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17 November 2010

I have concluded our new cat Sunny was abused and requires rehab. He is just shy of 1 year old and was a shelter cat, yet declawed. He has major litter box issues. Any tips? [More:] He is scared of litter boxes, and when he saw that I had caught him pooping in the middle of the room, he puked and then ran and huddled in a corner, shaking with terror. Poor little guy. It took me 10 minutes of soft talk and tiny scritches to settle him down. Given his behaviors, I believe his former owners (not the shelter) punished him rather severely when litter training him.

Anyway, I have some experience rehabbing cats. We have sequestered Sookie in my room, where she pretty much lives anyway, so that Sunny has the house litter box to himself. Sookie is definitely the alpha cat and she was claiming both litter boxes. We also have Yesterday's News that he seems to prefer. Hopefully we can get him used to this litter box as his, and he will defend his turf from Sookie when we reintegrate them.
Poor kitty. Is Sunny aggressive towards the new cat? If not, you might try letting Sunny out and letting him take the lead in helping the new one adjust? After my birth mom died and we took in her cat, he was really freaked out for a few days, but our cat was instrumental in helping him adjust. At first, my mother's cat hissed at ours and hid under the bed, but they were buddies in no time.

It might be normal for them to establish a bit of a pecking order. And I'm not sure cats will distinguish a his-litterbox and a my-litterbox. I bet it's fine, in fact, if you just have one good sized box (we only had one for two cats). Maybe, like kittens, Sookie will even follow Sunny's lead with the litter box. Just a thought.

Sounds like your very sweet and patient with the new kitty. No doubt Sookie will heal in time. Makes me miss having kitties.
posted by Pips 17 November | 22:27

True confession: I'd always thought Feliway had to be complete woo woo bullshit but after spending the past three years mediating the daily conflicts between one cat that is super aggressive and another cat that is super shy, I finally gave in and tried it out two weeks ago. I stuck a Feliway collar (actually made by Sentry) onto MeanKitty and we had *instant* peace between the two. It's like MeanKitty is carrying around her own personal Zone of Zen. And ShyKitty suddenly stopped being a tense ball of anxiety who only trusted me and is now completely blase about everyone: cat, human, dog. Huge difference, well worth the $15.
posted by jamaro 17 November | 22:46
Frustrating. Our cat got into the habit of pooping just outside her litter box. So I moved the box over a couple feet (to where she was pooping), and she started pooping in the box again. I slid the box back about halfway to where it was, but it's out of our way now and she's still pooping in it.

Maybe you could do something similar? Put a litter box where the kitty is pooping? Then if he starts pooping in it, you can move it 6 inches a day or something until it is where you want it?

In the case of our cat, I suspect our puppy spooked her when we first got him. He was small enough to fit through the pet door we put in the laundry room door, and he did sneak through a few times. I think the cat was afraid to go all the way into the box to poop because she wanted to be able to keep an eye on the pet door. Puppy now weighs about 60 lb. and doesn't fit through the pet door anymore.
posted by Doohickie 17 November | 22:55
Oh, poor thing. Declawed, too, which does not help with litter issues (sore feet . . you wouldn't want to dig to bury your poop, either, right?).

Doohickie's plan worked for me when ours got . . unaccountably confused about where to go. Feliway, and I don't know what kind of box you have, but we have this top-entry litter box which seems to make ours feel safe. They also seem to like it because sticking your head out the top means your little kitty nose is not in there, enclosed in a small space with your poop.

Good luck. :(
posted by Medieval Maven 18 November | 10:42
Maybe a litter box that has a cover, or even fully covered with a little flap for him to go in and out of it. And perhaps a different kind of litter - shredded newspapers or something?
posted by Senyar 18 November | 12:54
The Feliway looks interesting. I will look into that.

After the first night of separating them, no accidents yet. The location of the litter box is pretty much fixed because of the layout of this place. Also, where he was going was about 40 feet from the box.

Hopefully, the daytime does not bring back any issues.
posted by Ardiril 18 November | 13:25
Wow, a dedicated thread to bitching about evil pets and their evil potty issues. Since the cat moved in, the dog, who previously had no issues doing her business in the house in pre-determined marked spots, has started holding it in for hours and hours until her bladder explodes in such inconvenient places as my bed and my couch. I try to keep an eye on her and take her out before she gets to that point, but I can't always catch it. For a person without an in-house washer/dryer, this is a SERIOUS PAIN IN THE ASS.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 18 November | 13:29
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