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cat aggression and outside toilet

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm new to the forum. I have two issues ... hope you don't mind.
1. How can I get my cat to use the toilet outside? I've had cats for 21 years, and they've all gone in the back yard. (The first one I got in college was already used to doing so; every subsequent cat just learned from the elder cats in residence. They all rang a bell tied onto the door.) We got a new kitten from the SPCA about six months ago, and she just won't go outside and won't always use the litter box. Help! I HATE the smell of the litter box! We've tried slowly moving the box toward the back door and then eventually outside the door, but we don't have any overhang and we'd have to move it back inside everytime it looked like rain. If she didn't feel like going outside, she'd just poop on the bathroom floor, or in my daughter's bedroom. We've tried feeding her and then just putting her out, but I swear, she'll stay out for two hours and come back in and poop. I need your ideas! She's about 9 months old. We got the litter box back out and put it in a spare bedroom, but she's terribly messy and shoots poop and litter everywhere.

2. Molly is also very aggressive. VERY aggressive. I thought at first it was just because she was a kitten -- it had been a long time since I'd had a kitten. We have an older cat: she's 17 and counting, and the truth is, she doesn't much like Molly. Alex (the elder) has been around other kittens; we've had three others since we got her 16 and a half years ago. (We lost all three, two to cancer at ages five and six and one two-year-old to unknown causes.) She did fine with all of them -- sometimes she acted haughty, but never mean. And she loves our dogs; snuggles with them, cleans their ears, mothers them. She HATES Molly, though, and the two of them vie for dominance. They dance around and spit at each other, seven months of it now. Anyway, Molly has been very assertive since she arrived at eight weeks old. She refuses to be petted, absolutely hates being picked up, doesn't much want any human interaction except to tell you if you've waited too long to put food in her bowl. My 9-year-old daughter begged to get her; she wanted one of her own. Molly won't cuddle or play with her at all. She bites, scratches, grabs you with all her paws and just generally makes it terribly hard to want to be around her. She's even woken my daughter up scratching her on the head, playing with her hair. We're trying so hard to keep loving her, but man, she makes it tough! I've never had a cat behave like this. The vet says she's in great health.

Your thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?
post #2 of 4
Hmm, I think because she is a kitten and because you keep moving the litterbox around is the reason she isn't consistantly using it like she should be. First of all, since you adopted her, is she allowed to go outside? Many shelters, rescues and SPCA's don't allow you to adopt a cat that you will be letting or keeping outside. Look over the contract you signed, many have you sign a legal document saying you will keep her inside. I am assuming she is spayed since she was adopted from the SPCA right?

Secondly, I think what you need to do is to find a better litter. Part of having a cat is having a litterbox. If the cat wants to stay in you can't force her outside. I know some people have outdoor cats and I am fine with that, but you can't make her be what she isn't.

Have you considered a self cleaning litterbox? Have you considered simething like Feline Pine that will leave the litterbox area smelling like fresh pine? When the cat just poops, of course it is going to smell a little bit. You can't really get around that. At least a self cleaning box will take care of that and Feline Pine will get the room smelling fresh again.

As for aggression, don't play with her with your hands at all. Use toys, toys on sticks, anything but your hands. I think it is just really rough play, kittens sometimes go through a phase like this where they are just crazy, but it is not that they are trying to hurt you. At least I don't think it is in this case. I also suggest picking up some Feliway plug ins and sprays to calm her down and also to possibly help with litterbox problems, although, like I said, I don't think this is really a problem, the moving is probably confusing her. Plus if she goes on the floor she will continuously go there unless you really clean it with something like Nature's Miracle.
post #3 of 4
Molly was probably overwhelmed from the get-go. Have you checked out the info. available on introducing a new kitten to the home??? Also, she should be using a litter box with tall enough sides to avoid messes. And does the "Queen Bee" have any influence on Molly's using the box?? "Ambush at the litter box" seems to be the favorite drama among cats There is a good book titled, "Cat Confidential" that an English cat behaviorist wrote - excellent in helping us humans understand cat psychology.
My heart broke thinking about the disappointment for your daughter. I have a kitten that was rescued from a mountain highway who had aggression issues. My 10 yo. grandson would give her a stuffed toy (a flamingo, she really rips into that thing) to mangle when she'd get aggressive, he'd also tell her "Anger Management, Andrea". It really helped lots!
Sounds like Molly does have anger; the detective work is to find out the source. The dominant cat might be your first place to look; however, I have found that the "less obvious cat" can often be an instigator, esp. when they realize that the "naughty" cat has a short- fuse - think of the uproar! the excitement! the KItty-entertainment
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your responses. I think I'll check out the book.
Yes, "catsknowme," the older cat is a master at appearing to be completely innocent when she's really doing her haughty best to make Molly stressed. We've made sure that Molly has a few "safe" places to play -- places the older cat avoids.

We did do our best not to overwhelm her. When we first got her, we had only the aging Queen Bee and a four-year-old blue merle shepherd who was actually scared of the kitten and avoided her like the plague. We got the terrier mut, another stray, just a month ago. We'd lost our 16-year-old lab mix in January of last year and felt the time was right for an addition to the family. We let the cats in and out through a separate door from where the dogs come and go. The dogs sleep in my room at night with the older cat; Molly is free to sleep in any room up front that she likes.

So, yes, I can certainly see where she might be stressed and acting out. I'm afraid I haven't really read much about integrating new animals ... We've just always been so very lucky to have easy-going animals that all got along famously from the get-go -- Alex and my lab grew up together, kitten and puppy, and slept and played and napped together and cleaned each other all the time. Dogs and cats I had earlier in my life were the same. I guess I let myself get a little stressed over Molly's very different behavior. It helps to see that there are some specific things we can try.

And Jen, yes, we got her from a shelter, but they say it's OK for her to be outside. We live in an older neighborhood with lots of shelter, trees, no free-roaming dogs, etc. (The birds aren't necessarily safe around here, but the cats are OK!) She is spayed. Just to clarify, when I said "go" it was a euphamism for "poop." She LOVES to play outside. Likes to spend hours out there scratching in the dirt and hunting for bugs and birds, making sure the dogs can see that she's able to get out of the fence! She just likes to come back in when it's time to poop, and despite the fact that we've thoroughly cleaned the area, the bathroom floor seems to be her litterbox of choice! Sigh!

And we were careful to move the litterbox gradually. The older cat does not use it -- she's gone outside for nearly 17 years and can't stand the sight of it -- and I'm fairly certain she's not threatening Molly near the litterbox. Alex sleeps a lot these days, curled up in a back part of the house, and Molly doesn't really go back there very often.

I think I'll read that book and try a new litter. I didn't really want to invest in an expensive self-cleaning litterbox, because I honestly didn't ever imagine I'd need it for more than a month or two in the beginning. We keep it for new kitties, inclement weather (though Alex the elder wouldn't use it regardless. She'll demand to go outside in any kind of weather to poop.), cat illness, other emergencies. But I guess if the new litter doesn't work and a more conservative movement of the box to the outside doesn't work, we'll have to check into that.

And I will try playing with her only with toys and not my hands.

Thanks for your time!
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