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Litter Training... Please Help!

Tsukito
August 7th, 2006, 03:09 PM
I'm not sure if this is the best place for this particular problem, as "cats" and "training" rarely seem to go in the same sentence as one another :D But I am at my wit's end here and I'm hoping somewhere out there will be able to help.

Here's my problem: I have two cats, one is 9 months old (Chii, the "problem kitty") and one is a year and a half (Emmie). I got them both from an animal shelter in February, and other than this one problem, things are going fantastically! Both cats love both my boyfriend and myself (though Emmie hid under the bed for two weeks after getting her... I think she was abused before we got her. Poor thing! Chii is actually one of Emmie's litter, and if you do the math... :sad: ) and they seem to like the house and everything. Except Chii refuses to poop in the litter box. And it's not just a "litter box avoidance" thing, because she pees in the box with no problems.

We've tried everything I can think of. We've had different kinds of litter boxes, different kinds of litter, different areas of the house... We even cleaned the whole house from top to bottom thinking maybe if one part of the house is cluttered it'll bother her enough to poop in a completely different area (the litter boxes were in a clean area, but maybe just the clutter bothered her enough to mess up?). We clean the carpet thoroughly after every "accident" (though at this point I can't help but wonder if it's on purpose) and we actually take her poop and put it in the litter box while she's watching, thinking that maybe she will associate her poop in the box with that's where it's supposed to be.

I'm at my wit's end here. I've talked to my vet and she gave me a few suggestions (mainly variations of things we've already tried), but we can't keep doing this. It's a new mess every day. If we can't get her to stop we'll have to give her up, and just that thought alone makes me very, very sad because I love my kitten and I can't bear the thought of her being in a little humane society cage without the people she knows. If anyone has any suggestions PLEASE let me know, I'm willing to try just about anything to not have to give my baby girl away.

jessi76
August 7th, 2006, 03:17 PM
a couple questions, just for more info:

1) when she poops outside the box, is it next to the box? or in a different area of the house?

2) how many litter boxes do you have? good rule of thumb is 1 box per cat (and some ppl have an extra). I have 2 cats, so I have 2 boxes, and it's funny, they tend to pee in one, and poo in the other.

3) what are you cleaning with? a product designed for pet accidents? you need an enzymatic cleaner to rid the scent.

Tsukito
August 7th, 2006, 03:21 PM
In response to your questions, (sorry, I should have thought to add this in my post!) we have two litter boxes. She poops anywhere there's carpet space (perhaps I could put carpet squares in the litter box? :sigh:) sometimes near the box, sometimes on the other side of the house... And we have this "get rid of pet stains and odors" cleaner stuff, but I don't really think it matters - she keeps pooping in new areas that haven't been pooped in before.

cpietra16
August 7th, 2006, 03:24 PM
I have 7 cats and one of them wants her own poo box..She will pee in one and poop in the other....Lord y lordy look out if one of the other cats peed in her poop box:frustrated: She will only enter if there is no pee in it...which can get a little trciky trying to tell the other cats that they can not under any circumstances use it as there own:yell: :yell:

jessi76
August 7th, 2006, 03:31 PM
well, you're doing all the right things... she may need her own box, in her own space. when i got my youngest, I kept her in one room to start, with her box. once she used it for all her business reliably, I slowly gave her more freedom and gradually moved her box to where I keep the box for my other cat (corner of laundry room). my kitten just followed her box, then it was a free-for-all. they both use both boxes now.

maybe your girl needs her own box though, in her own space.

Tsukito
August 7th, 2006, 03:38 PM
We had at first tried putting her in just the bathroom (don't worry, it's a big bathroom. We wouldn't put her in a closet or anything) with her food and water and her litter box.

I have never seen such a disaster area concerning cat poop. :eek: But she was much younger then, and perhaps still getting used to us as her people, and that we're not going to abuse her or anything.

She certainly marked that bathroom as her own, though. :yuck:

My vet finally just got back to me and suggested peat moss? Has anyone tried this before, and did it help?

cpietra16
August 7th, 2006, 03:41 PM
Did you try having her use one box for pee and one box for poop..in the bathroom? As for peat moss I never tried it before. I use pine shavings and they work great and are flushable

LM1313
August 8th, 2006, 01:35 AM
Are the litterboxes right next to each other? She may be seeing them as one BIG litterbox. :)

vfrohloff
August 8th, 2006, 08:52 AM
Where are the litter boxes located in the house? If they are in high traffic areas your cat may be uncomfortable using them when there are people around. Even something like the litter box being near a furnace vent may scare her when the furnace goes off and on so she may be sneaking off to go somewhere she feels more comfortable. I would also get at least another litter box, preferably two if you can stand it and put them in a nice quiet place. A bathroom isn't a good place for a litter box because someone can easily walk in on her while she's doing her business. Do you have kids? If so, make sure the kids don't disturb the cat while she's in the litter box. What kind of litter do you use? Most cats prefer unscented clumping litter so you may want to change the litter type if you are using something scented. Many cats also feel scared by covered litter boxes. Cats are at their most vulnerable when they are peeing or pooping and many like to be able to see everything around them while they are in there; a covered box restricts their ability to see out. A covered box also holds in odors, especially the ones with the filters. This is good for us but not good for the cat. Those filters don't really filter much, they just keep the smells inside the box which may make the cat think that the box is dirty when it isn't. Cats also tend to prefer larger litter boxes. I had one cat who was peeing outside the box and I watched him one day and determined that he just didn't have enough room in there. Cats like to move around and cover up what they've done and if they don't have enough room to do so they may go somewhere where there is enough room (like the carpet). I got a couple of large plastic under the bed type storage boxes and use them as litter boxes. It takes quite a lot of litter to fill them but I've had no cat accidents since. HTH, and good luck!

Tsukito
August 17th, 2006, 12:43 AM
Well, so far we've got three litter boxes, one in the end of the hallway (very secluded, we don't often wander through there, one at the front of the house against a wall where there isn't much traffic, and one in the living room in a corner. We've got one covered and two uncovered, and we've been using unscented clumping clay litter... As for the bathroom, the one that her litter box was in was the guest bathroom, which we don't use often.

I've thought of the "Maybe the box is too small" thing, and gotten her a bigger one (now we have three boxes of varying sizes). But most of the time she doesn't poop anywhere near the box. Or sometimes right next to it. It doesn't seem to matter to her if there's a litter box near her or not, she's just gonna poop where she feels like it.

And I definitely have no kids... So far, i'm having enough trouble with the cat.

I am just completely baffled.

dogmelissa
August 17th, 2006, 12:39 PM
I don't know if this is anything that's going to help you, but I have 3 cats. 2 came from a shelter (at ~2 yrs old) and the third came from a field (he was found as a tiny kitten), and came into our home when the girls were about 6 yrs old. One of the girls, Aubrie, has always had litter-box use issues. She is *very* meticulous about how she wants it. It *must* be clean, and have no other kitties pee-smell in it. She would pee on the floor near the box (within 5 feet, but not so close that there was a question of whether she'd just "missed") She never used to be picky about poo, but when I moved into my condo, she pretty much refused to use a litter box at all. At the time, I had 5 litter boxes (for 3 cats!), and for a while had a different kind of litter in each box (that was expensive). It didn't seem to make any difference, but since she was only making messes on the bare unfinished concrete floor of my basement, I wasn't too bothered by it. Since the little guy (who isn't so little) came along, she had special eating habits, because he would eat everything in sight and get sick from it. The other girl kitty would eat on the kitchen counter, but Aubrie refuses to jump, so that didn't work. My "solution" was to buy a wire dog kennel (medium sized), fit it with a magnetic cat door, and outfit Aubrie's collar with the "key". Her food was in the kennel, and Taz couldn't get to it.
Then I moved to a house, with my bf (who wasn't previously living with me). He likes things clean, and was really grossed out by the messes on the floor, and when I realized that the paint on the concrete floor in the house reacts with the bleach I was cleaning things up with, I agreed with him that things needed to change.
I bought *another* litter box, a small one. I then found a cat litter that's 100% guaranteed litter box use (or your money back) and filled the new box with the new litter (I'd tried this litter before and all it did was attract *all* the cats to the box, which meant it wasn't clean enough for Aubrie), and put the box with the "special" litter in the kennel where she was eating. (I also gave the other girl a "key" as I didn't want her on the counters anymore) I scoop the box twice a day (sometimes more if I'm in the room with it working), and even though its the "special" litter, and she has access to it, the other girl doesn't use it. So it's exclusively Aubrie's box, and she's safe in her kennel from the boy, from other cat's potty smells, and always has access to it. Since I put the box in there, the only time she's peed or pooed anywhere but in there was when we went away for a weekend and she got stressed about us being gone. (She's also a long-haired cat and since I've been shaving her fur, she's also improved)
I don't know if something like that might help you, but it might... maybe you can just get a magnetic cat door and put it in a door to a bathroom or even a closet, so that she has her own special box. If you can't do that, try the special litter if you can find it: http://www.preciouscat.com/WebPages/catattract.html (they also have a litter "additive" but I've never used it so I don't know anything about it) It's expensive, but if it solves your problem, it's worth it!

Hope that helps, and good luck. Please don't take her back to the shelter for a little bit of poo, it took me 7 yrs to figure out how to "fix" Aubrie's problem, and it wasn't poo, it was pee. I have a $150 text book that now smells like cat urine because she peed on the floor near it and the book soaked it up. But I never *ever* gave up on her. It's not her fault, it was something I was doing wrong (or just couldn't figure out). Please don't give up on her.
PM me if you want more info.
Melissa