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I'm at my wits end! Cat refusing to use the litter box.

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  • I'm at my wits end! Cat refusing to use the litter box.

    I LOVE my cat Schmee. I just don't know how long I can deal with this.

    I found him as a tiny kitten and did everything I could to litter train him. He KNOWS what to do, he just often chooses not to do it. I always blamed myself for not cleaning the box quick enough, or leaving a shirt on the floor.

    He's destroyed my hardwood floors (in my RENTAL so that'll be a nice bill when I move out), and god forbid I try to keep a bathmat for more than a week.

    I don't know what else I can do. He's got 2 huge boxes that I keep clean. I just took him to the vet and he has no urinary infections or problems. He's on ID cat food for urine issues and we even put him on amitriptyline to see if that would help.

    This morning he had 2 clean boxes and I wake up to him peeing on my leather boot.

    My other cat Goose has NO issues. Never goes anywhere but the box.

    They are both males and both neutered. In the past I've tried having up to 4 boxes. Special cat litter, special sprays around the house.. nothing!

    The other day I was in a rush and grabbed a sweater that was laying on my dresser and got to school (i'm a teacher) and realized it had been peed on... ahhhhhh!

    I won't get rid of him. He's my cat and my responsibility .. but what can I do???
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

  • #2
    Have you ever left him in a small room with the litterbox? Like the bathroom for atleast a week. It worked with our cats who were litter trained and decided they didn't want to be anymore.

    ETA: Are you sure he's not just marking? Are the two cats getting along?
    Last edited by callmegold; Jan. 11, 2013, 09:05 AM. Reason: question


    • #3
      I would put him in a crate with a litter box for a couple of weeks. I am also sold on cat attract litter.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        Here's a link for Cat Attract litter, like Laurie suggested. I'd give that a try, along with putting him in a small room for a time. http://www.preciouscat.com/product/cat-attract/
        If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
        Desmond Tutu


        • #5
          Litterbox in the dog crate is good for retraining. I would suggest that you consider a bladder ultrasound and possibly prozac. If the bladder is really inflamed, atopica may help.


          • #6
            Here is a wild guess, maybe he is not dominate and afraid to pee were your other male cat has peed.
            Is there a way to make a litter box cover so that only he can use it (smaller door than other cat can fit in). Or a magnetic door fit over a closed box, and only he has a magnet on his collar?
            I've only seen animals pee on top of other pee when they are marking the territory as theirs. Maybe your cat is subordinate - and won't pee there because of that.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
              I would put him in a crate with a litter box for a couple of weeks. I am also sold on cat attract litter.
              Second this - my big dumb cat, who was previously well littertrained, decided (after I stupidly tried to introduce a new brand of litter) that he'd much rather pee on the floor than in a box. He vetted clean (ouch, that was expensive), and I tried a bunch of fixes (including the cat attract litter) - nothing worked until I broke down and invested in a cat condo - http://www.petco.com/product/112629/...sultRedirect=1 - this is the one I have. Dude is crated during the day when I'm at work, during his mealtimes and in the beginning, at night. Basically, if I wasn't able to keep an eye on him, he was in the condo. In the morning, he didn't come out until he peed, at which point, he could come out and hang with the rest of us, the same after I got home, and at mealtimes. He was able to "graduate" to nights loose in the kitchen (hard floors, which aren't as much fun to pee on) - the condo is set up in the breakfast nook.

              Currently, he's only crated during the day when no one is at home, and during mealtimes (mostly to keep the dogs from stealing his food). He's VERY good about using his box, and he definitely seems to have a bit of a routine, which helps me to be really obsessive about cleaning his litter box. I won't say he loves his condo (he doesn't hang out in there voluntarily), but he doesn't hate it, and he uses it, so it was well worth the time and the little bit of money I spent on it.

              It took a long time (a year plus) of the following the new routine, but he's good 99.9% of the time. It was a major hassle at first (and it's still a little bit of a pain), but if you're committed to the cat, it's very doable.


              • #8
                I found this article from Cornell when my mother was having trouble with her cat.


                Even though her cat was an only cat, she was a rescue and had so much anxiety that she wasn't drinking regularly which led to kidney trouble and inappropriate elimination. She was put on prozac for a while and canned food and that seemed to solve the problem.

                There are many reasons--thankfully, there are many solutions. The problem is matching the right solution with the right problem!
                Good luck.
                "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                • Original Poster

                  So I can put him in a wire dog crate with a litter box and leave him there 24/7 for a few weeks? I feel like that's sort of cruel :/

                  Then again I can't take the pee.
                  http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                  • #10
                    I have an older cat who stopped using the litter box, or rather he would only use it once and then after it was wet he refused to step in there again and would go on the rugs. I really think he didn't like to get his feet wet.

                    My solution was to use Puppy Pads. They work great! I put them on the floor just outside of the litter box (which my 2 other cats use) and he pees and poops on the nice fresh white squares and I throw them away. They also absorb the moisture so he could use it again if he has to,but I'm pretty quick to get rid the wet ones. Neat, clean, cheap.


                    • #11
                      Ugh, I'm sorry. Nothing quite like the smell of cat pee.

                      Here's more literature written by a veterinary behavioralist. Maybe it will have something new that you haven't tried?



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                        So I can put him in a wire dog crate with a litter box and leave him there 24/7 for a few weeks? I feel like that's sort of cruel :/

                        Then again I can't take the pee.

                        The trick with cats in cages is offering a multi-level habitat that they feel safe in.
                        Often the litter box is placed at floor level, with upper levels used for food, rest & play; include a (secured) scratching surface, toys, & bed (try to offer closed & open sleep areas).

                        If you use a dog crate, be sure to place this on a table rather than on the floor, & choose the great dane size so that there can be some separation of litter area & food. Use the sort of litter box that includes charcoal filters & a door to minimize stray odors. Make sure there is a "shelf" for sleeping even if it's just a sturdy box.

                        For litter training, expect kitty to be in the crate for at least 2 weeks, then graduate to a single room for another couple of weeks, then slowly re-introduce kitty back into the main house: start with just a hour or so where you can monitor constantly, then gradually increase this. As soon as there is an accident, return kitty to full time crate duty for at least a few days, & then back to monitored excursions.

                        Some cats never become 100% litter trained, it may be that Schmee needs to be a single cat, or has some other need that you'll never sort out ...

                        I assume the ID cat food is a wet food so no chance of constipation? has he ever had any pain related urinary issues? does he just stop & pee "wherever" or does he have a "ritual"? Are you sure that he's not "marking" as opposed to just not using the litter box?


                        • #13
                          I went through this when I tried to bring our barn cat (Dice) home when a rescue bought our barn and we had to leave. Cat #1 (Loki) is a small calico who has been known to chase larger cats out of their own back yards. I did the who slow introduction thing, isolating him at night, etc. Although it was clear that the two cats were not best friends, I had it under control. Or so I thought. Then I started teaching again in the fall and, after about three weeks, all h@!! (or all urine) broke loose. Dice actually peed in front of me on the kitchen floor and the bathroom floor a couple of times. And the sofa, which has still not recovered.

                          Cue expensive vet check, purchase of Anti Icky Poo cleaning stuff, and an additional (third) cat box.

                          I locked him in the bathroom for a couple of days during the day and put him in his room at night. He would use the box better in the bathroom than in his room. I seriously began to wonder how long a cat could hold urine. I tried to keep the two cats separated, even when I was there, no easy feat in a 984 sq ft house. I started letting him out all day when I was gone and there he would be waiting for me when I got home. The neighbors loved him. But, I could tell that both cats were not happy. He'd get a haunted look in his eye. She lost (more) weight.

                          I was on the verge of either buying a crate (we crated him initially at the barn, at floor level, for a few weeks when I first brought him there) or finding him a new gig as a barn cat.

                          But then we were able to move to yet another barn (yes, that's two moves in less than six months) and this barn is cat friendly. So, I brought him back to the barn. We lock him in the office in a crate (on the ground, tho I am now having guilt pangs and thinking about getting him a multi-level one). We have to crate him until we figure out how to keep him from escaping out of the office. He's happy. The kids at the barn love him. Loki is very happy. I miss having him, but not his pee, at home.

                          So, I guess my point in all this is that maybe there is some sort of cat vs cat issue?
                          The Evil Chem Prof


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                            So I can put him in a wire dog crate with a litter box and leave him there 24/7 for a few weeks? I feel like that's sort of cruel :/

                            Then again I can't take the pee.
                            I caught two feral cats. Trapped. The vet suggested i keep them crated for a week to reduce the stress of contact with humans before spaying. I had them in a large dog crate with a litter box. After they were spayed i kept them in the crate for another week to fully heal. I felt bad about restraining them but spaying was to priority. When i released them, they continued to use the liter even though they are now loose in the barn.