There are a bunch of stray cats that hang around my apartment complex. During the spring one of them had a pair of kittens. At some point one of the two disappeared ( ) but the other did well and I tossed him some cat food now and then. He was born feral but he doesn’t act like it. He likes people, he loves to be pet and carried and cuddled, and I know he’d make a great house cat. I know somebody that would take him in if I can get him domesticated. I’ve been bringing him inside for the last couple of days and he freaked out the first day but now he loves it and if I kick him out he just wants back in. This is all great, it’s exactly what I wanted, except…
He does not understand the concept of a litter box. I put a box with fresh litter in the room with him, I put a piece of cat poo from my cats’ litter box in there to give him the idea that “Poop goes here.” I’ve even put dirt on top so that it’s more like what he’s used to. He’s not getting it and is just going wherever. Every cat I’ve ever dealt with, all I had to do was set them in the box once and they got the idea. This one isn’t making that connection.
I can’t keep him permanently, nobody is going to take him in if he can’t be housebroken, and the idea of putting him back out on the street is heartbreaking. I’d be really grateful for any suggestions or tips on how to get him to go where he’s supposed to.
I once had the same problem…and failed to solve it
How long did this kitten survive with its mother nearby? The cat I adopted was very,very young–maybe 4 weeks, and abandoned by the mother. Apparently some of the basic “instincts” (i.e burying waste) are not really instinctive–they are learned behaviors. If the kitten doesn’t learn it at the right time,(by watching the example of the mother ), it may never learn at all.
(like the stories of feral human babies, who never learn to speak because the window of learning is limited to a specific age (around 2-3 yrs old).If a baby’s brain isnt exposed to language during that window, it may never learn to speak.
Progress! I went into the room and he was half asleep. I pet him a bit and then set him into the litter box. I kinda moved his paw around in a digging motion and then let him go. He immediately started pooping!
Unfortunately, mid-poop, he decided to move. From the floor to the bed to the other side of the bed. He did not stop pooping at any time during this maneuver. My washing machine isn’t getting a break this Christmas.
Is there anywhere smaller you could confine him, like a bathroom? Cats don’t like to soil where they sleep or eat, so the smaller the space he is in, the more he will be directed to the litter box for peeing or pooping.
What about a small animal crate even, with only room for the three major activities. He wouldn’t need to be 100 percent confined; when you’ve just seen him pee/poop he could be let out for some play for a bit.
The litter box is half full of dirt and leaves and he’s used it! There’s dirt all over the place but that’s fixable. I’ll try not to get my hopes up too much but things seem to be improving
I do have a small bathroom and I tried putting him in there this morning. He cried constantly and I’m a wimp so I put him back in the other room. If all else fails though I’ll try to grow a spine and put him back there until he figures it out.
I once had a female cat who had some litterbox issues. She would get into the box, hang her butt over the edge, and poop outside the box. She would then spend a few minutes frantically pawing litter out of the box to try to cover it up–outside the box. I tried moving the box into a corner. Didn’t work, she just picked an edge that wasn’t next to a wall. I ended up permanently keeping a bunch of newspaper under the box, and cleaning up and replacing it.
She had kittens. Every single one of the kittens used the box the same way she did.
We had to get a covered box. (We also got that little lady spayed. We thought she was too young to get pregnant, and we also thought she would let us know when she went into heat. Well.)
He’s an awfully handsome boy. Hope you get things worked out!