|Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)|
Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
|Purred: Thu Jun 16, '11 9:15pm PST |
|Two cats I have who peed outside the litterbox, happily pee in a box lined with newspaper that I placed next to the litterboxess. Another problem with a cat pottying outside the box problem was solved when I placed litterboxes at opposite ends of the house so that the cat in question could go use the box at the opposite end of the house if the cat she is afraid of happened to be by the main place the litterboxes are kept. Baby kittens like very young children, sometimes wait til the last minute to take time out to go relieve themselves & they can easily get confused as to where the litterpan is or underestimate the time it takes to reach the pan. At least two pans, one at each end of the house, one upstairs etc, is a good idea with a young kitten in a big house.
With multiple cats, you should have multiple litterpans and scoop them every day or two & change them as soon as they start smelling "pissy". Most cats don't want to use a dirty stinky box. Multiple pans do a lot to minimize the likelihood of cats beginning housesoiling due to litterpans quickly filling up with waste.
Another thing cats don't like is a litterpan that's way too small. I've seen some covered pans for sale that were so short in height a cat couldn't comfortably stand up in them & so small in width that a cat couldn't easily turn around in them. I was suprised anybody would manufacture a litterpan too small for a cat to stand in. A kitten could use it sure, but a kitten grows up very quickly. No cat is going to use a litterpan he can't stand up and move around in. So far, I've never had a cat yet that was willing to use a covered pan with a door in it, I've always had to remove the door before any cat was willing to use it.
With litterpans for multiple cats, bigger is better. Some cats will refuse to use a covered litterpan, most cats prefer a litter pan that's not covered, some cats will housesoil rather than use a covered litterpan, which is why I have both covered and uncovered litterpans. Litterpans should be placed in areas of the house that are out of the way & quiet. A lot of cats will perch on the side of a litterpan when using it, some cats will stand while urinating in the pan and end up getting some urine outside the box. One solution for this is to put the litterpan in a cardboard box that has high sides and back, but the side facing the front of the pan is cut off so the cat can easily get in and out of the litterpan. Such a box can be lined with contact paper on the sides with a sheet of plastic or newspaper or both on the bottom. This will effectively catch any urine that goes above the height of the litterpan itself. Some cats may need a litterpan with low sides. Hallie for instance, had to have a litterpan with low sides for quite a while after I first got her, because she couldn't get into the typical height litterpan.
There are many things that can be effectively used as litterpans, heavy rubber livestock feeding dishes, underbed storage boxes, plastic dishpans, big plastic tubs sold for people to use to catch the oil under their cars when changing their own oil, etc. The little plastic boxes hospitals give people to keep their personal items in are a good size to use for a litterpan in a cat's traveling crate. Metal containers do not make good litterpans due to the effects of urine on them & the difficulty scraping the wet litter out of them when changing them. BTW cheap plastic paint scrapers,they're always yellow wherever Ive seen them sold, are great for scraping the wet litter out of the bottom of a litterpan when changing it, also good for scraping sloppy stools off the sides of a litterpan.
Some cats may object to a particular brand or type of cat litter. I had a mass refusal to use the pans when I tried scoopable litter, the cats hated it. However I have friends with multiple cats whose cats prefer the scoopable litter. Another time I tried the chlorophyll litter that was briefly on the market, the cats made their disgust known to me in a hurry. Perhaps cat objections is why chlorophyll litter didn't stay on the market very long! I haven't tried any of the fancy litterpan systems such as Litter Maid, to me such systems wouldn't be very practical in a multiple cat situation. In a pinch where I absolutely had to change a litterpan & had no litter on hand, I used cedar shaving temporarily until I could get to the store & the cats did willingly use the cedar shavings.
One cat I had long ago would pee right down the bathtub drain & when I started leaving the toilet lid up, he trained himself to use the toilet. The drawback was he enjoyed flushing it too, even if it didn't need flushed, he was fascinated watching the water swirl down.
Some of the feral cats I've had, had to be started out using potting soil because they didn't know what litter was. These cats were gradually converted to litter by mixing more litter into the soil and gradually reducing the soil amount until the cats were totally converted to litter. Overall, my cats & I have been most satisfied with regular Tidy Cat clay litter, not very dusty and has a pleasant scent and it's economical for a multiple cat household. I've used everything from dishpans to huge square plastic tubs made to catch oil under cars, for litterpans. I sprinkle a bit of rose potpourri oil into the filter on top of the covered litterpans & keep decorative containers of rose potpourri near the other litterpans for a nice scent. Strangely though, it's become very difficult to find rose potpourri oil now though, so soon I'll probably be forced to choose a different scent. Stay away from most generic cat litters, they tend to be very dusty, put a heavy film of dust all over everything in the room & irritate cats eyes & nasal membranes.
The way I deal with cats who have persistent problems with going outside of the litter box & who didn't respond to these other methods is to crate them in size 500 or size 700 extra large airline dog crates. These sizes are for extra-large dogs and are roomy enough for a cat to have her bed, her litter pan, food, water, etc. The cat cannot spray outside of the crate in any spot except the front door & although I've never had a cat spray out the crate door, I keep a throw rug in front of the crate just in case. The solid plastic walls of the bottom half of the crate are easy to clean with either a mixture of water with a little bleach added to it or alternatively a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. Solid dirt can be easily swept up with a whisk broom and small dustpan..
When setting the crate up for a cat, I first line the floor of the crate with newspapers to help soak up any liquids. I place a folded towel in the back of the crate for the cat's bed and place the litterpan near the front of the crate so the cat can hide in the back if she wants to while I clean and change the litter, refill the food dish, etc. You want the bed in the back of the crate & you want everything else situated between the bed in the back and the door so you don't have to reach past the cat to get to the litter, food, water etc. This way it's much harder for the cat to try to escape out the door as you reach in and if you're dealing with a frightened cat, you can do your care routine without having to get too close to those teeth and claws. I also usually give the cat a couple of toys too.
I usually give the cat a non-tippable water dish and put it by the door and hang a quart rabbit water dispenser (Lixit bottle) on the door. That way the cat has the dish for water while she learns to drink from the bottle. Most cats get the hang of drinking from a quart rabbit bottle within a few days. The food dish can be placed in any convenient spot, as long as it's not in the back of the crate.
I've had some cats who after being clean in the crate for a couple of weeks, would be clean in the house again after that. I've had some cats who would be clean when kept in a small room such as the bathroom but not be clean if given run of the house.
I've used these crates many many times for sick cats, cats who were recovering from surgery, cats who I needed to monitor for some reason, cats who needed to be confined or isolated for some reason, frightened rescued cats, cats with potty problems-either sprayers or a cat that refuses to use the litterpan reliably, & I've socialized a number of feral cats using the extra large plastic dog airline crates, ferals CAN be socialized btw but it can take up to a year for the cat to go from feral to acceptably social.
All the cats I've ever kept in these extra large dog crates quickly learned to like the crate because they feel safe in them. To the cat the crate is a nice safe den. With a really frightened cat, I cover the cage with a blanket so that it's all dark except for the door. That way the cat can hide in the back and feel safe. I gauge my actions by the cat's behavior. If a cat is fairly calm and social, I don't put the blanket over the crate. Even very social cats like these crates. I have one cat now who is crated because while she loves humans, she's terrified of other cats and also refuses to urinate in a litter pan although she defecates in the litterpan. She is happy and secure in the crate. When I open the door, she rarely ever tries to get out and if she does, she quickly turns around and goes back into the crate. She knows that in the crate, she's safe from the other cats, although they wouldn't hurt her. She already had this fear of other cats when I adopted her as a 10 year old. I have her in the top crate of two stacked crates, which puts her up at human hand and eye level where she can easily interact with humans and where the other cats can't come right up to the door of her crate and upset her.
An even larger roomier alternative is a tall wire cat cage that has a pan in the bottom and two sleeping platforms that you can place at two different heights. I keep the sleeping platforms covered with towels pinned in place so the platforms stay covered, because the surface of the platforms of the cage I have is of a somewhat rough texture, enough that it was rubbing hair off the back of one cat's hind legs. The towels neatly solved that problem. I line the floor of this cage with newspaper, then put in a litter pan, a food dish, and in the corner, a non-tippable water dish. I have a quart rabbit bottle water dispenser hanging on the cage above the water dish. One of the cats that's in that cage now has learned to drink from the dispenser, the other one hasn't figured it out yet. This cage is roomy enough to comfortable house two elderly spayed female cats, one 9 years old and the other is 13, both who often pee outside the litterpan. A wire cage works fine for cats who do not spray, but for cats who spray the 500 or 700 extra large dog crate is definitely the best solution all the way around for humans and for the cats.
Crating is the best solution for all concerned. The cat gets to live out its life in comfort, the human has the cat in a situation where any messes are confined and easy to clean up. Crating also is ideal for situations where you need to monitor the cat's health, particularly in the case of cats with urinary problems where you need to be sure the cat is drinking & urinating adequately.
I've had several cats who developed a problem with peeing outside the litterpan, who were crated & after two weeks consistently using litter without accidents, were released to have freedom of the whole house again and these cats continued being clean about going to the litterpan. Why they started house soiling or why confinement was effective retraining them to use their litterpans, I don't know. There wasn't any illness, no new cats or strange cat smells from anybody elses cat, nothing I could see to even begin to be a possible trigger for those cats episodes of dirty behavior.
Crating a cat in an extra large dog crate also is also ideal for situations where you need to monitor the cat's health, particularly in the case of cats with urinary problems where you need to be sure the cat is drinking & urinating adequately or with a cat who has diarrhea & needs to be confined until it clears up, for a cat recovering from surgery, an injured cat, a cat who is vomiting, or a cat with another health situation where you need to know if the cat is eating drinking, urinating, defecating normally.
Crating is the best solution for all concerned. The cat gets to live in comfort, the human has the cat in a situation where any messes are confined and easy to clean up, and so often a cat I've had to crate for not using the litterpan, would consistently use the litterpan over a long period of time while crated. Others were dirty in the crate for awhile & then started being consistently clean. These cats I give another chance in the house, first confining them to only one room and if they stay clean in one room, then going to letting them have house privileges back. Most of these cats stayed clean, a couple went back to housesoiling when certain other cats were added to the household. I say "certain other cats" because with these cats who relapsed back into dirty habits, other cats came into the household with the former housesoilers staying clean & it was after that another cat came in & two housesoilers relapsed. Of those two housesoilers who were clean and then relapsed, one later became clean again, the second one still hasn't yet been consistently clean in the crate again yet.
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