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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-08-2003, 08:18 AM
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Re-train cat to use litter box

Hi everyone!

I joined this forum because I am trying to find some help and guidance to re-training my cat of 7 years who takes a liking to pooping on the carpet. I hope you can help!! Here's my story...

My cat Willy, 7 years old, knows he should be pooping in the litter box but loves going on the carpet. What is weird though is that he'll urinate in the litter box then go straight to poo on the carpet. If we catch him, he runs off and knowing that we are around, he will then poop in the litter box.

We have made sure that the litter box is always clean and it is jumbo size because he is quite big (20lbs). He also shares the box with his sister so maybe this is adding to the problem, but then again he urinates in there without any problem.

We are moving into a new house soon so I am thinking this is the perfect opportunity to re-train him. Whenever we move, he always uses the litter box to poop for the first 2 months or so and then resorts back to pooping on the carpet again.

We have scrubbed the area where he poops but he just moves to a different part of the house. He never poops on tiled floor.

Any help you can give would be most appreciated.. thanks!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-08-2003, 01:21 PM
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Wow. That's a tough one. Do you have more than one litter box ? I remember a cat I had as a teenager peeing in the upstairs box, then running at top speed for the one in the basement to poop.
My Dad's 14 year old cat has taken up pooping on the piece of rug in front of their back door - usually when they aren't home.
I wish I could offer you some help, but I'll stay tuned for everyone else's responses - maybe I can help my Mom out too !

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-08-2003, 01:34 PM
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Maybe you can have 2 litterboxes side by side? I had a cat that was very picky. Heaven forbid he did his business on a litterbox that wasn't completely clean. Good luck!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-08-2003, 01:53 PM
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litter training

There are a couple things it could be:

Get him his own litter box, but place it away from the other one. He may need his own personal space.

Dont move the boxes around. This may disturb the cat and could lead to him going where he wants. Find a place or the boxes and keep them there.

Is he a long haired cat? If he is, clumping litter could be irritating to him, as it could be to his feet is knots get stuck behind his toes.

Has he been declawed recently? If so, there could be some soreness left. - You say he is 7 years old. How long has he been doing this?

If all fails, you may want to crate him as you would a dog for a few days with his litter box inside there. Ive had to do it with my parents cat before...

What litter do you use, do you cange brands often? He may not like that.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-09-2003, 04:53 PM
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Thank-you all for your response.

There is no clumping in the litter and he was declawed years ago and he's been doing this since I can remember. It's certainly not a litter cleaning problem since I could empty the litter box and re-fill with new litter and he'll go up get in and pee, then wander around for a bit, I'll go take out the clumps then he'll sneak off and go on the carpet somewhere.

I think I might try the double litterbox and maybe line the 2nd one with a piece of carpet as soon as we move in. I figure that once he's gone 1-2 times he'll continue to use the same spot. It's not ideal, but one that I'm willing to give a shot. I've no idea if it'll work or not - what do you think?

thanks again.
post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 03:31 AM
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I thiink what Axl said makes perfect sense. The first thing I would try is getting another litter box. I have 3 cats and 3 boxes- they seem to work out where they each go very nicely and I try to keep the boxes clean as soon as I know they've been in them.
It sounds like a habit, but habits usually develop for a reason. It could be that since your cats are male and female it's some kind of dominance issue. I've read that the cat who wants to demonstrate it's dominance will not bury their poop- as to leave the scent for the others - who will often find it - and bury it. It's very odd. So if he's going on the carpet- maybe he's doing it because it can't be buried by the female - and - it marks his domain?
I'd put the boxes in the same room, but as far apart as the size of the room allows.
Have you tried any of those sprays that smell horrid to pets and deter them from soiling where it's sprayed?
I used to use one when I was trying to teach one of my cats not to use my living room couch as a scratching post. It worked but I had to spray it often as it seemed to wear off pretty fast.
And again if all else fails- I agree with Axl. I know cats hate to be confined- but if he's crated with the litter box - he has no choice and can't use the rug. You don't have to use a small crate- a big wire crate that is airy and large would work. He'd have some room to move around and you could throw some catnip and toys in there for him to play with. The point would just be to force him to use the box. Cats, like dogs, don't like to poop where they eat and sleep. Put his food and water in the crate too.
That's a tough prob! I hope you find a solution. Good Luck! Keep us posted... what works for you will be really good to know!

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 12:29 PM
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If he goes in only ONE spot on the carpet I'd try moving the litter box over that spot. He could decided to start using it. (My cats did this for awhile and started using it once I put it where they wanted it.)

However, it is sketchy and he could just end up going all over the place.


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