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Cat with bad aim !
June 8, 2010 2:09 PM   Subscribe

YANMV (you are not my vet) - One of my girlfriend's cats is displaying strange behavior, and she'd like some advice as to how to rectify cat's hygiene problem.

Said cat is going on one year, and has always acted that way. The main problem is his aim when peeing. He aims straight out when he squats like he's going to poop, and he consistently misses the box. The overall context is that he's unusually clumsy for a cat, most noticeably when jumping to high places, and knocking items down. Maybe eye issues? He's mostly vegetarian, not real good at cleaning himself, and tends to clown around with other older cat then becomes strangely passive.

Right now, main problem is the bad aim, what can she do to rectify? And are other issues cause for worries and search for medical explanation - maybe neurological disorder?

Thank you !
posted by Oneirokritikos to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why is the cat a vegetarian? Has it been taken in to see the vet? That would be my first stop. It very well could be neurological, but no one here is qualified to tell you (well, my wife is, but that's beside the point), or even if they are, we aren't there.
posted by TheBones at 2:12 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


He's mostly vegetarian

Wait, what? This is ten thousand kinds of wrong.

Cats are the opposite of vegetarians, and if this cat is experiencing health problems, it could very likely be due to a diet that's not capable of providing him with the balance of nutrients that he needs to sustain good health.

As TheBones notes, you / your girlfriend need to take this cat to a good vet to get checked out, and make sure you discuss the cat's diet.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 2:19 PM on June 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


Uh, chiming in with another WTFVC? (what the fuck vegetarian cat).

Whole host of things cats cannot get from plant based foods, some deficiencies lead to loss of coordination and ability to right themselves.
posted by fontophilic at 2:29 PM on June 8, 2010


What, precisely, does your girlfriend feed the cat? You can't really buy "vegetarian" cat food (at least not where I live) - is she just giving him vegetable scraps and so forth?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:29 PM on June 8, 2010


From what I know (we don't live together), he actually eats meat, chicken, but seems to prefer fruits, veggies and yogurt. No idea exact percentage of meat and veggies in his diet.
posted by Oneirokritikos at 2:36 PM on June 8, 2010


But she just throws together his food? Or does she give him cat food from a can? Making your own cat food CAN be done, but it's an arduous process that involves a lot of research and the use of supplemental vitamin/nutrient powder/supplements. Your girlfriend should not be feeding her random stuff and then giving him more of what he "prefers".

It sounds like the cat is experiencing side effects from a poor diet. Buy the cat real cat food with lots of protein (see sidebarred comment from last week) and definitely get it to a vet soon.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:42 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


My cat had this problem (hanging his butt outside of the litterbox when he peed) and what solved it was buying a top-entry litter box (like the Clevercat). He's 19 and very arthritic but can still use it without a problem. It would probably work for your cat too.
posted by Fuego at 2:44 PM on June 8, 2010


Cats aren't like dogs, where they have to be brought up with as much guidance and correction as a human baby to become a good dog. Cats are just cats right out of the box.. if they don't do normal things it's because something got messed up at or before birth and I doubt there's much you could do yourself to correct an internal issue. Perhaps the wanting to eat the wrong foods is a symptom of a larger problem rather than the cause. Anyway get her to the vet, the cat is obviously sick and that's what the vet is there for.
posted by amethysts at 2:48 PM on June 8, 2010


Maybe eye issues?

Taurine is an amino acid essential for cats as unlike other mammals, cats cannot synthesize it. In the absence of taurine, a cat’s retina slowly degenerates and the cat suffers eye problems and can become irreversibly blind. This condition is called central retinal degeneration (CRD). Cow’s milk is a poor source of taurine and there is none in plant foods. The only rich source is meat.
Link- from a vegetarian website, no less.

Please, please encourage your girlfriend to take the cat to the vet and, if she is not already (sounds like maybe she isn't), feed the cat a course of regular cat food. I'm a vegetarian and was vegan for a long while, but my cats eat meat and always have.
posted by charmedimsure at 2:49 PM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nthing all of the don't-make-your-cat-a-vegetarian stuff.

That being said, my male kitty has a tendency to pee right over the cat box. I bought him a covered box, and it took the problem away completely.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:59 PM on June 8, 2010


You can also get an ultra cheap plastic storage tub and cut a hole in it (smooth the cut edges with some sandpaper). Use it with or without the lid, but the side walls of the box are what will help you here.

You can get almost any size/color at any department store for 1/4 of what a pet store litter box costs.

Also, veg cat=bad idea in case you read over those comments.
posted by quarterframer at 3:39 PM on June 8, 2010


As everyone else has already said (yet I reiterate), cats are obligate carnivores. It kind of sounds like he has something neurological going on. Need to take him to the vet and be upfront about the diet.

I used to make my cats' diets and it is a TON of work. There is a lot of balancing and calculating and grinding of raw meats and supplementing. Better to buy the bag or the can, I use EVO.

I have a female cat that pees by backing her butt up to the edge of the box, and there used to be frequent misses. I now use Rubbermaid storage tubs (the ones that are about 14 inches high). They like the privacy and accidents are eliminated.
posted by bolognius maximus at 3:44 PM on June 8, 2010


quarterframer beat me to it.
posted by bolognius maximus at 3:45 PM on June 8, 2010


1) Your girlfriend needs to get her shit together and feed her cat CAT FOOD and not whatever the fuck she wants.

2) This is a feature, not a bug. My cats do this, too. It's how cats mark. You know how sometimes male dogs lift their legs and sometimes they just kind of stretch forward and pee? Same thing here. Get him a covered litter box.
posted by InsanePenguin at 4:10 PM on June 8, 2010


EVO is great food. It's expensive (although probably less expensive than his current diet of people-food).
posted by InsanePenguin at 4:11 PM on June 8, 2010


Top-entry litter box. Our cat used to squirt UP the box as far as the ceiling. We couldn't get the CleverCat box here in the UK so we found a big plastic IKEA storage container and jigsawed a hole in the lid.

Is the cat a Maine Coon by any chance? In my experience they are big, dumb, cheerful and high-energy, and tend to plow through the house leaving a wake of broken lamps and bric-a-brac because they just have no idea how much space they actually occupy or how heavily they will land when they jump. A friend's Maine Coon will also try to wriggle out of windows with to a four-storey drop given the opportunity.

And, for what it's worth, current medical advice recommends a carnivore diet, but I have had a cat that routinely pilfered veggies (leftover broccoli from the countertop and tomatoes from the vine in our garden).
posted by stuck on an island at 6:40 AM on June 9, 2010


My cat does this because she has trouble with her joints, but she is at least 15 years old.
posted by shiny blue object at 6:56 AM on June 9, 2010


A cat may choose to munch on broccoli/grass/brooms/dust-bunnies/poisonous plants as a nice snack, but he must have a balanced, carnivorous diet as a base. Not providing him with that is going to cause very expensive, painful health problems. Table scraps, even if they include meat, won't provide the cat with his basic dietary needs.

She needs to rectify the diet and take the cat to a vet.

The hygiene is an easy fix; we, too, use a giant storage container with a hole cut in the side, edges sanded.
posted by moira at 10:58 AM on June 9, 2010


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