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Old 01-31-2013, 01:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default getting cats to use new litter boxes

I have 2, for 2 kitties, and they're ancient - about 12 and 11 years (the boxes, I mean). They smell a little, even though I wash them out every 3 weeks, and I really want to get rid of them.

I bought a new one several months ago (primarily to try to stop Celia from pooping on my bed), washed it thoroughly, filled it with the same litter, and put it in the bedroom. Not even a sniff. So I put it in the bathroom as an extra. They sort of peered in once and then ignored it. I finally took away one of the old ones and put the new one in its place. They absolutely would not use it - in fact they acted like they were afraid of it. I tried again a couple of days ago, because the litter level was getting seriously low and I didn't have time to wash the boxes. They still won't use it, so I put the old one back.

The new one looks different and is a different kind of plastic, but I can't find the old rectangular ones anymore. The current ones are all kind of rounded and look bulkier than the ones I have. The color of the new one is darker - blue rather than beige. Maybe the color's freaking them out?

Has anyone had this problem before? Is it just my kitties? I don't want to risk taking away both of the old ones to make them use the new one.

It just shouldn't be this hard to get them to use a new litterbox.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is a a new one on me! I've never heard of such a thing. I just put a new high sided box down and had no problems. When you say you filled the new boxes with the new litter did you mean the same brand or the same used litter? Perhaps transferring the same urine/feces scented litter might have helped. Wish I could be more helpful. I sincerely hope your bed is not the fallback box.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have 3 cats and I had this problem when I switched one of my boxes to a corner type box. They REFUSED to go in there. I'm sure it didn't help that I was changing litter on them as well (clay to wood pellets) so it was a double change. I allowed them to use only the old box and I even put some poop in the new one, still nope.

So I slowly transitioned the old clay box to the pellets. The new box had all wood pellets in it AND I switched the new box with where the old box was. Location was key. They started to get interested in it. Perhaps they thought, "well, if we used to poop here, and now this THING is here, maybe it's where we poop now!" And since both boxes were transitioned to wood pellets and they were used to them they now recognized the new litter as where they relieve themselves. Good luck to you!
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have the same problem with Artie. He uses just the corner of the box and kicks the litter out all over the floor. I bought a high sided one.
I washed it out, filled it with clean litter and placed it down. When time came to use it. Artie stopped short, sniffed it, looked at it, then at me, stepped in, and walked out staring at me. As it to say, "You want me to use THAT!"
and walked away.

I gave up, put down the old box--which I had washed--dumped the litter in it.
Artie ran to it, jumped inside and peed!!!
He wins--but I still have the new one...probably donate it...
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If the new box is filled with new litter the only thing I would recommend is dumping out the new litter and filling the new box with used litter instead. You could even add some waste when you scoop the old litter box directly to the new box. If your old boxes smell even when clean then your cats are probably used to the smell which helps them know where they're supposed to go. The new boxes don't smell like a litter box to them so they're probably confused. Hopefully if they smell right your cats might be a little more at ease about the different shape/color too.

When I brought Moxie in from outside I filled a new litter box with litter my other cat had used. Far as I know Moxie had never used a litter box before, but she had a good sniff and knew right away what it was for.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i'd definitely put some used litter in it and see what happens.

my cats have always seemed happy to use new boxes. at first they were slightly suspicious of the booda dome but it held so much more litter they got happy about it soon.

every single one of them has jumped in the tidy cat bucket and used the new litter when i was trying to change it. even though i just saved buckets to put the wood pellets in, i forgot to put the lid on one last night and houdini jumped in and peed in the new bucket. fortunately it wasn't full anyway and i just dumped it all in the litter box but then i had to wash the bucket. i don't want it to end up smelling like pee and have them try to use it. baci has already peed on the hard plastic lid of one bucket. (once. i can't even imagine trying to balance on the lid and pee on it but he did, without even spilling any haha.)
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks to all! It would have never occurred to me to put used litter in the box (that's the OCD part of me). I need to think more like a cat.

artiesmom, this is the 3rd go-round with a new litter box. I think I try every 2-3 years - the local SPCA got the first two brand new ones. But the current boxes are bugging me so much that I'm determined to make this work.

cinderflower, right now I'd be thrilled if Celia peed in a bucket...Yesterday, she peed on my bed. Not sure what that was about. There's only been one instance of peeing outside of the litter box in all the time I've had them, and I don't know who the guilty party was. I usually keep the bedroom door closed, because Celia will poop on my bed when she's constipated, but I forgot yesterday. Pee is waaaay worse than poop. I sprayed about half the bottle of Nature's Miracle on the comforter - which I only bought a couple of months ago, of course. Why did I buy it? Because she'd pooped on the first one.
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