Litter box issues

It’s been several months and I’ve tried everything I can think of, but Luna and Oreo still haven’t gotten the hang of the fact that I want them to use the litter box and only the litter box. They’ve been to the vet, there’s nothing wrong with them physically; in Oreo’s case I think she’s lazy and doesn’t want to walk all the way back across the house to the box, and Luna, I think, doesn’t like using the box after Oreo’s used it.

So. I have two litter boxes, one covered, one uncovered. They are scooped daily; the cats do use them, but they don’t use them consistently. Luna is fond of peeing in front of the back door, and pooping on the floor 3 inches from the litter box :rolleyes: , but Oreo pees behind furniture on carpet. I’ve shampooed the spots, sprayed with Odo-ban, and whenever I catch them at it I immediately snatch them up and scold them while I carry them to the litter box and make them “scratch” at the litter. This results in them jumping out and giving me a dirty look.

Advice? Ideas? I’ve thought about changing their litter, but I’m reluctant to do that; the stuff I use now has a nice clean light pine scent, flushable and scoopable, and all the other litters have an overwhelming perfume-y scent that makes me gag. They’re both still kittens; Luna is about 7 months old and Oreo, I think, is roughly the same age. They were worse than usual over the weekend but they got spayed and vaccinated on Friday and were therefore not in a happy frame of mind. (I got them home Saturday morning and they were hissing at me, hissing at each other, hissing at dust on the floor, hissing at furniture - poor things were so disgruntled they didn’t know what to do.)

How do I solve this problem?

Hmmm…I’d try changing litter. While you may like the pine scent, the cats might not. Also try locking them in the room with the litter box for half a day or so. Cats tend to not like to foul the place where they’re stuck.

Although once they’ve started going in other places in the house, it’s a bitch to get them to stop. While you may be able to clean it enough so that you can’t smell it, they can still smell the residue and think “ahhh…here’s where I pee”

Good Luck

Cat Attract cat litter. Get it at PetSmart or another pet store. It has some herbal crack in it that cats can’t resist.

Anecdotally, I’ve heard that lots of people have had problems with the “pine fresh” types of litter. Seems many cats don’t like it.

I use “the World’s Best cat litter” and am very happy with it. It’s a corn based litter that clumps well, is flushable, and seems to keep the odor level down better than other litters that I’ve tried.
good luck.

The only method I’ve known to work involved acting before they’ve messed in the house. I have no idea how applicable it would be now.

I was told, and did not believe, that the trick is to follow a brand-new kitten around the house and watch him or her intently. No matter how long it takes. Follow and watch for signs of pawing the ground and sniffing. Then swoop up the kitten and deposit into the litterbox, manipulating a paw to scratch the litter so he or she knows it’s soft and can bury bad things.

As I said, I thought this was simplistic. Then one day we got a kitten. I followed that rascal around the place for four hours. That’s four solid hours of staring at an (admittedly cute) furball with laserlike intensity.

Finally said furball began the scratch-n-sniff routine. I promptly yoicked him up, and dropped him into the litter box, helping him with the recommended paw-shoveling motion.

That cat never missed the litterbox during the entire time he lived with us.

That’s only a trial of one, so I can’t swear by the concept. But, in that particular case, it worked exactly as advertised.


I would return and pursue treatment. There are plenty of things that are not due to physical problems that can be treated. After addressing physical issues and litter preference/box location/box type, when inappropriate elimination continues I have had success with psychoactive drugs (for the cats, not you;)).

I’d also recommend changing litter. Also, our vet believes in the “one box for each cat, plus one extra” rule, so you’d have 3 boxes instead of 2. He also recommended Feliway spray. It has the pheromone that cats give off when they rub their faces on things and is supposed to reduce anxiety. You spray it around the litter boxes and it allegedly makes them feel better about using them. I don’t know if it works. The extra box does seem to make a difference though.

Okay. I’ll try changing litter brands and see if that helps (cost is an issue for me, I really hope I don’t have a pair of kittybrats with a taste for gourmet poo cover). Hopefully that’ll work without having to get a 3rd box, I’m running out of floor space.

Do you think maybe following them around with a squirt bottle for a day or so would keep them out from behind the furniture where they sometimes pee, or would it just teach them to do it when nobody’s around?

I second changing the litter. I don’t think pine is a universal favorite. Ultimately you can afford new litter, even the expensive stuff, more than you can afford to have them going on your clothes, furniture, carpet, etc. And they might even like the cheap, non-scoop stuff. This just means you change the whole box out. A pain for you, but not really more expensive because the litter is cheaper. And cats have been using that stuff for ages.

I predict zero success with the spray bottle.

We have always had 2 boxes for 2 cats, works OK. So IME the third box probably isn’t going to be the key. Although with the one cat not wanting to go after the other, maybe it is.

Good luck.

Don’t make their litter box experience scary. If you snatch them up and throw them in and make them scratch it could cause them to be afraid of the litter box. Bad experiences in the box can cause them to avoid using it.

This is a most excellent article about litterboxes: The Litterbox. They don’t recommend the pine stuff.

I have had success with putting a new litter box in the spot they were using. Then I move the box away a bit at a time until it’s where it belongs - I did this in conjunction with using pet smell cleaner on the spots they had used. I do suggest you change the litter, though. They aren’t all scented.

The kittens don’t happen to be recently declawed? That could lead to improper “bathroom” behavior. I just noticed that it wasn’t mentioned in the OP or any of the posts.

Regarding perfume-y litters: I use the bulk litter from Petco. No perfume, low dust, odor control and super clump formula etc.

Regarding litter boxes: 4 cats, two litter boxes, no problems.

Even if you ‘think’ you have the spot clean, they likely still smell that spot as a potential litter spot. I had a similar issue with my daughters cat last year.

We cleaned the carpet, sprayed lemon around it (on the advice of a friend, etc) NOTHING worked–he still went back to that spot.

However what did work is we put a sheet of black plastic down in that area–he wouldn’t walk on the plastic. Evidently the plastic doesn’t feel good on his toes! But since he couldn’t go there, he went to his litter box and eventually acclimated back to that is where he was supposed to go.

The downside is you have to live with a piece of black plastic in your living room until he gets the message :slight_smile:

Good luck!

Another vote for change the litter.

My Minx was a good girl with her box. She always used it no matter what, until I tried to change out the litter to one she didn’t like (I tried that “crystal” stuff. Apparently, she didn’t like the texture) then she went right next to the box.

Arm & Hammer litter is great. It clumps well and it comes in unscented. I don’t believe it is flushable, though.

I agree with the advice to change the litter. Pine may smell great to you but cats usually don’t like it. If, after the litter change, they are still going outside the box, take a look at where the boxes are located. Is there something around there that could’ve frightened them? Is it near their food? (They don’t like to eat where they poop) If the box is in a high traffic area they may not feel comfortable using it. (Most) cats like privacy when they do their business.

It’s too bad this ins’t the most interesting thread.

I would nominate it for thread spotting with the title

“Stink outside the box”.


Hey, at least I remembered the rule about kitty pics.

If it is the litter they object to then I’m afraid they’re just going to have to put up with it for another couple of weeks until I get paid again, 'cause I’m flat broke. They go back to the vet to get their stitches out on Saturday (they got spayed last Friday, reason #1 why I’m flat broke), I’ll ask the vet if she has any ideas.

I am also interested in your guy’s tips. My little kitten hasn’t quite learned that my mattress is not the place to go. Unfortunately, changing litter isn’t an option since the only “litter” available here is sand from my front yard.