Litter Tray Issues

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by tantrumbean, Nov 11, 2017.


  1. tantrumbean

    tantrumbean PetForums Senior

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    Hi,

    I've ventured over from the dog side looking for some advice.

    My partner recently adopted a new kitten, he's currently about 6 weeks old and was found abandoned and very poorly at about 3 weeks old during storm Brian. He's now happy and healthy (although still tiny), but his toilet training is not going to plan.

    Every kitten I've had in the past basically arrived with the idea of what a litter tray is for already in their heads, Brian on the other hand will sometimes go in the litter tray, but usually chooses to poop in one of his beds instead. I suspect this will be probably have something to do with the fact that he didn't spend enough time with his mum to learn about where to go, but what do we do about it? Will he gradually come round to the idea of where to go or is this likely to be a lifelong issue? Is there anything we can do to encourage him to use the litter tray? We pop him in when he looks like he's about to go, but obviously can't watch him 24/7, plus he has some of the igloo style beds, so if he's in there, we don't even know he's about to go. He doesn't seem to do the usual scratching either when he does use the tray.

    Any experiences or advice?

    TIA

    Edit: Sorry, just realised I should have probably posted this in the training and behaviour section, oops!
     
    #1 tantrumbean, Nov 11, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  2. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums Senior

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    @tantrumbean
    To be honest that young away from mum and siblings, he will have a harder time learning how to behave and socliaze properly.
    If possible, I would have him fostered with someone who has an older cat or cats that can help raise him till he is a bit older, or adopt an older cat into your household or partners if willing. By older, even a one or two year old should be able to show him the ropes or a kitten from about four months maybe.
    Maybe a local shelter or Cats Protection can offer help with fostering, if you don't know anyone who can temporarily take him under their and their cats wing. In the long run he will be a better adjusted cat.
     
  3. tantrumbean

    tantrumbean PetForums Senior

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    Hi, we do have two older cats in the house, but neither are that impressed with having a kitten around. They tolerate him, but aren't exactly keen on hanging out with him if that makes sense. The dogs actually do a better job of looking after him, but obviously they don't really understand the concept of litter trays either!
     
  4. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums Senior

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    @tantrumbean
    That's a pity. I think cats learn best from other cats, maybe they will eventually take him under their wing.
    My best advice then is, when he poops outside the box, place it in the box so he gets the smell in the box. Remove scent with a pet scent removing cleaner, (enzymatic) so he does not smell where he went before.
    I am not sure if your kitten likes to watch you scoop the box as my cat does but put him the room when you place the poo in the box and dig about and bury it in the box with the shovel. He may get the idea of burying and going in the box better. Make a bit of noise, my cat finds humans digging with a shovel in the box fascinating. Be sure also to have plenty of boxes for all the cats. I have seen in shelters with group enclosures, cats defecating outside the box when the box is full.
     
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  5. SbanR

    SbanR PetForums Senior

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    Another thought that comes to mind is to have litter trays near his beds. ( In the same room anyway)They might not look pretty, but consider them a temporary measure until your kitten becomes more reliable using the l/tray.

    I don't know where you currently have his tray, but it might be a case of " out of sight, out of mind"
     
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  6. tantrumbean

    tantrumbean PetForums Senior

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    They are right next to his bed. He also sleeps in a huge crate overnight at the moment, with beds, tray, toys, etc in there - just because he's too little to be left loose unattended with the dogs - so everything is close together . He just doesn't seem to get the distinction between beds and the litter tray. He will quite happily sleep in the tray and poo in the bed, but then sometimes does it the right way round. I will try the digging around in the tray myself to see if that helps him get the idea...
     
  7. sskmick

    sskmick PetForums VIP

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    Your kitten was found abandoned and you estimate he is about six weeks old, he has no idea what a litter tray is I would buy an extra large dog crate put in it a small cat tree type bed a low kitten size litter tray so it is easy for him to climb in and out of I would use soil not cat litter as he will have been toileting outside and will be more familiar with soil, put food and water bowls in with a few toys, I put toys in that fastened at the top of the crate and hang down. Don't leave him there 24/7 but certainly when you go to bed and he will soon get the idea, even with cats give them praise when they use it and say nothing when they don't, simply clean up.

    I use a cleaner called Simple Solution to clean stains, smells and breaks down the enzymes, which will prevent him from toileting in the wrong places.

    If he has a favourite spot to toilet put a litter tray there, again add soil not cat litter. You can gradually introduce him to cat litter once he gets the message that the litter tray is for him to toilet.

    NB I didn't realise you had other cats, I had three cats and none of them would use the litter tray if it had been used by the other. I had four litter trays, basically one each and a spare, I often found Bellini would toilet outside of the litter tray if one of the other cats had used it before I got a chance to clean it. Unfortunately I now only have Bellini and not had a problem with him since.

    Cats are cleaner animals than we give them credit for, after all we wouldn't use a toilet that hadn't been flushed.
     
    #7 sskmick, Nov 11, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
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  8. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Would he have been using soil though? At 3 weeks I think mum may still have been taking care of that side of things.
    So my suggestion is to mimic mum, use a warm, damp, soft but textured cloth ( microfibre ones are great) to gently stimulate his bottom and tummy area and then pop him in tray, digging around a bit for him.
    You need to do this several times a day, maybe coinciding with feeding to capitalise on gastro-colic reflex to teach him what to do and where.
    Make sure litter is a fine grained one, I think he is old enough to be ok with clumping litter so you could try Dr Elseys cat attract.
    Edit.....cloth to be damp not wet otherwise kitty will end up covered in gluey litter.
     
    #8 Paddypaws, Nov 11, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
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  9. BandB

    BandB Owner of Bella, Bailey, Barnaby and Poppy

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    I did the putting the poop in the tray trick with a feral cat I caught for desexing and it worked a treat. Used the litter tray no bother after that.
     
  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    With regard to peeing in his beds, it is difficult to get rid of the smell of cat urine from cat beds, even with laundering at 60 degrees in bio laundry liquid. I know this from experience because I used to bring home some of the soiled cat beds from the Shelter and launder them.

    Most soft cat beds are filled with polyester padding and the odour of urine really clings to it. I used to soak the beds in stain remover (Bio Tex) and launder them in pet disinfectant. No matter what, I couldn't get rid of the urine smell and in the end the beds had to be thrown away. The decision was made not to use actual cat beds in the pens at the shelter, but to use fleece instead.

    The thing is if your kitten's beds have a faint odour of urine in spite of being laundered, your kitten will have difficulty telling the difference between a cat bed and a litter tray. Hence why he seems confused about where to toilet.

    My advice would be to do away with cat beds and instead buy some VetBed Fleece and give him a piece of that to lie on, perhaps in a cardboard box, or on the floor in his crate at night time. Urine wicks right through Vet Bed, leaving it dry enough for a cat to sleep on. Put a puppy training pad underneath the Vet Bed to soak up the urine.

    Vet Bed launders well and dries in no time, so if you buy several pieces you can give the kitten a clean piece several times a day if necessary. Vet Bed is not cheap but it lasts for years and is very useful stuff. There is nothing else quite like it.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Genuine-Or...510417358&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=vet+bed&psc=1
     
    #10 chillminx, Nov 11, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
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  11. Lisa2701

    Lisa2701 PetForums VIP

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    I totally agree with both Paddypaws and Chillminx.

    I got my two kitties when they were 5.5 weeks old (long story why it came to be that way). Both of them did know wht the litter tray was but Ziggy kept peeing in his bed despite using the litter tray most of the time. As chillminx said I ended up doing away with the bed for a while and just put some vetbed in a box on its side and they actually much preferred that.

    As Already suggested I’d take the poo and put it in his litter box, and if he wee’s Outside the box clean it up with tissue and put the tissue in the litter tray (then clean it properly with biological cleaner). I agree that you may need to stimulate him with a wee damp cloth while he’s in the litter tray and very gently help him dig the litter. Do this often to help him learn what it’s all about.

    By the way, behaviour wise, both mines turned into loving, affectionate, confident cats (they will be 1 years old in 11 days!). My girl was very bitey but no more than my sister kitten currently is and he was with Mum until he was 10-11 weeks old I’m sure... and she’s come out the other end with some redirection onto a kicker toy when she was biting. Both have amazing natures so getting them so young doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be unstable adults .... it just takes a bit more patience and training I guess? Or..... maybe I’ve just been extremely lucky.
     
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  12. tantrumbean

    tantrumbean PetForums Senior

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    Thanks everyone. We got plenty of vetbed in the house for the dogs, so it's easy enough to nick some for Brian. Will give that a go and also the damp cloth method. Might end up adding some soil to the tray anyway, just in case he prefers that. He's got one of those radiator bed things in the crate he stays in when he can't be supervised, and that is currently rapidly becoming his favourite toilet area. It might have to go for a bit....
     
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