Weeping Witchie vs. The Cat That Wont Be Trained

Help me cat owners! I have a kitten going on four months old that REFUSES to be litter box trained. I’ve tried moving the box around. I’ve tried sticking her nose in the poo. (I hate doing that, I feel SO mean), I’ve tried changing the brand of litter. When I put her in the box, she acts like I’m putting her in the bowels of hell. I do have other cats, so I’ve even tried giving her her own personal litter box. No go. It’s starting to get ridiculous. And smelly. My family is threatening to throw the cat AND me out on the street.

            HELP!!!!! :eek:

Weird. I caught a feral cat in a junkyard who took quite naturally to a litterbox ith no effort. Given the option, healthy and happy cats will use the litterbox naturally.

Refusing to use a litterbox is often a symptom of anxiety. You need to find out what is upsetting the kitty and deal with it – punishing the kitty doesn’t work (and may just make the anxiety all that much worse and exacerbate the problem). Note: sticking an animal’s nose in its poo does not work – they have no idea why you’re doing it. It is never recommended.

Cats pee outisde the litterbox to communicate “I have a problem.” (Note: this is very different than “spraying” which is done on vertical surfaces to mark territory.) Your job as the kitty-loving human is to determine the source of the problem (physical or emotional) and then find a way to deal with it.

There are some extremely helpful cat psychology books – sounds silly, but they can help make the translation from humanspeak to catspeak. Specific behaviour issues are addressed so that the human can understand WHY the cat is doing it, and then provides solutions that the cat will understand.

The one my housemate likes the best is the stupidly titled:
The Cat Who Cried for Help: Attitudes, Emotions, and the Psychology of Cats.

Your kitten may be freaked out by the presence of other cats. If the youngster doesn’t know where he/she fits in the heirarchy it can be distressed. Some cats hate change.


  1. Isolate the kity for awhile in a room where it’s easy to clean up. Once kitty is pooping in the box, you can gradually reintroduce it to the rest of the household. Make sure kitty has a nice bed or good hiding place in the room.

  2. Clean the “accidents” thoroughly using a white vinegar solution so that the spot doesn’t “smell like a toilet” to the cat (otherwise the kitty may continue to think it’s okay to go there.)

  3. Put small bowls of food on the spots where the kitty has peed inappropriately. Cats do NOT like to urinate where they eat – it may take many several little bowls of food, but if the only suitable place left to pee is the box, that’s where she will eventaully have to go.

  4. Place the cat in the box after every meal (yes, that means you can’t free-feed the kitty) and give lots of love and attention if she uses the box.

Please note: For really difficult kitties, it can take a few weeks. But if it’s in an isolated room, the family won’t be so inclined to throw you both out on the street.

Cats can be pretty finicky about their litter boxes. Make sure that the box is as far from her food as possible. If it is a covered litter box, try an uncovered one, and vice-versa. I had a cat that didn’t like covered his covered litter box, and would go beside it. Another cat would go elsewhere if it wasn’t clean to her liking. If it was clean all the time, no problem.

I wish you luck in breaking this habit of hers. At one point I had three cats at once. One of them had taken to peeing on a chair that was in my basement. I had NO idea which cat, still don’t to this day. Special odor removers and cat repellant seemed to help. Is she always going in the same spots?

IMHO, and I’m no expert, sticking her face in her accident won’t help. Unless you catch her at the exact moment she’s doing it, she doesn’t remember actually going there, and has no clue why you’re mad.

If the litterbox and the litter is new, they won’t smell like the place to poop. Put the misplaced poop in there.

If the box is already in use, has it been cleaned recently? Some cats will go elsewhere if the litterbox smells too bad.

Finally, take the little lady near the box and brush her with a soft brush. Make sure you brush her rear. Mother cats stimulate bowel action by grooming around the anus. Your kitten is young enough to remember this.

She doesn’t seem stressed out by anything. She’s a very affectionate kitty…loves to be held and cuddled and interacts very well with the other cats. I’ve started letting her go outside in the hope she’d “do her business” out there…buts she’s STILL peeing and pooping in here. Why do you think that is?

I agree with Charmian to clean anywhere kitty goes very thoroughly.

I trained my kitties by the simple method of catching them when they were about to poop or piss, carrying them to the litter pan, and making them stay there until they did something. It only took one or two tries, although I had to re-train them when I moved the litter pan a few weeks later.

zyada that worked with all my other cats(I’ve managed to train 10 in my lifetime) but when I put Marley in the box she FREAKS OUT. It’s like she’s petrified of the thing. She howls, claws, the works. I’ve gotten her to the point where she’ll poop beside the box on occaision, but thats as close as she’ll go at this point. And I’ve tried the old poop in the box trick…no good…but I’ve seen a few things here I haven’t tried yet …like the vinegar and moving the bowl…but that may not be practical because I do have 4 other cats…*breaks into sobs

It sounds like you need to get her used to the box before you try to get her to use it.

Have you tried:

Putting her in the box sans litter?
Putting her in the box with litter when she didn’t need to go to the bathroom?
Trying a box of a different color or size?

Don’t know if this will help you any, but here’s my recent experience. Our two kittens began treating any paper, either on the floor or in an open box, as a litter box. I took a small litter pan, filled it with shredded paper and put it next to the regular litter box. Whenever I caught one of them starting to squat, I picked him up and put him in that box. As they got used to using it, I starting putting a little litter in with the paper, gradually increasing the amount of litter. I also make a point of keeping the litter boxes clean. They seem to have gotten the idea, although there are still the occasional accidents.

Just tried putting her in the box again to the usual howling and clawing, but this time as I patted her and talked to her softly she stayed for 2.5 seconds. I’m thinking the community box is just to steep for her still, and maybe if I try here again in the smaller box(even though she pretty much fills it by now) …well, it can’t hurt to try.

Poor Kat.

My cats were all outside cats, luckily.

Did you call a vet for advice?

Most of the time cats use the litterbox naturally with no training. If a cat won’t use the litterbox it’s usually because something terrible happened at one point in its life while it was in the box and now it associates the box with the unpleasant event. Your job is to make your cat feel safe and comfortable in the litterbox again. Whatever you do don’t punish or discipline her anymore – you’ll just confuse and frighten her and probably make things worse.

Does you litterbox have a cover? Try removing it – it might be what’s scaring your cat. Also try buying a larger litterbox – some cats get claustrophobic in small spaces. Plus, the new litterbox might have a different smell and appearance that won’t trigger the same kind of fear in your cat.

Aw c’mon Lois, you know that would be far too easy. And besides, I’d rather get practical advice from other cat owners. I swear she’s out to get me. She’ll go out in the yard to play and then come INSIDE to take a dump. Sigh…the good thing is the kids go back to school this week and I can devote more time into getting this little lady trained. Before we’re homeless. Or I lose my mind. Whichever comes first.

Jeez, this sounds frustrating. The only thing I can think of: how high is the rim of the box? If she has to make a substantial effort to get in, maybe it seems too much effort to her–maybe you could use an Exacto knife to cut the sides of the box down to kitten-size.

Have you consulted a vet yet?

I thought the mind part came a lonnnnng time ago. :smiley:

one of my cats will poo anywhere but the box. she does have poo problems that are part of the problem. i found out if i put out newspaper or leave the litter box without litter she will poo in it.

i bought an oven liner… large flat tin thing. it is about the same square footage as the litter box but no sides. i put very little litter in it. (feline pine) it seems to help.

one thought did come to mind. have you seen any of the other cats attack the wee one when she was in the box? sometimes cats will “bop” another cat when they are in a position that they can’t defend. perhaps this has happened to her and she doesn’t want to be vulnerable.

I’m going to try the " no litter" or “newspaper” approach next. I believe as I’m running out of white vinegar…and patience. :smack:

I have'nt seen any of my kitties give her a hard time in the box ...then again I've never been able to get her *in* the box in the first place. I wonder if something happened to her before she got to me. At this point it's the only thing I can think of.
So on goes the Great Poo Battle Off '02........

I had a cat who acted like that once. A friend suggested not putting the cat box liner (a glorified trashbag) in, just dump the litter straight into the box. He said some cats don’t like the crinkly sound of the plastic. Worked like a charm.

If your not too grossed out by the concept you could try to toilet train your cat.

I’m trying to toilet train my cat right now.

  1. Put kitty litter in a bowl and emptied the litter box. Placed bowl next to litter box. So far so good.

  2. Gradually move bowl over to the toilet. Check.

  3. Gradually raise bowl to level of toilet, using books, boxes etc. Check.

  4. Place bowl in toilet with the lip of the bowl under the toilet seat. Check.

  5. Catch kitty in the act and start placing her front paws on the toilet seat.
    This is the hard part, because you have to actually catch her while she’s going. I still haven’t trained her to put her paws on the seat yet.

  6. When all four paws are on the seat regularly, fill the bowl with water.

  7. Remove bowl.

So far I’m up to step 5. I can’t seem to catch her when she’s going. Now if only I could train the dog to use the toilet!

Wouldn’t you have to already have to have your cat trained to the box before you trained it to the toilet or am I missing something here?