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Old September 2nd, 2011, 07:47 PM
mollyandstan mollyandstan is offline
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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:
http://www.catinfo.org/?link=litterbox
http://www.catinfo.org/?link=urinarytracthealth
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 07:12 AM
mollyandstan mollyandstan is offline
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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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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........
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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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Only thing Ican add is some of my crew like lids on the box some don't so I have to have both kinds.
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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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Old September 5th, 2011, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renegaderuby View Post
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....
This definitely enters the realm of cruelty, IMO. Not to mention dangerous for the cat. Seriously, she did this to him 3 times?!? And used Goo Gone???, which lists the following health hazards on the MSDS:

Quote:
Potential Health Effects:

Acute Effects:
Eye: Causes eye irritation.
Skin: Contact may cause irritation. Prolonged or repeated contact may cause drying or cracking.
Ingestion: Symptoms may include headache, nausea, drowsiness, pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, central nervous system depression, convulsions and loss of consciousness. ASPIRATION HAZARD. Harmful or fatal if aspirated into lungs.
Inhalation: May cause headache, nausea, drowsiness, central nervous system depression, convulsions and loss of consciousness.
Wow, this person needs to reevaluate her relationship with cats. What a doofus. There are better ways to achieve the same goal, it's just too bad for her cat that she wasn't smart enough to figure them out.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:06 AM
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In my opinion, something has scared him from using the litter box, coming from a hoarding situation, it could be as simple as your other cat accidentally scaring him while he is using the bathroom or a bit of pain while he is going. If so, then I would try a total change in litter type as well as box type as Stan may associate any smell/texture to the incident that caused him to stop using the box. I have both covered and uncovered boxes, the uncovered being a storage bin that I cut a walkway for the cats to enter. Jasper is only 11 lbs, but prefers a large box so he can move around.

Good luck!


Quote:
Originally Posted by renegaderuby View Post
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.
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.
Very sad for that kitty
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Old September 5th, 2011, 01:41 PM
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renegaderuby renegaderuby is offline
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YES I AGREE , it was certianly not something I would do with a kitty. And I dont know if was actually goo gone. I j ust used that word. She may not have used goo gone per say. I just know she had to get something to get it off, so she wouldnt YANK hair out, and hurt the kitty.
I only told her story because I wanted to give the OP the idea that some people have gone to extreme lengths to stop kitty from innapropriate potty issues. I guess I should have typed it in BOLD, that I dissagree with what she did. Sigh...sorry.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 10:12 PM
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Coming from a hoarding situation your kitty was probably used to going wherever and whenever he had the need and not being corrected. I would also suggest confining to a bathroom during the day and out at night. Cats are very indifferent to any kind of correcting, like renegaderuby said. If the litter doesn't work, maybe you could try sand? If they stay indoors you don't run the risk of them getting used to going in sand and fowling up a child's sandbox when they are allowed outside. I'm lucky to have never had a problem with my cats using their litter boxes. Dr.s Foster and Smith has feliway spray. They also have several types of training aids.

As far as aluminum foil goes, it doesn't work for crap. Cats are smarter than aluminum foil. I have a cat that marked everywhere when she was in heat. She would pee on the couch every time she was in heat. Me sitting on the couch didn't stop her she would still pee in between the couch cushions and me if I was in the way. I got the bright idea to put aluminum foil where she was peeing and she just peed on the aluminum foil. She didn't care one bit about it. Although it did make it easier to clean up!
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Old September 26th, 2011, 05:41 PM
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litters

My cat had a similar problem, she was a stray and when I brought her home from the shelter (where they used feline pine) she wouldn't use the clay litter we had. I went and got some feline pine and she began using it for urinating, but not defecating.
We tried many different types of litter including Fresh Step Naturals (a saw dust like litter), Fresh Step Crystals (small blur crystal like litter), and even a rodent bedding since she seemed to prefer carpet to litter and it is soft like carpet. Never got around to trying the wheat or newspaper litters as the problem resolved, mostly. But I would never think of trying the corn litters as when corn is in a wet and warm environment it can grow a fungus that creates aflatoxin which is dangerous for cats (http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/art...t-litters.html)

I would definitely go with more litter boxes and bigger litter boxes, as this helped me. I also got to the point where I would keep her in the bathroom while I was gone, particularly if she had not gone recently and I thought she had to go. She had food, water, toys, sometimes her beloved scratching post, and of course her litter boxes. I used an old towel for a bath mat as that's easier to clean more often. When I got back and she had used the box properly, or whenever she used it properly I would and still do say 'good girl' a lot and give her a treat of some wet food. I even started singing her a song about being a good girl for making pee-pee or poopy in her litter box. I know a lot of people don't think cats really listen to what we say, but I think my relentless repetition of the fact that she needed to use her litter and that she would get a treat for doing so was part of why she finally got it.
A few times when she seemed like she needed to go but walked away, I locked myself in there with her and placed her in the box, telling her to use the litter until she did - time consuming I know, but worth it when she does use the box.

It is also really important to thoroughly clean the spots where Stan goes on the floor, you may not be able to smell it, but he sure can. Use an enzyme cleaner that actually breaks down the urine smell, use pet safe air fresheners, or even put objects in the way.

Now she uses the box with no persuasion, I still usually remind her to use the litter before I leave and before I go to sleep. I still give her a treat of some food most of the time. She has only had a couple instances of lapsing on her litter usage and that seemed to be related to a dirty box or stress.

Just keep at it, do everything and anything you can think of to encourage Stan to use the box with love, treats or food, play time, etc. Be patient, be consistent, and most of all be patient.
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