Litter box problem
I know there are about a million threads on this subject but I think I've tried everything. :shrug:
I'm at a loss and I don't know what to do. I have four cats of my own and about a year ago my best friend moved in with her three cats and dog (she lost her job and house). Up until this point, my cats were fine but we expected there would be some... fluctuation in behavior what with the new family additions. Certainly, there were. My tinyest sweetest little girl turned into a bully of my friend's cats (one of them still has her claws so I feel like she can defend herself but her other two boys are declawed and I worry about them). We deal with that though. The cats have found their happy places and they only overlap when we're around so it's not much of a problem (and there haven't been any horrible things, just minor scuffles here and there).
The bigger problem is two of my older cats (by older, I mean 11 years). These two cats were, I believe, weened too early and litter-training them when I got them as kittens was painful. :wall: Frankly, I'd never had to litter train a cat before - I thought they just did it! :laughing: Well, I learned different and eventually got them MOSTLY litter trained. I say mostly because the boy really hates the stuff. He'll jump in pee where he lands and jump straight out! He often poos right next to the box. I tried about a million different brands (including those paper pellet things - :yuck:!) and finally got them into something we could all live with (some litter boxes have Swheat Scoop and some have whassisname's Cat Attract).
The problem is that the new animals have wreaked havoc on these two. Over the past year, I've tried everything but they are destroying the house. One of them has started peeing down the vents! I'm at the end of my rope. :frustrated:
I've tried everything I know to try - admittedly, we don't have eight litter boxes (I have four cats, she has three) but we do have dedicated ones - litter boxes which are in locations where some cats are allowed and others aren't. I've tried various different types of litters and I've got Feliway plugged in to every outlet in the house. I've also taken both of the "sinners" to the vet and they can't find anything physical to explain it. It's got to be behavioral.
I just don't know what to do! We have four HUGE litter boxes (we actually bought big plastic storage boxes from Walmart - each one holds four boxes of litter). I can't realistically add more boxes - there's just no room. My house is beginning to smell because anything left in a pile gets peed on, plastic bags get peed on, papers get peed on, corners of carpets get peed on, and, now, vents are getting peed in. :yuck::yuck::yuck: I've actually taped plastic over the vents in my room because that's where she's at her worst - my room is reserved for my cats; my friend's cats are not allowed in there.
I've even tried quarantining the two problem children but that hasn't helped at all either. I feel like I've tried everything realistic so I don't know if you guys have any ideas and I've read through every thread I can find but I can use some "out of the box" :o ideas here please! In fact, I don't know if there's anything I can do about the peeing but I could even use suggestions on the best ways to clean it up and FIND it! OMG, last weekend I found a piece of the carpet in an out of the way corner that may be ruined - I didn't even know they were going there! :eek:
I'm sure someone with more experience with litter box issues will be along with some questions/suggestions as I've been lucky that way.
I will ask with what are you cleaning the peed upon areas?
How much vertical territory do the cats have? Any tall cat condos, window hammocks or shelves just for them?
@Growler, up until these two, I'd always been lucky too - like I said, I just thought they were born that way! :)
When I find the spots or areas, I'm cleaning them with this stuff called Scat cleaner - I'm thinking I could do better though. It doesn't seem to do a very good job. And the vents are a problem! How the heck do I clean inside the vent? :shrug:
@SCM, there is at least one cat condo in each large room - so one in the living room, one in the great room, one in my bedroom, and one in my friend's bedroom (we are suckers for kitty condos - we love watching them play on them). A couple of them are only three stories high but the other two are very high with a lot of different shelves (our tallest has six different levels). They all also have little built in "houses" where the kitties who like enclosed spaces can go.
Funnily enough, now that you mention it, the kitty condos attract four of the cats heavily. The others rarely or not at all. The two problem children, for instance, don't seem interested. I very occasionally see Honey on it but not much.
The thing is that there's NO question that Honey would like to be an only cat. We always got along ok before my friend moved in but she's always been a bit titchy with the other cats. Nothing extreme but she would be very happy if she and I were the only living creatures in the house - she won't even let the other humans who live here pet her very often. Pumpkin doesn't mind other animals at all (even the dog doesn't bother him) but he's afraid of the other people aside from me.
[QUOTE=robinskitties;1042554]When I find the spots or areas, I'm cleaning them with this stuff called Scat cleaner - I'm thinking I could do better though. It doesn't seem to do a very good job. And the vents are a problem! How the heck do I clean inside the vent? :shrug:[/QUOTE]
I've never heard of Scat & unfortunately their website provides no info on what the ingredients are. What does it smell like? Does it have an Ammonia smell like Windex? Or really flowery etc?
Anything that has a bleach or ammonia smell to it will smell very similar to the base property smell of cat pee (we can't necessarily smell it unless extremely strong, but they can) and they will continue to "cover" the other smell with their own.
Using an enzymatic cleaner such as Nature's Miracle or it's homemade counterpart (recipe & directions below) will help to eliminate the odour we can't smell but they can. Not a guaranteed solution to all inappropriate elimination issues but will help clean the areas & may stop them from re-marking the same spots, and it's non-toxic.
1 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol
Mix all 3 together in clean/new spray bottle spray affected area & blot with paper towel or clean rag. Re-spray area & let dry. Can be used on all surfaces but as with any cleaner it's always good to spot test a hidden area of carpet first.
This recipe can be used as an all purpose household cleaner and in the laundry as well. White vinegar alone can also be used as all purpose cleaner & added to laundry. Isopropyl rubbing alcohol can be used as a bleach alternative as an all purpose cleaner & in laundry.
It's not ammonia because I knew that would be the wrong stuff to use but I didn't know about bleach and I don't know if that's in it. I hope not because isn't there ammonia in cat urine and aren't you not supposed to mix that with bleach? :confused:Maybe I'm thinking of something else...
Regardless, back to the task at hand, I'll try Nature's Miracle or the home remedy below. I think I'll at least try your natural mix with my steam cleaner - the pre-made steam cleansers cost a fortune and my steam cleaner just seems to pour them out (and it doesn't seem to diddly squat for the stains unless I get 'em while they're still wet which I rarely do).
I just think of how happily I and my cats lived for so long and now I come home to a house that stinks. Oh, right, I forgot, part of the problem is that one of her cats had an injured leg and can no longer squat. He always uses the litter box but it hits the wall and ends up on the floor. :eek: I ended up jury-rigging a box sitting in a large lid lined with poise pads with another lid propped against the wall. It sounds nuts but it works!
It's just a good thing I love my cats so very much...:lovestruck:
i don't have any advice to offer in regards to the behavior issue, but as for the cleaning, I have found a wonderful product that works extremely well. It's an enzyme based cleaner called Kids N Pets, endorsed by animal planet, and sold at (most) Wal-marts, or Amazon.com. I have a friend with an older kitty who likes to potty randomly around the house in his advanced years (I think it's protest at his long work hours, as he's been thoroughly checked for health problems) and even in high humidity, the treated areas don't smell. Wal-mart is your best bet money-wise, as the 32 oz bottle is about 5 bucks, U.S.
You do have to clean as much of the waste up as you can, then saturate the affected area and allow it to dry. The vents might be tricky, but perhaps some kind of fat sponge on a straightened wire hanger would be flexible enough (if you take the vent cover off, of course) to get down there to clean the worst of the pee off, then spray the kids n pets or whatever product you end up using liberally down and allow to dry.
:fingerscr:fingerscr hoping you can get things figured out and cleaned up! Good luck!
So a few questions for you -
Did these "problem children" do this before your friend moved in in their old home? If not it sounds like they are trying to assert their dominance over the others. Also if not could you use the exact same litter your friend had used in her old home?
You said you had four large boxes but never said where they are located. Are they close together? Some cats don't like having another box near them while they are using one.
Are they near a noisy appliance (dryer, washing machine, etc) which could have turned on when they were in the box(es) and scared them. So that solution is to move the boxes to another area.
If you are using storage boxes then they likely don't have lids so I won't ask if they are enclosed. Some cats just don't like enclosed boxes. Then again others do so if that is what they were used to in their old home..........
Could you try the Swheat Scoop in one, the cat attract in another, clay in yet another and pine in the last? That gives all cats the choice. Or do two Swheat Scoops, one Dr E's cat attract, and one clay.
You said you quarantined the two problem children. Did you put them together to do so or did your put them each in their own space? Putting them together in another room is only going to exacerbate the problem. As soon as one sprays or pees the other is going to follow suit. Try separating them in their own room and see if that makes a difference. Make sure those rooms have been totally cleaned of lingering pee though or you may never overcome the issue. Use a black light to check over the whole room. It will pick up any lingering spots of urine.
For your wall peer - can you use a taller box cut down on the outside so he can get in easily but the tall side toward the wall where he always pees? That way the pee is being redirected back into the box, not your wall.
How were the cats originally introduced? Were they just thrown in together and said hey, get used to each other or did you do a proper separation, scent exchange, sight but no contact, exchange of rooms, and then slow exposure to each other? It's difficult at the best of times to introduce one cat to others. When you are trying to do three extra and a dog to boot - trouble!!! You may find it beneficial to start afresh and try doing it all over again.
I use the homemade recipe for my cats. I clean the spot(s) first with a good cleaner, allow to dry, and then liberally soak the area a few times to ensure the smell is gone.
Sorry for the delay in response, if any of you are still around. :) It's been rather hectic here!
The two problem children were with me before my friend moved in. When I got them, they were NOT litter box trained which I'd never had to do before. I got them there though. When my friend moved in with her cats, they started being problem children again. It's almost certainly related to the new cats!
I have a two floor house. The new cats (the ones that came with my friend) spend 90% of their time on the top floor and there are two large boxes up there. There's one in her bedroom and one in mine (the cats spend most of the days in my room and then she takes them to bed with her).
My cats spend 90% of their time on the lower floor and there are two boxes on that floor as well. There's one in the foyer at one end of the house and one in a closet under the stairs at the other end. There's nothing that should have scared them near these boxes.
I did quarantine the problem children together. They're from the same litter and are usually pretty good with each other. That said, the boy from this pair gets along very, very well with the new cats. The girl does NOT but she doesn't really get along with any of the other cats except her brother.
I've worked out something that works quite well for the wall peer. I put the box in a large lid and line the lid with poise pads. These are absorbent enough to pick it up easily enough and I just replace them each day. This works very well actually! I still have to clean the lid that leans against the wall but that's not a big deal if I clean it every evening.
We spent over a month introducing them. Before she moved in, we swapped blankets. Then she brought them over in their crate. Once she moved in, we kept them in her room for a couple of weeks but encouraged play between them by threading string under the door.
The dog was kept in one room for quite a few months after my friend moved in. Once she seemed less likely to chase the cats (she was never mean - she just wanted to smell them and see what they were), we started letting her out on a leash. The cats still aren't very happy with her but she's definitely more afraid of them than they of her! :)
I might try the Kids 'n Pets Jassy recommended or another enzymatic I've heard about. The homemade just hasn't seemed to cut through it very well - even when used with a steam cleaner. The vents, at this point, are just blocked.
It really comes down to these two who weren't very well litter trained in the first place. Even once I got them trained, there were some issues here and there with them. It's just that now they're more likely to pee somewhere OTHER than the litter box. Maybe I'll try a reintroduction with these two.
It's funny because one of my cats is REALLY unhappy with the new cats but she still uses the litter box. We just have to keep an eye on her so she doesn't go after them - especially since they can't defend themselves!
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