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The Phantom Pooper

Posted on 2013.02.28 at 00:00
Current Location: 67114

One of the cats is pooping downstairs. I only have two cats, so it has to be one of them. As I found two piles in the same corner, my first hope was moving one of the cat boxes to the same location would solve this rapidly escalating situation quickly and quietly. I was mistaken. The next day there was a pile on each side of the newly placed cat box.

Erroneously thinking I was smarter than my cats, I understood what had to be done next. I swapped who's box was the downstairs box - I had obviously mistaken which cat required his box down there. I felt good about swapping them when I discovered the only cat who goes into the garage was also surreptitiously pooping there as well, which obviously confused me since I was cleaning poop from both cat boxes.

But that didn't solve the problem.

Further investigation is required.


michelle1963 at 2013-02-28 13:49 (UTC) (Link)
I read this last night and awoke with thoughts of weight sensitive pressure plates, a secret door that silently slides back in the wall at cat level, and squirt guns. :D

Edited at 2013-02-28 01:50 pm (UTC)
ehowton at 2013-02-28 16:07 (UTC) (Link)

I love this guy

(Deleted comment)
ehowton at 2013-03-01 15:19 (UTC) (Link)

Re: I love this guy

This is his follow-up video two years later: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goZ2DqMnaGc
michelle1963 at 2013-03-01 06:49 (UTC) (Link)

Re: I love this guy

OMG. That is hysterical! Besides the video / camera shots, which were funny enough, hearing the cats crash into things as the fled - yeah, that made me laugh just as much. :)

ehowton at 2013-03-01 15:19 (UTC) (Link)

Re: I love this guy

This is his follow-up video two years later: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goZ2DqMnaGc
slchurchman at 2013-02-28 14:18 (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like a mystery novel--"The Case of the Phantom Pooper"
ehowton at 2013-02-28 16:10 (UTC) (Link)
Quite right! It actually harkens backs to WWII Navy IIRC; a real problem for ship commanders and bored seamen. Although admittedly they didn't use the word, "poop." You have heard the phrase, "Curse like a sailor?"
(Deleted comment)
ehowton at 2013-02-28 22:22 (UTC) (Link)
An odious and odorous task :P
Lelf Treperra
ubet_cha at 2013-02-28 21:50 (UTC) (Link)
Maybe a possum is hiding out for the winter?
ehowton at 2013-02-28 22:23 (UTC) (Link)
An otherwise very well behaved opossum? Maybe.
Lelf Treperra
ubet_cha at 2013-02-28 22:28 (UTC) (Link)

You're right. Racoons are neater.

Forgot my groucho icon earlier(sorry)
ehowton at 2013-03-01 15:20 (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're right. Racoons are neater.

Remember the raccoons from the Candy/Aykroyd movie The Great Outdoors?
(Anonymous) at 2013-03-01 16:47 (UTC) (Link)
Having dealt with this same issue, I hate to tell you that unless you film the litter box area, you'll never discover the culprit. I do have a suggestion...cats greatly dislike any citrus scent so I would clean the areas outside of the litter box with a strongly citrus scented cleaner. Good luck! ~galinda
ehowton at 2013-03-01 18:38 (UTC) (Link)
I've decided that even if I do discover the culprit, I wouldn't know how to proceed. A stern talking to? I remain dismayed.
(Anonymous) at 2013-03-01 21:52 (UTC) (Link)
Dismayed - good descriptive.
I remain so the majority of the time due to Isa's vomiting. Especially when she does it on my favorite pair of boots or causes me to slip and fall down the stairs (both true stories!)
ehowton at 2013-03-02 01:33 (UTC) (Link)
Did the Cluckster initiate the emergency foot-of-the-stairs plan in a timely manner???
(Anonymous) at 2013-03-04 17:13 (UTC) (Link)
I actually only ended up being a few minutes late so he didn't get to put it into action. But I have no worries that the Cluckster would have called the cavalry if needed. :) ~galinda
pcofwildthings at 2013-03-02 01:02 (UTC) (Link)
I wondered, too, whether you had changed something about the environment, the type of litter, the frequency of changing it, whatever cleaning produce you may have washed the litter box with, etc. Also, I listen to a veterinary on public radio who frequently comments that depending on the square footage of your living space, cats need more litter boxes than most people provide. While I don't remember the ratio, I remember working out that for my daughter's one cat in her smallish apartment, there should be two litter boxes (and I know she only has one). More than one cat, that number goes up more per capita. So you might want to try providing more litter boxes and making sure their experience is similar in all of them (same litter they've been used to, etc.). And yeah, if cats are like most other animals, you've got to put some kind of deterrent down where the phantom pooper has deposited his gift, or he'll probably revisit the crime scene. Maybe the garage is just a nice, quiet place to poop, if the house has been inordinately active recently.
pcofwildthings at 2013-03-02 01:04 (UTC) (Link)

My editor is off for the night. ;)
ehowton at 2013-03-02 01:13 (UTC) (Link)
IIRC the ratio is one per cat +1. So in my case two cats = three boxes. I currently only have two. And I am in a mostly empty 3000 sq/ft house that we just moved back into. So yes on the "new environment" which is also their old environment. And michelle1963 hosted Momo for several months, but otherwise both cats seem happy and content.
pcofwildthings at 2013-03-02 01:27 (UTC) (Link)
Are you sure that's not per level of the house? That's a big house, sq. feet wise.

Anyway, this is the vet whose program is on WPR, and here she is talking about the effect of moving on cats (and dogs), fwiw. http://www.archer2000.net/buddyhound/buddynews40.html
ehowton at 2013-03-02 01:31 (UTC) (Link)
It may very well be. And thanks for the article! It reminded me I need to retrieve their cat tree and put it back where it was when we were first in this house. Maybe that will alleviate some kitty anxiety.
codekitten at 2013-03-04 22:32 (UTC) (Link)
this won't exactly help because the cat will probably start pooping in a different place, but we use this when there is a specific location we don't want them to go to. it works brilliantly!


that sucker has only gone off a couple of times (and it's hilarious to watch) and our cats haven't gone near that room since!
ehowton at 2013-03-05 06:40 (UTC) (Link)
That is awesome! Heh, scare the bejeesus out of them.
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