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A. I would also suggest asking your vet to thoroughly examine your cat's hind end for pain, especially the hips and low back. Many cats will avoid the litter box, especially to defecate, because it hurts to assume the squatting position. I think hip problems occur more frequently than we realize in cats.
Sometimes, and this may seem a bit silly but it happens - cats don't like "standard" litter boxes and seem to do better with bigger areas to "go" in. I have good luck having clients use those big plastic storage bins - the low profile ones - as litter boxes. You can cut a "door" in the side with a sharp knife or saw and then put litter in one area of the box. I would also recommend just getting rid of the rug FOR NOW - likely your cat can still smell that it's an area where she's gone before and will continue to go there. Try these other ideas, see if things improve, then maybe you can re-introduce the rug.
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