A week and a half ago we adopted two cats from the local shelter. Right now we are having some problems with one of them.
Shani is 12 years old, deaf and has a thyroid condition. His previous owner was a sick old lady who died. When the shelter was called to pick him up, he was so sick and malnourished he didn't even move. He was put on a drip, nursed back to health and after a few months we met him in the course of our volunteer work there. He's lovely, soft and black with huge green eyes and when you stroke him he purrs like a little motor. He followed me around as I was cleaning litter boxes, and after hearing his sad story we decided to give him a good home...
So much for the background. Unfortunately, Shani tends to avoid using the litter box. He will go on the floor in a corner instead. We started with two litter boxes which we cleaned morning and afternoon (he shares with the other cat only). Shortly after we noticed this we got a third and put it in the corner he preferred to use most. Since then, he's stopped using that corner and uses any other corner instead.
He and the younger cat do have little spats but they are nothing really serious and are happening much less often.
We have tried everything we can think of: grating lemon zest on the floor (he peed on top of it), spraying "Urine Off" in areas he went, putting a sponge with lemon scented detergent in the corners, getting the extra litter box, squirting him with water when he see him doing it (he just sits there). We even tried getting two of those cat pheromone things you plug into the wall socket. Nothing works. Apart from the thyroid condition there doesn't seem to be anything wrong (obviously he has been checked out by a vet a lot lately). Previous volunteers who nursed him said that he avoided the box at first but then learnt to use it. When cleaning his area I noticed puddles next to the box but not every time, and he was sharing with other cats as well. I thought once he had a nice home he would stop.
I don't want to give up on this guy. He is otherwise a really nice cat. But there is no way I can tolerate living in a house that reeks of cat pee, and we are going on our honeymoon later this year for four weeks. We can't ask friends to take care of a cat who will pee on their newly refurbished floors. I have never had a cat do this before. All were very particular about burying their waste.