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Old 03-12-2007, 07:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat is scared of her litter box

To start, I discovered she'd been peeing in my bedroom, and apparently the hallway for quite some time (I have 2 cats, so I couldn't tell scooping the litter boxes). When I first discovered it a few weeks ago, I thought it was an isolated incidence. I found it again and grabbed a blacklight. It is BAD. The entire perimeter of the bedroom, hallway, and one spot in my living room. Now, she refuses to use the box at all.
I have taken her to the vet, no UTI/crystals. I bought her a 3rd litter box after reading stickies here. She won't go near it (tried 3 different litters). I can't even place her in it- she cries and struggles. Luckily, the house doesn't stink, yet, but I'm unsure how to proceed. I can handle cleanup or carpet replacement, but I need her to start using the box again. This is very frustrating.

Thanks,
Aaron
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Aaron, what kind of boxes are you using? And what kind of litters have you tried? Have you tried different boxes, too? Where are the boxes located? Is the other cat preventing her from getting to a box?
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Let's see-

Largest pans I can get (Newest is a Rubbermaid-type container). I have tried 2 differing brands of clumping, Feline Pine, and sWheat (spelling?). All 3 boxes have been changed, one in the laundry room where they've been forever, one in the bathroom off the Master BR, and now one in my "offfice"/computer room- and the older cat seldom even comes in here while the problem cat stays with me most of the time. There is zero animosity between the 2 cats, that's why this is so perplexing.

Are there any softer litters? She seems afraid of the litter itself, not the box. Maybe she hates the feel of the litters I've used (tried crystal and plain clay in the past- BOTH cats hated it. I use the pine for my rats, so it was already around).
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Arm and Hammer is about the finest, softest clumping clay litter I'm aware of. What kind of litter was in the boxes when she last used them regularly? Have you tried going back to that? Or was that the litter that she first got phobic about? Is there anything you can remember happening that might have spooked her about using the litterbox?

BTW, if I'm understanding this right, she's just urinating outside the box, right? She's pooping in it all right?
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Full litterbox aversion. To be honest, she hasn't used the box now for about a year, I'd guess. I didn't know she'd been peeing outside the box. Poop was simple to clean, so I guess it was just lazy on mine and my wife's part.

I've used Arm and Hammer and Tidy Cat in the main boxes (whichever was cheaper) for the last 6+ years. She'd used those for several years until she quit. I know of nothing that would have upset her. No kids or anything. I went back to working nights, but that leaves someone here 24/7 to entertain her.

I'm waiting for her to pee on the carpet again, and I'm going to soak it up with a paper towel and place it in the litter box. Maybe I can "bait" her?
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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No, I don't think that will work.

What I'd suggest is the following plan: isolate her in a small room with a litterbox, food, water, bedding, and everything she needs. A room with a window and window perch is best. She needs to be in there full time. Cats don't normally like to mess up their nesting areas, so the purpose is to establish that room as her nesting area and give her the litterbox as the only option. Use Cat Attract brand litter in her litterbox.

While you're doing this, conduct a rigorous full-house cleanup using a cat urine enzymatic cleaner such as Nature's Miracle. Buy the gallon size. The biggest mistake most people make is to not use enough. Every spot needs to be completely soaked. Follow the steps in the urine sticky. Use the blacklight to make sure you've got all the spots. Don't let her out of the room until she's using the litterbox.

If this doesn't work, my last suggestion is to work with a feline behaviorist to figure out what behavioral issue is causing this. If the trigger that initiated the behavior is ongoing, then it can only be stopped if the behavioral trigger is removed.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice. I have the gallon jug of Nature's Miracle, plus a spray bottle of Simple Solutions, and the blacklight. I think we're changing the entire flooring in our bedroom, so cleanup will be "easy" in there. The hallway will be more difficult. I'll start her on lockdown tomorrow. Is there any way to curb the guilt from her crying? I sleep during the day, and she is right there in my bed 99% of the time. It'll likely be harder on me than her

What if the lockdown room is the one she defaces the most? Not the best way to fix it, huh? I'll use my office after I cat-proof it tonight.
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sounds like a good plan.
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Old 03-13-2007, 05:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Try this too:

http://www.amazon.com/Feliway-75mL-S...3822756&sr=8-1

This is supposed to works wonders. I know it's helping tazz with his dog attack incident and wild cats spraying around our house stuff too.
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Isolation Day 1

Well, I decided to use a bathroom for her "quarantine" room. The carpet in my office is the same as the bedroom (sans urine ), and I was afraid she'd make her own association. She's been in there all of 20 minutes, and her crying is KILLING me. I'm the big tough-guy bodybuilder- it shouldn't bother me.

Anyway, she has her favorite toys, a fresh, clean litter box, food, water, Catsip, and my terry cloth bathrobe to lay on (maybe my smell will help comfort her?). Everything is soaked down with Nature's Finest (that power sprayer is nice), and I'm going to bed. I'll check on her in about 8 hours. When should I do supervised "leave"?
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