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Moving Litter tray to outside

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by zapcon, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. zapcon

    zapcon PetForums Newbie

    Oct 11, 2017
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    We have a six month old kitten that uses an inside litter tray that I would like to be able to move outside.

    I am planning to move the litter tray to near the cat flap so she can see it and go outside. When this has worked, I was planning on moving the tray further down the garden.

    The only concern I have is that we have a stray cat that occasionally comes into our garden. I don't want this stray cat using the litter tray - is this likely or will the stray cat have his own toilet location ?

    Also, will other cats be attracted to the outside litter tray ?

    Thanks very much
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
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    Hi @zapcon,

    Indoor litter trays, outdoor litter trays and outside cat latrines are highly valued resources for cats, It is very likely the stray cat and some other cats in the neighbourhood will use a litter tray you place in your garden. Their reason for doing so would be to scent mark the tray as "theirs". This would probably stop your kitten from using the tray himself. It also means you will get through a lot of cat litter if you are providing a tray for several neighbourhood cats!

    Unless an outdoor tray is kept under cover, or you provide one of the Ferplast outdoor litter trays with the overhanging lid, the litter will get soaked with rain blowing in. Insects will move in (beetles, ants etc) and live in the tray anyway, come the warmer weather.

    Bear in mind your kitten may not want to toilet in the garden. Cats should be left to decide when they are ready for such a change.

    Litter trays in the house shouldn't be moved until you are 100% certain the cat never uses it anymore. If you remove his litter tray now from its usual spot, there is a big risk your kitten will pee on the floor. I am sure you don't want that. :(

    He would still need a tray at night anyway when shut indoors. It would not be good for his bladder to have to 'hold on" and concentrate his urine (risk of crystals forming in the bladder)

    If you are very keen for him to toilet outdoors it is best to make him an outdoor latrine in a quiet corner of the garden. Dig over an area of about 8 ft square so the soil is fine and easy for the cat to dig in.

    Take a little of the used litter from his tray and put it on the newly dug soil. He may start using it when the weather is warmer. Other cats will also use it though, but at least there will be space for your kitten to share it. But note that the very fact of the latrine being there may attract more cats to the garden.

    Cat poo takes at least 6 months to break down in the soil, so you'd need to scoop all the poo (your kitten's and any other cat's poo) from the latrine every few days. wrap it and bin it. If it is left in the soil the latrine will soon be full up and the cat will stop using it. The soil will also need digging over once a week to keep it soft, fine and attractive to the cat.

    If you want to encourage him gradually to go to an outdoor latrine, put an extra litter tray by your back door, but do not remove the original litter tray from its present spot. The original tray should not be moved to a new spot until the cat has stopped using it for a year .
    buffie likes this.
  3. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

    May 31, 2010
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    Good advice from @chillminx regarding how to provide outdoor toilet facilities for your kitten but I urge you not to remove her indoor tray even if she never seems to use it.
    She should always be given the choice of where she toilets and never be forced to go outdoors.
    chillminx likes this.
  4. Quartermass

    Quartermass PetForums Senior

    Nov 25, 2016
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    If it's the smell of the litter that's bothering you then it could be worth talking about what you're using and seeing if there's something better.

    I myself use either wood or corn based clumping, flushable litter and from what I've seen on here I think most others do.
    Laura_&_Cats and chillminx like this.
  5. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

    Sep 6, 2009
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    A cat should always have access to indoor litter boxes. Always. She should never be made to "hold it". Very unhealthy for a cat and can lead to many health problems, both in the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys, and the bowels. You also risk house soiling.

    Did you know that often the first sign of a health problem will be a change in litter box habits? If you encourage your cat to use her litter boxes indoors you will know her litter habits and if you see any changes you will know there may be a health problem.
    Laura_&_Cats, chillminx and buffie like this.
  6. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

    Oct 8, 2017
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    If it is a smell issue, not only changing the litter type or brand but food can play a role in smell. Often cheaper, carb heavy food causes more odor.
    Laura_&_Cats and chillminx like this.
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