Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Cat attacking after litter change

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by faintaxis, Feb 9, 2014.


  1. faintaxis

    faintaxis PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi all,

    I'm new here but badly need some advice for my misbehaving kitty!

    I've got a 3.5 year old black cat who is generally well mannered, loves attention and is constantly fishing for attention and a tickle on the cheeks, but he goes absolutely mental when his litter is being changed/has been changed, to the point where he chases to bite and scratch anyone who passes, including me of course. Right now he's on house arrest (locked out of the rooms we are in) after just attacking my partner walking around the house - we had to lock the cat in one room and me in another where I changed the litter to stop him going mad at me but it was no use... as soon as we let him out and walked out he went mad.

    Any idea how to stop the cat from doing this? At first locking him out of the kitchen whilst I changed the litter helped but clearly not this time - but he can't carry on doing this as each time he is drawing a lot of blood and it's not acceptable.

    :(
     
  2. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Messages:
    16,152
    Likes Received:
    7,036
    How odd :confused:


    Is it when you do a full litter change or everytime you clean out the tray?
     
  3. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Messages:
    16,152
    Likes Received:
    7,036
    re-reading I suspect a full change

    How often do you change his litter box?
     
  4. faintaxis

    faintaxis PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah it was a full change, I had to switch litter recently because I couldn't find CatSan (which is what he used to use) but have since found some and changed it back but he still went mad.

    I change his litter box every week or less - he goes quite regularly and so after a few days it's beginning to look nasty and smell so I change it (as it can't be very pleasant for him). I also scoop out the poop after he's done it - which he doesn't mind.
     
  5. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Messages:
    16,152
    Likes Received:
    7,036
    My suggestion would be to try one of the better quality clumping ones

    Like this Golden Grey Cat Litter: on Sale now at zooplus

    Now - before you faint at the cost, it might seem expensive BUT it lasts AGES :)

    I use 1 bag in the tray - it has to be really deep to work properly - and then the 2nd bag does for top ups for at least 3 months :D


    The liquids will form pebbles that can easily be removed as well as the poops


    If you keep it deep enough so it clumps properly and clean regularly you should only need to do a full change at most every 3 months (and I know many leave it longer)
     
  6. faintaxis

    faintaxis PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    To be honest the cost isn't that far off from CatSan! :) Thanks for the pointer - will order some soon!

    Any idea how I can try and stop this behaviour at all? Even if I change it less regularly I'd like to save my legs from being bitten off :laugh:
     
  7. ForeverHome

    ForeverHome PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    120
    Sounds to me a bit like a behaviour that began as some kind of protest that has become a habit and is escalating because you have to react to protect yourself by locking him away for your own safety.

    The way I go with litter is the exact opposite, ultra cheap and full change daily. That sounds too scary with him behaving this way but then again if he continues to act the same way but litter changes are only every 3 months, that hasn't solved the issue, only made it less frequent, and could continue to escalate to a really serious attack.

    Have you tried saving a little soiled litter and once you've cleaned the tray put it back on the top so it is still his scent and his territory?

    Also do I understand right that he's always done this but it's now getting worse? Or can you pinpoint any change in his life at the time when this behaviour first started?
     
  8. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Messages:
    16,152
    Likes Received:
    7,036
    Sorry has me stumped - all I can think of is that, for whatever reason, having clean litter (which will mean it doesn't smell of him) makes him feel insecure

    Has he always done it?

    What's his background?

    Just thinking if he was a rescue / came from a multi-cat household then litter trays may have been an issue in the past and he's not quite got over them


    If you decide to go down the clumping route above and you only needed to do a change every 3 months or so, you could try some Zyklene for a couple of days before you do the change and for a couple of days afterwards

    It's fantastic stuff - works well from anything to firework stress to going in the carrier, moving home, just being stressed generally etc

    More info here

    Zylkene Home Page

    Good prices usually on here

    Search results for zyklene - Animed Direct
     
  9. faintaxis

    faintaxis PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well I actually got him a couple of months back from someone who wanted to get rid of him so I adopted him. He was initially very scared but we got him used to the house. He doesn't like one of my housemates (as the housemate is used to cats he can pick up, Sammy doesn't like being picked up and so got very scared) but loves me and is always in my room sleeping on my bed or just toddling around exploring and searching for attention.

    I'm not in contact with the previous owner to find out wether he did it before but I don't think he did. He also didn't seem to do it the first couple of times (though that may have been because he was too scared).
     
  10. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Messages:
    16,152
    Likes Received:
    7,036
    mmmmmm probably something that's happened in the past then :(

    Once he realises he's safe and nothing bad's going to happen when the tray is changed he might 'grow out of it' so to speak or he might never like it

    I'd def give the longer lasting clumping litter a try & the Zyklene a go when you do need to do it - at least that way, you won't have to worry about it every week & also, if it's not happening so often, he may be more relaxed about it when it does

    Ohhhh - welcome to PF :)
     
  11. ForeverHome

    ForeverHome PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    120
    Only it's already escalating at the moment :(

    Personally I'd want to try and identify what aspect of changing the litter is his problem, I'm already trying to think up different ways to test this out.

    If it is territorial and the clean litter no longer smells of him, then as already suggested putting a spoonful of wet litter and one small nugget back in the clean tray would start to see him calmer, so that would be where to start working with him.

    If he goes in it just fine it's not that he hates the type of litter and I'm not convinced that would address the behaviour, only make it happen less often, but the intensity of his attacks could reach dangerous.

    Maybe he hates the noise the litter makes when it's being poured out of the bag, maybe that has a bad association for him. In that case if he goes out, try waiting till he's out of the house, or take it outside and far away to change it and see if he reacts the same way.

    I think OP is at crisis point here, where cat and person have to be separated for safety and this only delays the attack. This is escalation and has got to be addressed before someone gets badly hurt.

    Once you've identified whether it's clean litter, or someone touching his tray, or the smell of disinfectant, or the noise of litter being poured, or whatever it is that sets him off, then there will be a way to help him see step by step that nothing bad happens. At the moment he is not seeing that and is feeling more and more threatened. Cats cannot be desensitised purely by continued exposure, you have to be more subtle than that with them.
     
  12. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Messages:
    5,798
    Likes Received:
    5,392
    One of mine hates a full change. I use cats best / oko plus and when it is fresh from the bag it has a nice fresh odour that must mask his scent. He digs like crazy, runs round the house, jumps back in, kicks litter all over the place; clearly not pleased. Sometimes he'll sleep in the new tray. It all seems quite territorial.

    I haven't done a full change for months now. I have two trays, each with 15-20 litres of litter (ie very deep) and I just scoop every time a tray is used and top up every couple of days. Obviously, they have to be fully changed occasionally but I plan just to do one at a time and less frequently than is usually recommended.
     
  13. faintaxis

    faintaxis PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    One thing my sister (who's had a couple of female cats, but not male cats) suggested was to get him neutered as he's not yet neutered - I'm not sure if it would help but I am wondering if it is worth a try.

    The funniest thing is today, he didn't actually hear the litter being changed. We intentionally put the TV on loudly so he couldn't hear anything and then let him out after it was changed - it was at that point he'd noticed it had been changed and then attacked.
     
  14. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Messages:
    5,798
    Likes Received:
    5,392
    Seriously, you are keeping a 3 year old un-neutered male cat in the house. Why on earth would you do that?
     
  15. faintaxis

    faintaxis PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Errr.. sorry?

    His previous owner didn't neuter him and this is my first cat. I didn't realise they are meant to be neutered.
     
  16. Jesthar

    Jesthar PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Messages:
    7,394
    Likes Received:
    11,681
    Ah, that's unfortunate - you need to get him done ASAP, then. It'll take a few months to fully settle his hormones, but it should calm him down a heck of a lot!

    Un-neutered males are aggressively territorial (my 8yo spayed girl spent several weeks in a cone collar last year after an un-neutered male bit her on the tail and left her with bone deep abcesses - this happened literally just outside my back door!), and the longer a male is left un-neutered, the greater a chance it stands of developing terminal illnesses like cancer. Their wee also stinks to high heaven for scent marking purposes, which may account for his violence when you change the litter tray, as you are removing his scent marks.
     
  17. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Messages:
    5,798
    Likes Received:
    5,392
    Didn't realise you had only just got him.
     
    #17 Satori, Feb 9, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  18. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Messages:
    16,152
    Likes Received:
    7,036
    Neutering def could help and I agree with whats been said that he may well see the tray being changed as removing (what he sees) his scent marking & letting other cats know he's there!

    TBH it will make him a lot calmer and easier to handle as well as the health benefits of doing it :)

    It will take away all the 'urges' they have and, should he get out by any chance, mean there's less risk of him wandering far (in search of females) and getting hurt in fights
     
  19. Citrineblue

    Citrineblue PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,625
    Likes Received:
    445
    I would possibly go down the route suggested by Lilylass regarding litter, use one of the mega long lasting clumping ones. We use Worlds Best and Natures calling. Generally you use a deep layer and just remove soiled litter then top up. If you need a total change my suggestion would be to hold some of the old litter back and sprinkle it on top so his smell is incorporated into the litter. A course of zyklene could also calm him at this time especially on the irregularity it is needed with clumping litter.

    Definately neuter. He will be a much calmer boy after a few weeks and his wee will have less odour. It will certainly reduce his need to spray to nothing or almost nothing, if it is a habit.

    These litters do look expensive but I originally used Catsan and even with constant litter watch and removal the litter stank after a few days, whereas with the clumping, the wee clumps as well as the pooh, so you remove the urine and the smell ASAP. It is a load cheaper honestly we have five cats!!
     
    #19 Citrineblue, Feb 9, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  20. ForeverHome

    ForeverHome PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    120
    Yes after a few weeks you will see a totally new and wonderful cat. Better for him and you to get him neutered as soon as practical, for a million and one reasons not just the litter tray issue.

    Ok so that's one possible cause eliminated, good work! That is not meant to be in any way patronising :) And neutering fingers crossed could be the answer, but may not be the whole story. If it was my cat I'd still be trying things while you're waiting to get him done and for the hormones to settle.

    In OP's defence I'll say that Henry (pic below) walked in to our house aged 3 as an entire tom. We traced his owner who said their house was noisy so they weren't surprised he wanted to leave as he liked a quiet life, so we could keep him. We had him done, but in the meantime he was no trouble, no spraying or anti-social behaviour at all. He was and still is a gentle and loving creature.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice