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Old September 2nd, 2011, 07:47 PM
mollyandstan mollyandstan is offline
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Location: Halifax, NS
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Question Cat won't use litter, I've tried EVERYTHING!

My boyfriend and I adopted a four year old male cat from the SPCA two years ago as a companion cat for our older female cat. His personality is shy - the employee at the SPCA told us that he came from a hoarding situation and we took him home because he looked so sad and scared hiding underneath his cat bed. We had a few problems once we gave him some time to adjust to our apartment - he began peeing on the bath mat a couple of weeks after we brought him home. We started hanging the bathmat up and as long as it remained that way, he would use the litter box.

He has been fine up until about four or five months ago. Since then, he has taken up peeing and pooping on the floor in the bathroom and in our sun room. We took him to the vet, and she checked him out and told us that there is nothing wrong with him, it's completely behavioural. She recommended moving the litter boxes to the spots he pees and poops on, and getting a third box for the spot in the sun room. We did this and it worked for a brief period. Soon, he was back to peeing and pooping on the floor.

We're pretty much at our wits end. We keep the litter clean, we've tried changing types of litters, I've used tinfoil in spots where he goes outside the litter boxes, then he just goes beside the tinfoil. We haven't moved residence, his relationship with the older cat has stayed the same, furniture hasn't been moved. I did recently move the bathroom litter boxes to the sun room and placed one box in each place where he pees/poops but he is still going outside of the box. One of the boxes is much larger than the others so he has lots of room to move around in it but he still won't use it. Our last resort would be to keep him in our bedroom for a couple of days with food and a litter box to try and retrain him but I would feel so guilty keeping him confined to one room - our room isn't very big to begin with and I don't want to risk him beginning to use our bed or laundry basket as a bathroom.

Fortunately, our other cat is very forgiving and adjusts to change well - I could put the litter boxes on top of the fridge and she would find it and use it without incident.

Should we just give up and buy a puppy training pad for the sun room? He'd probably still just poop/pee on the floor beside it. I need some ideas and advice!
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 09:55 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Hi mollyandstan, welcome to pets.ca.

What types of litters have you tried (brand, type, scented or unscented, etc)? How much litter do you put in the box? (couple inches? more? less?)

I know you say you keep the box clean but different people have different ideas of what "clean" is, so just to confirm, how often do the boxes get scooped?

How much does he (Stan?) weigh? Perhaps he needs an even bigger box, like one of those under-the-bed storage boxes. I find even the really big litter boxes sold at most pet stores are still woefully small.

Couple things to try if you haven't already:

Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter works great at convincing most cats to use the litter box again.

Feliway spray and room diffusers. Plug the diffusers in a room or two that he uses frequently (not where the litter boxes are though), and use the spray directly on the areas that he's peeing. Which reminds me, what are you cleaning the urine spots with?

And lastly, what do your kitties eat? Diet plays a huge role in urinary tract health and even though the vet said he doesn't have anything medically wrong (what tests were done, do you know?), he could still have chronic low-level cystitis that makes him feel uncomfortable and causes him to avoid litter boxes. Wet food can help with that.

Some links to check out:
"To close your eyes will not ease another's pain." ~ Chinese Proverb

“We must not refuse to see with our eyes what they must endure with their bodies.” ~ Gretchen Wyler
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 07:12 AM
mollyandstan mollyandstan is offline
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Location: Halifax, NS
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Thanks for the tips! We've tried different types of clumping clay litter, scented and unscented. Right now we're trying out the Arm and Hammer natural clumping litter because it's easier on the cats' digestive tracts. I haven't seen the Cat Attract litter before but will be on the hunt for it!

Stan (you're right!) is about 11 lbs. I believe the vet called him "chunky". I don't think he looks really overweight, he has a habit of curling up into a Popple position which makes him pretty tiny. Both of our cats eat MediCal Dental food from the vet. We don't usually give them wet food because the other cat, Molly, has a pretty sensitive stomach and barfs a lot. When I've given Molly the hypo-allergenic wet food from the vet in her diet before, she usually spends the next couple of days barfing and suffering from diarrhea. We usually leave food in their bowls all day long because if we don't, Molly will over eat at meal time and then will blow her entire dinner. I can try giving just Stanley some wet food though - let's hope Molly doesn't get too jealous! I will also pick up one of those under the bed storage bins. We have two regular sized litter boxes and one large one - it's the largest I've ever seen that's still a litter box. But maybe if we get a storage bin, we can get rid of the two smaller boxes.

I'll try this stuff out and see how things go over the next week.
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 07:48 AM
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14+kitties 14+kitties is offline
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So when you say you've tried everything have you tried Swheat Scoop, Feline, Fresh, Feline Pine, Yesterday's News, etc? These are litters that are wheat based, pine based (yes, trees), and recycled newspapers. There are also a few others that I haven't mentioned. Lots of different options available beside the ol' crappy clay and they are much better for the environment than is clay.
I'm a little confused by your comment about using the Arm and Hammer because it's better for their digestive tracts though........
Assumptions do nothing but make an ass out of u and me.

We can stick our heads in the sand for only so long before it starts choking us. Face it folks. The pet population is bad ALL OVER THE WORLD!
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 07:50 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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What if you put the old bathmat in a big cardboard box. Then put the litter box in the middle of the cardboard box? Our situation was a bit different but this is what worked for us. One cat took to pooping just outside the litter box. We watched and it was because she like to perch on the edge of the litter box and sometimes she faced the wrong way. Worth a try?
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Old September 4th, 2011, 11:41 PM
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Location: Bay Area CA
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Only thing Ican add is some of my crew like lids on the box some don't so I have to have both kinds.
"The cat is the mirror of his human's mind… the dog mirrors his human's physical appearance." -Winifred Carriere
"A dog is the only thing that can mend a crack in your broken heart" -Unknown
When a Cat adopts you there is nothing to be done about it except to put up with it until the wind changes. TS Elliot
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Old September 5th, 2011, 03:43 AM
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renegaderuby renegaderuby is offline
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I personally would confine him to the bathroom (or any non carpeted room) when you are not home to supervise him. He can romp and play when you are there. If you cacth him in the act of innappropriate pee,or pooing , then you can correct him IN the act. (although with cats, most of them are higly "indifferent, of scolding or correcting)... But while you are away, I'd put him confined to a room, with no carpet, and the GIANT box you plan on having. Then when you are home, let him out, and give him a treat if he pooed or peed in that giant box. May work , May not...but at least your having less clean up everywhere, and dont have to do a "hunt" of where stan let loose.

Edit> (ONLY posting this to explain that some people do go to great lentghs to stop kitty from innapropriate potty issues. I am not condoning nor suggesting below action)
Side Note:
my friend once had a kitty that liked the laundry basket and one paticular corner of her bedroom closet to potty in. She tried everything you have...and then one day an idea hit. It sounds so cruel, and i wouldnt do it, but it did work.
She put extra sticky duct tape , tape side up, in the NO NO spots. ....after having duct tape stuck to his feet, and then everything else on his body because he was trying to get it off....he learned to stay away from those spots. ( left the tape on him for a day or so , to let him be good and annoyed)..then she got it off with goo gone. Then he got a bath because of the goo gone. needless to say..he was one UNHAPPY kitty at the end of it all. She only had to do this three times. He has never went in her closet or basket again. he wont even go IN the closet, or CLIMB INTO a basket now.

Last edited by renegaderuby; September 5th, 2011 at 01:43 PM.
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