Taming a stray cat. Litter box issues.

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 ( :frowning: ) 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’m going to move this to our advice-giving forum, IMHO.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

I once had the same problem…and failed to solve it :frowning:

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.

Sorry, I wasn’t sure if it was an MPSIMS or IMHO thing.

As for the rest of you, help! What do I have to do here? You want a pic? Is that what’s missing? It that what it will take to appease you? Fine! :wink:

Help me help this cat..

His mom is still around but he’s old enough now that she kinda drives him away. I’ve seen him burying his droppings before, but he’s just not making the connection that cat litter = dirt.

Wow, that is an amazing picture. Black cats are so hard to photograph, well done!

And thank you for bringing him in. I wonder if the scent of your cat’s poop is making newkitty think that the litterbox belongs to your cat, so that means the box is the one place to not go?

Its also possible that newkitty has a UTI. I’m assuming that you have made an appointment to have him fixed, the vet can check his urine then.

One of my boys gets UTI’s often and the first sign is that he stops using the litterbox.

Sometimes, he doesn’t want to start using it again so I go to PetSmart and buy some Cat Attract litter. Its expensive, but it works like a charm.

Good luck with newkitty, and thank you again for rescueing him.

IDK, I didn’t think about it. he’s a boy so I assume he’d take any chance to place his own scent over another cat’s but maybe that’s wrong. I’ll sift it out and see what happens.

No appointment but my brother works at a vet office so when it’s time to get him fixed I can just bring him in with no problem.

I didn’t know something like this existed, if he can’t find the plot by tomorrow I’ll definitely try it out. Thanks so much!

Maybe try the dirt he is used to. Then slowly add litter to the dirt, converting over totally over to the litter.

It’s raining now so the best I could do is shovel mud. :frowning: I have some potted plants that I’ve killed, maybe I could use the dirt from those. If he doesn’t use the box next time he goes I’ll try it.

I hope it helps. For my boy, I totally fill his litterbox to start and then start mixing regular litter in to get him back to the cheaper stuff. It takes about a month.

Some cats don’t like to pee and poop in the same litterbox. Do you have room to add a second one?

I’m just tossing out suggestions. Like you, all I’ve ever had to do was show the new kittie(s) the litterbox and they got it right away.

Good luck!

Try a houseplant with a pot quite larger than the plant. My furry boy will choose a potted plant over the litter box every single time.

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!

That is a cute cat and I’m not a cat person. You can tell from that picture he is just waiting and plotting…But what? I don’t know but you can tell he’s up to no good