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How long can my cat go without using the litterbox?!

October 9th, 2011, 05:14 PM
Hi all,

I just adopted a new cat, Lou, who is 7 years old and male. Initially I put the litterbox on the first floor just to get him used to the house and all. He did use it normally for the first week. However, yesterday, I decided to move the litterbox to the basement b/c that's where I ultimately want to keep his litterbox, not on the first floor. He hasn't gone to the basement much b/c I don't hang out there and there are noisy radiators down there. However, I did coax him to come down and showed him the litterbox (he sniffed briefly at it) and I've even been leaving the lights on down there at all times. But he hasn't used it at all ever since yesterday morning (over 30 hrs now)! How long should I keep waiting to see if he will go use it before bringing the litterbox back up to the first floor? I haven't seen any droppings (pee or poop) elsewhere in the house, thankfully, so I think it's just that he isn't going. Otherwise he seems fine, is still eating and drinking and being pretty affectionate most of the time.

Any advice would be appreciated ASAP!! Thanks!

October 9th, 2011, 06:51 PM
You may have some difficulty coaxing him down to an area he is not used to espeically if there are noises. 30 hours is a long time to not use it. When I change location of my boxes in the past I would take the kitty and put them in it and they usually jump out but it confirms where it is for them. However its never been a great distance so they always found it.

Maybe you could bring him to it and place him in it and see if he will go?? dont force the issue though because then they associate bad things with the litter box and that will not be good!

October 9th, 2011, 07:31 PM
Possibly you could start over, with the litterbox in the same place it was when he used it. Gradually, each day, move it closer to the basement, a little distance at a time, and when you get to the stairs, put it right on the bottom of the stairs, and leave it there for awhile till he's used to going down there.

October 9th, 2011, 09:01 PM
Has Lou shown any signs of being un-Able to pee? Any squatting but not peeing, any straining, unusual pacing, is he acting sick, is he eating/drinking normally? Male cats especially are at risk of developing serious life threatening issues when there is an obstruction (stones/crystals) that physically prevents them from peeing. If this is the case he needs to see a vet now.

I agree you need to put the litterbox back on the first floor where you had it initially, give Lou time to get used to it being back there again - ie don't move it again for about a week. Next week you can move it closer to the basement by about 3 inches at a time, what you want is slow gradual changes, it may even take 3 months or more before he is comfortable with the box being moved to the basement - that's okay as long as moving the box doesn't stop him from using it. Some cats are more sensitive to changes than others, and the noises in the basement may never be okay for some.

Why not leave the box in the bathroom on the first floor?

October 10th, 2011, 08:03 AM
He is going somewhere. Cats can be very sneaky at hiding their spots.

Slowly move the box down stairs.
Spend a little time down there with him every day.
Perhaps even leave a TV or radio playing down there.