- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Older cat won't use box anymore--old cat new kitten

January 3rd, 2008, 01:21 PM
I know that this issue is discussed often, but ours seems to have different characteristics than what I've read elsewhere (though I've not done a thorough read through of all the threads!)

We have a four year old female and just got a kitten (also female) to keep her company. Kitten is hyperactive, as you might imagine. We had the normal familiarization issues that have now passed. We have their litter boxes in our basement, initially about 6 feet apart but slowly moved them closer together, so they'd both be nice and secluded under the stairs.

I began to notice that the older cat had begun pooping just outside the box when it was getting full. At first we cleaned the box more often, every couple of days, and the problem seemed to go away. Occasionally, she'd poop beside the box, then later under the basement sink. That was if we were very bad in cleaning.

Yesterday I emptied the box and disinfected the two areas in which she had pooped before. This morning, not 24 hours later, I found the older cat's poop in a new place, and I don't think any in the box (she seems to still be peeing in the box, though).

We think that the kitten torments the older cat when she's trying to poop. I've tried to run intervention, but I can't be watching them 24/7. The kitten is definitely using both boxes, but prior to today, if we kept them both clean the older cat would not be a problem--she tended to poop in only one box.

Other information: older cat does not bury her poop; kitten kicks the litter all over the box, makes big holes, covers well, and leaves a huge mess all around the box (to my chagrin); the older cat is also getting chubby, and might not like to squeeze in the box; they both seem to be peeing in only one box (for the most part).

Any suggestions?

January 3rd, 2008, 01:49 PM
Try a bigger box or, and I know this might sound silly, a third box. But for sure a bigger box for the older cat. That is probably more the issue.
And welcome to the forum. Let me be the first to ask (demand) pics please :)

January 3rd, 2008, 04:18 PM
A third box could be your answer - maybe in a different location, so the older cat feels more private?

Keep in mind that going outside of the box can also be a physical problem - it's not always behavioural.

:fingerscr that another box fixes it, and welcome to the board! :)

January 3rd, 2008, 04:43 PM
I agree with the others that another box could be the answer, especially if you can put it in a different area. Cats do get territorial over litter boxes so if the ones you have are beside each other, that could very well be part of the problem.

Are you using covered boxes? If so, I suggest the next one you get be a nice big uncovered one. Sometimes cats are afraid of ambush in a covered box because there's only one way out. You might also want to get in the habit of scooping them at least once a day (I only have one cat and I do it twice a day). Cats really don't want to have to walk on their own excrement (as I'm sure none of us would), so if you can look at it from the cat's perspective, the cleaner the better. Good luck.

January 6th, 2008, 11:14 AM
Thank you to all replies. Here are my replies to your suggestions

First, I have thought of using a third box, and now we'll try it, in a place where the big cat has pooped outside the box. The kitten seems to want to pee in one box and poop in another, so this could work.

Second, our boxes are not covered, and i don't think the big cat would like to go in a covered box anyway. The kitten might, but she doesn't have a problem using any box that's around.

Third, I've been cleaning the box daily for about four days, before that every few days. When we first got the kitten, there was no real problem with outside pooping.

(Fourth, I couldn't figure out how to put a pic on my profile when I registered but I have now (it's Zeeba, the troublesome kitten who has yet to learn cat boundaries :) )

Now, a further question about this. Do you think we should try to go through the whole process of scent familiarization again? Ie: totally clean and disinfect all boxes, then put the kitten in the boxes for her and the cat in the box for her? I was thinking of even saving some of the big cat's poop and putting it in her box to give her a sense (literally) that it's her box. That probably wouldn't stop the kitten from visiting the cat's box, but maybe it would...

Again, thanks.

January 6th, 2008, 01:40 PM

(Fourth, I couldn't figure out how to put a pic on my profile when I registered but I have now (it's Zeeba, the troublesome kitten who has yet to learn cat boundaries :) )

For pics.......... you can put an avatar on too. That way we see "little trouble" every time you post. ;) Avatars are pretty easy to do as well.
Also, when we ask for pics....... we want BIG pics!! :laughing::laughing:
You can put those on by going to the bottom of the post and finding Mnage Atatchments. Then you can upload pics from your comp. You may have to resize pics but that is fairly easy as well either through your picture program on your computer or through an online image hosting site. I do mine through Photobucket.
Zeeba looks so cute.

January 12th, 2008, 09:37 AM
Okay, so now we have three boxes, one with those crystals that absorb odours and pee, and the other two with the flushable litter stuff. Now the little one uses all three, and the big one, while she began by using the one we had set aside for her, now poops on the floor again.

I have tried putting her poop from the floor in the boxes and mixing it around to get her scent in them, and also we have both tried to remind the cats of which boxes are theirs by physically putting them in the box (the big one doesn't like that at all, and usually puts out her legs to avoid getting into the box).

We're really at wit's end. I'd like to buy a bigger box, but I'm worried that it's just going to be more of the same.


January 12th, 2008, 10:01 AM
Hang in there. Don't give up. Try the bigger box and see if that is her issue. You said she was getting to be on the chubby side. I have watched a few of mine who are bigger trying to go in their boxes and they miss because they position themselves wrong.
Are you scooping every day? With 2 cats maybe a couple of times a day? She may not like the smell of the other kitties "leavings".
With the litter I would suggest going back to the one you started with if she had no problem with it. She may not like the new ones.
I'm not sure I am crazy about them either. All the stuff they put in to make them odour free and clumpable etc.....
One of our other members in here uses one of those big plastic storage bins. It has solved her issues.
Can you put newspaper under the boxes so it is covering the floor around the boxes and at least when she goes you just have to pick up the paper? That would be a little cleaner for you.
Has she been vet checked lately to see if there is some other problem?
Other than these suggestions, I am stumped.

January 12th, 2008, 10:13 AM
I feel your pain... have the same problem in my house with my boyfriends cat who recently was brought over to my place. She needs meds 2x a day and it is easier to care for her this way. However, she is not used to other animals and in 10 years of life had never seen a dog... she wasn't happy and began peeing over the side of the box. Then she started pooping and peeing on the hallway rug. To solve this temporarily we confined her (again) to her own room for much of the time, unless we are here to supervise her. Her box was thoroughly cleaned and we put this litter called 'Cat Attract' in it. So now she goes in her box, not over the side and not on any rugs, yay! I would recommend trying at least to confine your to her own room with her own box. For awhile I couldn't figure out what the problem was but I think it is stress combined with the fact she doesn't like to share her box. Since I have 2 other cats, I realize eventually she'll have to share or be forever confined to the spare room. Hopefully in time she'll be used to the house and other animals enough so that it won't bother her. Maybe yours doesn't like to share either or is being harassed by the kitten, stressing her out. I would not physically put her in the box though as she doesn't like it and will then associate the box with fear/stress. She should go in on her own. You might try digging around in the box yourself (when it has been cleaned!!) while she is watching. I've done that with kittens and sometimes that would prompt them to jump in the box and go, or at least dig around. Good luck! :fingerscr

January 12th, 2008, 04:13 PM
Thanks for everything, everyone.

I will try the bigger box. The thing is, she's not just missing the box. She's going away to another part of the basement and pooping there. She leaves it in a nice pile, does it on the raw concrete (thankfully), right out in the open, and, it seems, still pees in the box (thank goodness).

Maybe pooping is harder to do in a box than peeing. I don't know (I haven't tried to do either thing :D )

I had been cleaning the box daily, and she was still pooping elsewhere. It is pretty random. Now I've filled both of the old school boxes with litter (it's biodegradable clumping litter made of wheat). The other box has those non-flushable crystals (scilia?) that do a great odour absorption job. Problem is maybe she doesn't smell her scent in it.... I'm completely stumped.

BTW, I still can't figure out how to put a little picture beside my name.

January 12th, 2008, 09:35 PM
What if you put one of her turds in the other box, I wonder if that would work.