Please help: cat won't use litter box

Kind of long, sorry!

My mother’s two cats have recently come to live with me. One of them, the male, used to be my cat, but my other kitty hated him, so when we moved he went to live with my mom and her female cat. He can be a bit of a bully, but the two of them have lived well together (sharing a litter box) for about seven years.

When my mom recently moved, only the female came to live with me because I still had my other kitty. The new cat acclimated well. Shortly after she came my special kitty died unexpectedly. My mom came to spend a few nights, brought the male cat and then left him here. After she left I discovered that he had decided the bed she had slept on would be his new litter box! So, I put a litter box near it and slowly moved it towards the basement, where I want them to go.

The door to the basement is off the family room, and has a cat-sized hole in it so the cats can get to their food and litter box, but the dogs can’t. I have a self-cleaning litter box (which the male used years ago when I had him), but the female cat won’t use it, so I put a regular box down there too.

I thought the problem was solved until I discovered he was using an out-of-the-way spare bedroom! I closed that off and put a litter box right downstairs from it. Then he used a pile of dirty horse blankets (okay, maybe they shouldn’t have been left in the kitchen :slight_smile: ). Just today I discovered that he seems to have started using the area where we store firewood for the wood stove in the kitchen, which has a litter box (unused) right in front of it!!!

This is a healthy cat who has never had litter box problems, who otherwise seems happy and well-adjusted. What can I do? Also, any suggestions on getting the female to use the automatic litter box would be great. I sure miss my easy special kitty…

Bumping. I’m still hoping for some ideas!

I have, luckily, never had to deal with this problem myself, but I have heard of people who have successfully used this product. Maybe it would help in your situation.

Is he just urinating or is he defecating out side of the litter box too? If defecating as well, I’d think it has something to do with either the location, litter type, or box type. Something about the boxes isn’t meeting his criteria. Perhaps something in the basement creeps him out – a noise like the furnace kicking on, etc, spooked him enough one time he attempted to use it that it turned him off from using that box ever again. If he doesn’t have any alternatives that meet his wants, he’ll go wherever. You could also check with your mom on the type of litter she used with him. He might prefer that brand. Also check on whether or not his was an actual box or just an open pan.

I’d give Feliway a try to see if he isn’t anxious about something so eliminating inappropriately. Cat attractant litter might be a good choice for awhile till you get him consistently using a box – I’m not sure how long it’s been since he’s been back with you, but you might need to have alternate locales for boxes for several months till he gets in the habit of using only litter boxes to eliminate. Then VERY SLOWLY start to work them down into the basement.

As for getting the girl to use the automatic – is it a different type of box? IE, covered whereas the regular boxes aren’t? Are the dimensions the same? Depth of litter? Variety of litter?

I feel for you - this is so hard and I have been through it a lot with 2 of my 5 indoor cats. I have to close off all spare rooms, I use Cat Attract or Kitten Attract litter, and place 1 litter box per cat aroud the house. Right now one of my older cats has scared the young semi-feral so that he is afraid to come to where the main litter boxes are kept. I had to put a couple of boxes in the main part of the house so that he will use them.

I do think it is all stress related, and would say to use the Feliway and even kitty prozac if needed. This is just the worst thing - they pee on couches, beds, rugs… I had gotten new furniture, and every time I think I can pull the waterproof covers off, one of them (or one of the chihuahua’s) pees on something and I am grateful that it did not get on the new furniture…

Best of luck!

Thanks to everyone who replied. I will get some of the Cat Attract litter.

I have blocked off his current place, and tonight after he tried to break in, he asked to go outside. In all other ways he seems to be relaxed, settled in and happy here. Has anyone else gone through this?

You have to crate him for a couple of weeks to restart his litter box habits. A feliway diffuser would probably be a good idea as well.

You have to crate him for a couple of weeks to restart his litter box habits. A feliway diffuser would probably be a good idea as well.[/QUOTE]

I agree. It sounds more like he is marking than just being a little careless. If I were you, I’d invest in a crate and crate him with the litterbox for a few weeks like Laurierace say. PIA, but it’ll beat picking up catcrap!

Chance cat pan everyday.

Use more than one cat pan and chance both daily.

Give kitties one kitty cosequin a day if you think they might have a urinary track infection. Cats won’t use cat pans if they have a UTI.

Get some Anti Icky Poo…seriously

I went through similar misery with one of my cats a couple of years ago.

It sounds like your cat is stressed about the new living arrangements or he is marking where he smells the dear departed kitty he didn’t care for. It’s important to get the smell completely neutralized anywhere they pee or they will keep using the same spot. I found a product called (no joke) Anti Icky Poo (mister max) which was just awesome at getting rid of the odor to the point where the cat couldn’t seem to smell it. I cannot recommend this stuff enough. I have tried many enzymatic cleaners and this one worked the best.

Other posters have already mentioned everything else I tried…except for lemon oil which cats find very unappealing. I rubbed lemon oil into a furniture leg which had been victimized and it seemed to make that spot less interesting to my serial whizzer. In fact, Evil Cat wanted everything unscented…including litter. He would pee on my laundry if I used fabric softener.

Good luck. It’s a miserable problem but with some persistence it can usually be corrected. Cats take months to adjust to new living arrangements so it might take a while for him to relax. Chicken flavored Prozac used to be a regular item on my shopping list. :frowning: