Cat WILL NOT Use The Litterbox--Need Advice

United States
March 22, 2010 8:13pm CST
So...my cat has been locked in my bedroom for 24 hours...she has food, water and a litter box. She has not used the litter box at all, but has eaten and drunken. I have a feeling she has peed and/or pooped somewhere in my room. When she is not locked in my room, she will pee BETWEEN the two litter boxes we have downstairs. She has also picked a corner of the house that she always pees and poops in. She gets slapped every time she does it...like dogs do when they get potty trained. I put her face right by it and she gets a couple swats. Then I'll go and put her inside one of the litter boxes. What else can I do!?!??!
4 people like this
12 responses
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
23 Mar 10
As others have suggested take your cat to the vet just to make sure she doesn't have a urinary tract infection. Cats will often pee outside their pan if they have this. And I agree with others to never hit a cat as it really is counterproductive. Have you changed the type of litter recently? sometimes that can be the culprit too. I know my two cats can't stand the scoopable types of litter and rely on Fresh Step
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Mar 10
My mom has worked with me a lot to try to fix this problem. She's changed the litter and she's also gotten a lower box (the one we had was kind of high and she thought maybe my cat didn't like trying to get into it). She was just at the vet and there was nothing wrong with her. The vet said everything was good, excellent in fact!
@quita88 (3716)
• United States
26 Mar 10
I have read the other posts here and they are right. You should not hit your cat or put his/her nose in it or close to it. You are damaging the cat's confidence in you and the cat is associating the litter box with getting spatted/hit/punished. Try changing the type of litter, the brand-----I use fresh step. I think it's best for all cats and easier to clean up. Also, if the cat is pottying in another place , pick it up if it solid and place it in he litter box and LEAVE IT ALONE. The wet---pour soda on it and leave it alone too. Let the cat find the solids in the litter box and the wet covered swith soda and repeat all of this if you want to keep that cat. Then, do not punish that cat for pottying in the wrong places. YOu have it confused. It will take time. Praise the cat for eating or loving on you and be sure to leave the litter box issue alone and no hitting of the cat ever. TAke the time the cat needs to adjust to YOUR NEW attitude--- Cats are smart and they will do as they please but will also love the living life out of you if you love them back and will obey if they can understand you! I am not being ugly here. YOU just need some lessons in cats ! I have two now and have had cats all my life and I am 61 and never have had a cat not go to a litter box. Take care.
• United States
30 Mar 10
I can bring her poop to the litter box, but there is no way I would be able to leave the wetness on the ground. I live with my parents while I'm in school, and there is no way my mom would ever let me leave the wet on the ground (especially since my dogs will lick it up).
@quita88 (3716)
• United States
30 Mar 10
[i][/i]How else do you intend to get rid of the wet???? I said to use soda on the wet. I think you are a nice person and would love to have the cat but in your circumstances of living with your parents maybe it would be best to give up the cat [i]if not for your sake for the cats.[/i]
• United States
30 Mar 10
Yeah, I can't cover it with soda and leave it--my dogs would get into it. I will not be giving up my cat. I rescued her when she had days left to live (she weighed less than a pound at one year old, when I found her), I nursed her back to health, and I've had her for almost 6 years now. She is My baby and she will not be leaving this house. It would not be for her sake to get rid of her. She is happy and healthy here.
@ElicBxn (60894)
• United States
23 Mar 10
You can't train a cat like a dog. The whole rubbing the nose in it mess and hitting her won't work. You best bet would be to confine her in a very small space, like a bathroom. All hitting her will do is make her even more adverse to using the box. You might try to find a way to reward her for using it.
• United States
23 Mar 10
When I do catch her using the litter box she gets lots of phrase and hugs. Sometimes I catch her in the act of going where she shouldn't and she immediately gets punished. She was confined in my room the whole day, and I lock her in with me at night. It doesn't help.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60894)
• United States
23 Mar 10
when you catch her going where she shouldn't pick her up and put her in the box Like I said, hitting is counter productive in cats.
@ElicBxn (60894)
• United States
23 Mar 10
Have you taken her to the vet? It could be that she's having a problem with a urinary tract infection - it can often makes them adverse to using the box because it hurts...
@Loverbear (4928)
• United States
25 Mar 10
First and foremost, quit slapping the cat. How would you like to be slapped each time you made a mistake? Also don't put her face near the spot that she has peed or pooped in. You wouldn't like having your head shoved near your excrement... Next, what kind of litter are you using? I had the problem with my Siamese Murphy. She would pee and poop in Mom's potted plants. It turned out that she didn't like the litter. It apparently hurt her feet. Is the litter you're using scented? Some cats don't like the perfume in cat litter. Also make sure the boxes are always clean. Some cats just don't like using a box with pee and poop left in it for many days. They also may not like using a box that other cats have used. Clean the areas and use a deodorizer in the area. Nature's Miracle is super for taking care of spots like that and it isn't that expensive. Also, like it was suggested, if possible move her litter box to the spot she has been using. She'll use the box, and when she does praise and pet her for doing it in the box. One other thing, she might have a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) which would mean a trip to the vet to get her medications to take care of it. Cats are very clean by nature and when they pee and poop in areas that aren't litter boxes there is a possibility of a medical problem.
@Loverbear (4928)
• United States
25 Mar 10
I just had a brainstorm. Have you had the cat since she was a tiny kitten or was she older when you got her? Do you allow ANY of the cats outside???? Try mixing some dirt from outside with the litter in the litter box. Maybe the scent of the outside that you bring in on your shoes, or if they are allowed outside the smell of the outside and the ease of eliminating anywhere in the dirt outside, might be triggering the problem. It could simply be that she would much prefer to use dirt rather than litter. Also, I have had my cats to the vet and they get a clean bill of health and within a week I have HAD to return because of the UTI. The Vet community can't figure out what causes the infection, but it sets in quickly and unexpectedly. It is something that can't be detected just by a simple vet visit, it would be unusual to find it during a visit unless the cat is showing the symptoms when you have the normal visit. I don't think any of us are accusing you of abusing your cat. It's just that cats don't take well to being slapped, whether gently or firmly. Cats are very different creatures and what might work on a dog doesn't work well on a cat. If nothing else, if you catch the cat finishing the business in a non litter box site, spray it with water from a spray bottle. Don't soak the cat, just squirt your point across. Also my cats like plenty of litter in their box. Cats cover their pee and poop by nature so that other creatures can't detect them. If you put too little litter in the box they can't do the covering like they naturally do. I had to get a deeper box so that I can keep a constant level of 4 to 5 inches of litter in the box. I clean it twice a day and maintain the depth...and the cats are happy.
• United States
30 Mar 10
We use three different litter boxes with different deepness levels, and we've changed which litter we have. The fact that she uses it occasionally says to me that the little is not a problem (but I'm no expert!) When I found/rescued my cat my vet guessed she was about 1 year old. None of our cats our outdoor cats because we like to know that they are always safe.
@AmAllen (119)
• United States
23 Mar 10
what you are doing is essentially abuse of an animal and can be in some states and areas punishable by law, you really should put her and the box in a bathroom until she uses the box. As for only 24 hours thats not long enough to instill the principle, you have to be patient. Agression toward the cat is actually likely going to make her go where ever she wants when ever she want, and possibly make her fear the litter tray. Visit her in the bathroom. But don't let her out, not until she uses the box, if she was already box trained and the problem is because of a move, then you have to really be patient, its like with a child.... the move puts them out of sorts. Over all i say you haven't given it enough time... nor patience. Be more proactive and try to catch her going out of the box and move her to the box even if it is in mid potty... she will gradually get the picture. And if there is a corner of the house she is going to frequently put the litter box there and gradually move it away , see if that helps. Note: I foster for the local humane society here, I often have cats and kittens to box train before they can be adopted out, plus have 3 cats of my own, this is how i work my fosters or a new kitty that stays with us as our own.
• United States
24 Mar 10
I am in no way doing anything that is abusive...you wouldn't call every parent who spanks their kids abusive would you? Slapping (NOT repeated and hard slapping) is how people sometimes potty train their puppies/dogs and I don't see that as abuse. There is a line that can be crossed that will turn it into abuse, but one swat on the behind is not that line. And my cat never shows any negativity towards me. It's not me who is impatient. I don't have the time to be patient because I'm always getting threats that she's going to be given away. And my mom (who is the boss while I'm living "under their roof) will not let me lock her in a bathroom. We've already lost 3 cats because of this problem....
@AmAllen (119)
• United States
24 Mar 10
Well it really doesn't matter who is impatient, whether its you or your mother, if there isn't enough patience involved its a lost cause. Whether you like it or not there is no quickie fix all that will help you. Patience for how ever long it takes is the only solution. as for is it abuse... yup, don't care what your rationalization is, striking an animal is abusive toward that animal. A CAT IS NOT A DOG. Thier bone structure is different, thier demeanor is different. And as you want to bring up children each child has to be taught things differently, one method will not work from one child to the next, so yea I still stay you are abusing the cat and it doesn't deserve it. For you to keep justifying your behavior doesn't change it. End of story. Don't agree, ask a shelter worker and see what they think. And before your nextr answer is for your information I have already and they say a cat will learn and it is not excessive force with an animal, BULL. A decent dog trainer with any sense and worth his salt will tell you not to strike a dog either. To me it is the equivalent of slapping a 2 year old across the face for messing thier pants. "because they know better". Yea right. The cat obviously isn't learning from it, if she was she would have responded, I don't care if she is affectionate afterwards, she isn't doing what you want, try another method.
@MsTickle (24994)
• Australia
30 Mar 10
Gosh, I'm a bit surprised that you would do that. Slapping the poor animal is making it scared and if you slap it near the litter box it will be scared of the litter box. Animals do not like to eat and drink in the same place they defecate. Maybe the cat doesn't like the particular kitty litter you are using. If you do nothing else, I would recommend that you stop hitting the poor animal. Hitting any animal teaches it to be violent or scared or both.
• United States
30 Mar 10
I don't swat her near the litter box. I should have specified, when she potties BETWEEN the litter boxes I don't spank her because of that reason. My cat shows no sign of being scare of me, she knows I love her and she still loves me. I don't hurt her so she never associates me with violence of pain; probably because I don't really hurt her.
@Olivine (11)
• United States
23 Mar 10
I'm guessing you have more than one cat since you have three litter boxes? Cats will sometimes refuse to use a box if it is dirty or if another animal's scent is in it. I'm sure that's not always the case, but she will at least be more likely to use the box if it is clean and only belongs to her. Maybe the box is too small for her, or the level of litter is too shallow? Also, cats go wherever their own scent is found, so clean up or cover the spots she's used before as well as you can or her instincts will keep telling her that's where she's meant to go. I would lock her in a bathroom or other tile-floored room with the litter box. She will not want to go on the tile because her feet will get wet, but if she goes there anyway it's easier to clean up. You can also try changing her food or litter. If all else fails, maybe you can make her an outside cat so she has to go outdoors in the dirt? It's better than getting rid of her. I understand you are not hurting your cat, but cats do not respond to that type of punishment. It will only make her annoyed at you and resistant to obeying you. Instead, just make sure you clean up very well after her and then put her somewhere with her box. Don't let her out or give her any attention until she uses it. Good luck! I hope you find a solution.
• United States
23 Mar 10
While I respect that some cats won't use a box with another cats scent on it, I really don't think it's the case here. They'll all use the littler box after each other (we have 3). Just last night my cat decided that she would go #1 and 2 in the litter box in my room--but rest assured she'll go where she isn't suppose to again! lol I do clean up the spot after she goes, I mop it up. But it doesn't stop her. All 3 litter boxes are different sizes; one is really big, and the one in my room is small. Then there's one in between. They're always nice and clean with good litter and the littler levels are also different. My cat is very forgiving. She still likes to cuddle after she gets in trouble lol Thank you!
• Malaysia
24 Mar 10
Hi, Currently I have two cats and the way I trained them to use the litter box is by immediately showing them exactly how to use it on the first day they arrive at my house. I will put the sand into the box in front of them, and then I carry each of them in my arms while praising good things to them. Then I gently put one by one into the litter box, holding both their hands and make them do the scratching thing on the sand. I repeatedly do that in hope they will remember. After that I will take them out from the box and watch them play around. When cats want to pee or poop, they will naturally show an act of sniffing around, and then start scratching. So immediately after I see them start to sniff around and scratching, I will quickly carry them to the litter box, and put them inside the box. I let them sniff the sand by themselves and they seem to know what to do. But at first they didn't know where the litter box is located, even though I have shown them everyday that their litter box is in the kitchen bathroom. I learned to be patient because some of the days they didn't get it too, and there are many occasions where I had to wash my sofa and floor because they pooped there. But I never hit them, because I know they are in the learning process and mistakes can always happen. After I have cleaned up the mess, I will go to the cat that pooped at the wrong place and stroke the back of her head, while trying to give comfort to the cat. Maybe cats do have a sense of guilt when they have done something wrong, because I can see that when they have pooped on my sofa or floor they look cautious and I guess maybe they are thinking if I get mad they will run and hide. After the stroking then I will show her the litter box again, and teach her how to use it. I actually hold their hands (two front legs are considered hands - lol)and make them scratch the sands, and they seem to enjoy it when I do that. For the first two months that I adopted them, they had pooped on the sofa, the carpet and the floor quite a few times. But now they have understood that they have special place to poop, that is the litter box I put in the kitchen bathroom. Now, my two lovely cats never poop elsewhere except in their litter box and I don't have to watch them like before because they know how to do it themselves. With more patience, I think you will be able to train your cat but never make them uncomfortable or confused when they are around you like slapping the face when something is not done according to your expectation. The nature of cats is different from a dog and you can never train cats using the dog approach.
@basqui (3890)
• Philippines
24 Mar 10
Lily, my grandma used to put sand or ash in the litter box so the cats poop there. Maybe you should try it. It was effective for us in the house. The cat rarely poop in the wrong place when we did that.
• United States
23 Mar 10
she may have something wrong with her internally-i would get her checked. or she may just not like the litter,or if it's a perfumed litter,something in it may be irritating her.i would switch to a different scentless litter with no added "de-smelling" chemicals and see what she does. dog training doesn't work on cats..you usually end up with a cat that may distrust you.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
23 Mar 10
I strongly recommend you check out the website planeturine.com. I got an electronic device that kept my cat off an area he was peeing in inappropriately. They have a lot of things on that site that are very helpful.
@carolbee (16241)
• United States
23 Mar 10
I really have no idea what you can do to train a cat to use the litterbox. We had one cat in my lifetime and she was trained when we got her. She belonged to our daughter who had to leave her with us when she moved out. What worked extremely well for me with dogs was to roll up one piece of newspaper. Swat the end of the nose. Will not hurt the animal at all but will scare them enough they pay attention. Then try putting the cat in the litterbox. Each time the cat pees outside the box, do the newspaper thing again. Good luck, carolbee