door open for a while to air out.
  3. Give cat boxes a nice soak to remove odors from the box itself. Dump the old litter. Wash the litter box with hot water and dish soap, and then pat dry. Add one quarter to one half cup of AIP and about three inches of warm water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Rinse, dry, and add fresh litter. Your cat is thanking you already.
  4. Smokers can use unscented Anti Icky Poo on their clothes to get rid of that persistent smoke smell – works so well it will fool people into thinking the smoker quit a long time ago.
  5. How many times did you pass on a garage sale treasure because it was covered in yellow/brown tar & nicotine from cigarettes? No need to pass up that fabulous find when you’ve got Anti Icky Poo at home to melt years of ick away.
  6. Refrigerator drawers or shelves can be really hard to clean if you’ve accidentally created a “science project.” You may be afraid to tackle it but the enzymes in Unscented Anti Icky Poo are happy to. Put the science project in the compost. Take the drawer or shelf out, do an AIP spray, let it sit for a while, then clean and put back in the fridge.
  7. One quarter to one half cup of Anti Icky Poo down your drains every week will keep the flow flowing. The enzymes love to eat up soap scum and grease. They can’t eat hair but if you keep drains free of the sticky stuff that bonds the hair into a mess, then it will more easily just flow down the drain.
  8. Here’s a trick that professional carpet cleaners use:
    You know how some fabrics “wick” away moisture from your body (think of your best workout wear wicking away perspiration). This tip can actually wick cat urine or other fluid “up” and “out” of fabric/carpet. Saturate a stain with Anti Icky Poo, then apply some AIP Stain Remover
    over that. Now, put a white cotton rag or two on top of it. And on top of the rag place a heavy object. The cloth with the weight on top of it will cause the stain material to wick upward and into the rag. Sounds like a magic trick! Abra cadabra!
  9. If you have a cloth covered recliner like we do, you know that hair oils can build up on the headrest. Over time, that can get kind of “odiferous” (smelly). And if you can’t remove the headrest for a wash, how do you clean it? We used Anti Icky Poo and it worked! Two cycles of spray applications and the odor disappeared.
  10. We’ve saved the best story for last. Recently one of our little old lady cats had some diarrhea and she of course decided to deposit it in the worst place – on an upholstered foot rest. It was the consistency of pudding and we couldn’t get all of it off. The rest was becoming one with the fabric and penetrating fast! Absolutely horrifying and we were in a huge panic! We grabbed a quart of Anti Icky Poo Unscented and misted heavily several times over the course of two hours. Then we got busy packing your orders and frankly, forgot about it. A few days later we discovered that every trace of cat poop was GONE! The AIP had eaten, yes, eaten every particle of the poopy smoosh and its smell! And with zero harm to the fabric. For “Justin Case” we misted a few more times to make sure it was truly gone! We still cannot stop talking about this miracle!

Visit the Cat Faeries Urine Cleanup page to see all the Anti Icky Poo products and special product bundles.

Marinating peed on cat toys in Anti Icky Poo

Thank you to our customer Kristy for passing along this tip! If you have cat toys that have been peed on, gather them up, place them in a jar and add about 1/4 cup of Anti Icky Poo (we prefer the unscented version) and coat the toys. You could also put the toys in a dish and give each one enough sprays of Anti Icky Poo to make them very damp. Allow the toys to sit until dry. A sunny window will speed up drying time. You might need to do two or three applications to restore your cat toys to their former catnipian glory!

Anti Icky Poo – keeps your drains flowing smoothly

Anti Icky Poo’s friendly bacteria and enzymes love to gobble up grease and organic “crud” in your drains as much as they like dining on cat urine. Here’s how to keep your drains happily flowing using a natural product that’s safe for you and our environment.

Prevention: Once a month pour 1/4 – 1/2 cup of Anti Icky Poo down each drain. AIP will happily clear out grease and soap scum.

Slow running drain: Start with 1/2 cup. After a few hours run some water to clear away remaining waste. You may need to do several applications.

Completely backed up drain: Anti Icky Poo probably won’t work 100% as it can’t eat through hair, but depending on what’s down there, it’s worth trying 1/2 cup before calling the plumber.