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Cat using the litter tray instead of outdoors

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by MaxandMillie, Aug 30, 2013.


  1. MaxandMillie

    MaxandMillie PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all, I have had 2 cats for about 2 months or so now. They are rescue cats and 12 years old. They were in and outdoors cats originally but then had to be kept in at their foster home and obviously when I first had them too. They always used the litter tray fine. Since being allowed outside I'm sure they go to the toilet outside but I leave the litter tray out, mainly because when I have removed it at night there have been a couple of accidents (there is no catflap). Most nights they don't use it though.

    What is annoying me is that I have noticed sometimes Millie chooses to use the litter tray in the day even if the door is open. The other day she came in from outdoors and went straight to the litter tray! Our garden is lawned but there is access to plenty of other places she could use so I'm sure it's not lack of options. I just wonder how I can persuade her to go outside? When I hear her start to use the litter tray I move her outside but not sure if this is having any effect! Any ideas? My other cat Max I haven't noticed the same problem at all but he is generally much happier outside than Millie, she generally chooses to go out for shorter periods.
     
  2. Catowner83

    Catowner83 PetForums Junior

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    When we started encouraging our cats to go outdoors, one did straight away and never looked back. The other one would use both. My partner just picked up the litter tray (with cat in it) and placed it outside. This only happened twice before she started just toileting outside. However, if she is not as confident as your other cat it may be that she isn't comfortable with something outside. Encourage her to go outside but make sure you leave a tray in the house - if she gets stressed by having to go outside you may find she starts acting up. If it is only an occasional thing that she uses the tray its not such a bad thing is it?? Still not as time consuming, messy and smelly as when they are exclusively using trays ;)

    HTH
     
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi Maxandmillie, I have young adult cats who have daytime access to outdoors, and they usually go outside for their toilet of their own choosing. However I always leave 2 litter trays down in the house in the daytime (3 at night) and occasionally one cat will choose to use the tray for a pee in the daytime.
    I don't have a problem with it at all, (it takes seconds to scoop) and I have never tried to deter him.

    My view is that as long as my cats are using the trays I provide, (even if they have outdoor access) it is best not to interfere in any way. Cats know what they are comfortable with, and if you take away the trays or try shooing
    your cat outdoors to toilet, the cat could develop stress-related behavioural problems manifesting in toiletting issues. Believe me you don't want to risk that happening as such problems can be hard to resolve sometimes. :(

    Your cats are not young cats, so there is even more necessity for providing day and night access to litter trays, so that good toiletting routines are established as your cats enter their senior years.
     
  4. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Some sound advice above.
    I will add that it is actually beneficial to have some knowledge of a cat's toilet habits. When I take a cat to the vet one of the first questions he will ask me is if the cat is pooping and peeing as normal. In years when my cats never used an indoors tray I obviously did not have the answer to that question.
    As your cats are middle aged now, one of the first signs you may have of any kind of illness or medical condition is a change in toilet habits.....so it is good to be able to monitor them to some degree.
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Excellent point PP:thumbup1:
     
  6. Cookieandme

    Cookieandme PetForums VIP

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    :mad: I think that is terrible

    I don't class caring for my cats time consuming, if trays are messy and smelly you need to change their diets
     
    #6 Cookieandme, Aug 31, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
    Treaclesmum likes this.
  7. thatsafunnylookingcat

    thatsafunnylookingcat PetForums Senior

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    I have to agree with cookieandme. I think its cruel to put a cat outside while it's trying to use the litter tray! What if she had started to associate the tray with that and avoided using it all together at the expense of your carpet :confused:
     
  8. Cats cats cats

    Cats cats cats PetForums VIP

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    I provide trays for my cat s but they mostly choose to go outside. However, I would rather they used their trays all the time so I can monitor poo quality :eek:

    Not only that, I'm not always aware when they've toileted in the garden and of course, they cover it up. The result is when it comes time to scoop my borders .......there's usually a LOT of poo in there :shocked: not nice :frown2:
     
  9. Catowner83

    Catowner83 PetForums Junior

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    Oh dear, can i just stress that the cat was not 'mid toilet' at the time! She had just stepped into the tray. As I said there were only 2 occasions when this happened, and I did say to my partner that if she showed an interest in the tray again to leave her be, as like I said i my previous post and others have said, I didnt want her to be stressed about it.

    As for exclusively using litter trays, if that is what you are happy to do then that is fine. In my own personal opinion I'm afraid I did find it smelly and time consuming. It certainly does not mean my cats are unloved or uncared for - far from it! :eek:
     
  10. spotty cats

    spotty cats PetForums VIP

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    I have 10-15 trays, it takes me less than 5 minutes to scoop them all. No smell as the cats are all raw fed. Just part of owning cats, I'd not try and make a cat go outside if they didn't want to.
     
  11. witchyone

    witchyone PetForums VIP

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    One of my girls has access to outside but comes home, uses the litter tray and then goes off out again. As has been said, at least I know she has pooped and that its normal and not runny and no tummy upsets. I would rather she use the tray than either my garden or someone elses. Not nice when you are weeding the garden and grab a handful of poo :eek:
     
  12. 2lisa2

    2lisa2 PetForums VIP

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    My cat have always been indoors not got a problem with out door cats at all but I wished everyone had your attitude you should see my front garden :eek: it quite big with long borders 2 of the cats in are road use it as a toilet an dont bother to bury it I was away for 2 weeks an lost count of the pooh I had to pick up not nice when it's not from your cat an for the use of my garden as a toilet I was kindly left 2 dead birds on my step my poor kids were horrified :crazy:
     
  13. MaxandMillie

    MaxandMillie PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for all your replies. It is not that I have any major problem with emptying the litter tray - as I said, they do use it at night occasionally - I was just wondering if I could encourage her to go outdoors when she has access. Although she is a relatively confident cat, she is more easily scared than Max so that could be it, although I'm sure she goes outside sometimes as her use of the litter tray is somewhat sporadic. So I wouldn't use the tray to monitor their toiletting anyway.

    I should also point out that as with Catowner83, I didn't ever move her 'mid-toilet', just as she got in the tray, in the hope she would associate 'toilet' with 'outside'. However I do see the point that she may instead associate 'litter tray' with 'stress' and stop using it when I do want her to!
     
  14. Anaphase

    Anaphase PetForums Newbie

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    A few years back when we had 2 cats that we wanted to train to use outside we waited until it was warm enough to leave the door open. We gradually, over a couple of weeks, moved the litter tray nearer and nearer to to door then just outside the door, then a bit further away until after a few weeks they naturally associated going to the toilet with going outside. They were both middle aged at the time.

    One of them took to it really quickly, the other took a bit more time but eventually they were both happy to go outside. We only started using the litter tray indoors again after the eldest had passed away and the other kitty was an old lady and didn't want to go outside anymore.

    Ana
     
  15. shortandfurry

    shortandfurry PetForums Senior

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    We always have a litter tray available even though both our cats do the majority of their toilet business outside.
    Whether it's at night, or raining, or they just don't feel like going out - no problem.

    One almost never uses it, the other will use it occasionally. Even on a nice day when the back door's open, if she'd rather use the tray than go out that's fine by me.

    I'd much rather scoop from the tray than the cream carpets ;)
     
  16. Citrineblue

    Citrineblue PetForums VIP

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    I have found this so interesting. My five cats have access to a cat proofed garden but none of them poop outside. They do a mad dash inside. It just hasn't happened. Two of their litter trays are right by their access doors/ cat flaps outside.

    I have to say personally I prefer to know if I have a poorly tummied cat and can be proactive ASAP. I lost a cat to renal kidney issues at three years of age.
     
  17. Cookieandme

    Cookieandme PetForums VIP

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    I few weeks ago when I was mopping the kitchen floor, I moved their litter tray outside. Cookie went inside to where the tray should have been, turned round and used the tray while it was on the patio. :)

    She could have gone in the spot where the tray should have been, or could even have used another tray upstairs but it was her choice to use her preferred tray.
     
  18. koekemakranka

    koekemakranka PetForums VIP

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    My cats also have access to a catproofed garden, but they still run inside to use the trays. Nunu occasionally poos and wees outside, but the two girls prefer using the trays. I prefer it myself, so I can monitor their poo and wee and I don't really like the idea of catpoop in my garden. It's easier to scoop poo out of a tray than out of garden soil.
    I am very careful not to bother the cats at any time when they are using their trays. Toileting issues are a nightmare to resolve.
     
  19. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

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    Hi, My female cat always comes in to use the litter tray, I don't think she has EVER been to the loo outside in all the years I have had her. To make matters worse, she has liver disease and is on medication for it which makes everything she produces REEK!! Still, I just figure that if she prefers using the litter tray, so be it, and as others have said, I prefer to clean out the litter tray than risk an accident on the carpet. It's actually quite funny when she appears wailing at the back door as if the end of the world is nigh and it transpires she is just desperate for a pee! ;)
     
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