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Litterbox re-training suggestions needed! (long, sorry)

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have put this in the behaviour forum because the little monster concerned has been to the vet because of this, there is no UTI and he's in great health.

Yes it's Sonic, our new 3 1/2 month old oriental kitten. All was fine for the first couple of days, using the litterbox for pee and poo with no problems, and then one night he urinated on Nate and our bed while we were asleep. Of course we took him straight to the vet the next day in case the stress of a new home had brought on a UTI, the vet has ruled this out as a cause.

Despite heavy use of enzyme cleaner he has done it several times, always when we are asleep in bed, never at any other time. And this morning Nate found that he had also urinated (Sonic that is, not Nate ) in the laundry bin where we keep our clean undies. As he was putting everything in the washing machine, he also discovered a nugget of poo.

Also as I was on my way to work it dawned on me that a whiff of cat-pee smell was following me around and realised that he'd also urinated on my jeans (I was a bit groggy this morning and I think I have become so used to the smell of kitten wee that I just don't notice it any more, why oh why didn't I notice before leaving the house, I am so embarrassed, I am the crazy cat lady with the crazy cat wee perfume!!)

As you can see I am managing to retain a good sense of humour and am able to laugh about this, I love the little horror to bits, but we have to find a way to help him get back into appropriate toileting behaviour before we all lose our marbles and deplete world stocks of enzyme cleaner

So to recap:
Sonic, 3 months old oriental kitten, not neutered (can't get it done before 6 months old in London), no UTI or other health issue, bouncing active lovebug little kitten, still very much adored despite his new nickname 'widdlecat'.

At the moment because we are going through introductions, Radar is confined to the sitting room (a large room) while we are out, and Sonic to the bedroom. They each have a litterbox in their respective rooms. Litterboxes scooped when we notice they've been used. We praise Sonic and give him a treat when he comes out of the litterbox after using it, and he does still use it most of the time. We put him in the litterbox and make digging motions in the litter before we go to bed to encourage him to use it last thing at night, but he just hops out and goes 5 minutes later on the bed.

If I catch him squatting on the bed, I say a calm quiet No, pick him up and put him in the litterbox, then praise him and give him cuddles when he's done. To those of you who know me I hope it goes without saying that there is no question of us 'punishing' him, we're not like that, it's not as if he's doing it on purpose he's a little baby, and it would in any case be completely counter-productive. Just wanted to make that clear, we are dealing with it very calmly and showing him loads of love.

So I am thinking that:

Tonight I will have to go over the bedroom with a fine tooth comb and more enzyme cleaner to make sure I haven't missed anything. I will get a black-light at the earliest opportunity to make sure that I have got every trace.

Put his litterbox somewhere more private in case that is an issue for him, maybe I'll screen it off with a cardboard box to see if that helps.

Buy another litterbox for Sonic (lord only knows where I'm going to put it in the bedroom but we will work something out!) in case he prefers to pee and poo in different areas.

Try gradually switching over to 'cat attract' litter or similar, at the moment he's using Cat's Best (I think that's the same stuff as World's Best) which is what his breeder uses.

Does anyone think it would be a good idea to confine him to the bathroom (with litterbox, food, water, toys, bed) while we are out, rather than the bedroom, at least until he gets back into good habits. That way we can easily clean up any messes that happen while we are not around, and praise him each time he gets it right when we are home with him. Our bathroom is small, but bigger than a dog-crate would be, and is kitten-safe.

Any suggestions would be more than welcome.

And to put everyone's minds at rest (because I have seen enough threads where the OP brings up the threat), although this is a very frustrating thing for us to be going through, we love little Sonic and would rather cover the entire house in plastic sheeting than even consider re-homing him - that is NOT EVER going to enter our heads. That which you tame, you are responsible for forever. I woke up this morning with the little lad curled up asleep on my neck
post #2 of 27
If he only does it at night, maybe it is because he is lonely, or wants to play? If it were me I would confine him to the bathroom at night, and in the morning while scooping his stuff, tell him he was good. It does sound like it will be a temporary problem, since he is new, and you ahve introductions going. sorry I can't be of more help./
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gailuvscats View Post
If he only does it at night, maybe it is because he is lonely, or wants to play? If it were me I would confine him to the bathroom at night, and in the morning while scooping his stuff, tell him he was good. It does sound like it will be a temporary problem, since he is new, and you ahve introductions going. sorry I can't be of more help./
Thank you, that is helpful. If that is the case, then perhaps a longer play and cuddle session dedicated just to him right before bedtime may help. Although we may have to resort to putting him in the bathroom at night for the time being, I would hate to do that as he loves to cuddle up with us in bed (usually curls up right between our faces) and he is not used to sleeping alone as all the kits slept in the breeders bed as soon as they were weaning and old enough to get up there! Getting the night time cuddles makes it worth being woken up at 6am by having a toy dropped on your face
post #4 of 27
Weel, it sounds to me like you've got all the ideas that I had! I hope you can work this out with Sonic...does he use his litterobx during the day?
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Weel, it sounds to me like you've got all the ideas that I had! I hope you can work this out with Sonic...does he use his litterobx during the day?
When we get home there are pee-balls and poo in his litterbox, so we know he is using it at least most of the time during the day. The wet patches on the bed only happen at night (at least so far!), he must have gone on my jeans last night after I went to bed cos they were fine yesterday, and in the laundry basket sometime after Nate got dressed yesterday morning, although it could have been during the day I think it was still pretty soggy this morning (urgh) so was probably overnight. I am worried now that he is also going in other places like under the dressing table, behind the bedside cabinet, or under the curtains - I will check tonight.

But yes he does use his litterbox while we are out during the day, but I cannot be 100% sure that he doesn't go elsewhere during the day until I have a good check of the corners I can't readily get to! Mostly it seems to be a night-time thing.

It seems that he's attracted to peeing on things that smell of us - our bed and our clothes, which really makes me think it may be an issue to do with wanting to feel close to us or something. He so obviously loves us both very much, and I feel bad that because introductions are going slowly that we aren't able to give him as much time as he needs with us, due to not being able to have the cats together all the time - we're spreading ourselves a bit thin at the moment, Nate and I taking it in turns to play with each of the cats in separate rooms and giving them some supervised time together, rather than all of us being together all the time.

The issue of us all needing to spend more time together as a family is a temporary one that will be resolved in time - Radar has licked the little guy now, so things are moving slowly but surely forwards Once they are getting on well enough they will have each other for company while we are at work, and we can all cuddle up together on the sofa of an evening. I'm really looking forward to that and it will be a much happier situation for both Sonic and Radar too
post #6 of 27
My senior cat OX doesn't usually use a litter box (for a long time) but I have but a litter box in the garage and he seems to be at least peeing in that. (He likes going outside for that) Anyhow he seems to want to use the litter box shortly after eating so you might want to try to put Sonic in the litter box shortly after eating (15-20 minutes) to see if you can establish a routine. Or I would probably take away the food by mid evening so there won't be any food to nibble on and hence having to go to the bathroom.
Did you check with the breeder to see if any of the other littermates are doing this??
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by gailuvscats View Post
If he only does it at night, maybe it is because he is lonely, or wants to play? If it were me I would confine him to the bathroom at night, and in the morning while scooping his stuff, tell him he was good.
i don't see a problem with confining him to see if that helps. maybe giving him something warm to cuddle with & a clock, like you do with a puppy? i know Mary Anne [Hissy] swears by these, but they're kinda pricey, & unless you can find them locally, it'll take awhile for it to arrive.
post #8 of 27
Following this mornings events I have suspended Sonic's pocket money til he sorts himself out

Have moved his food and water which may help- any serious suggestions welcome as will be spending the weekend doing laundry
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
Does anyone think it would be a good idea to confine him to the bathroom (with litterbox, food, water, toys, bed) while we are out, rather than the bedroom, at least until he gets back into good habits. That way we can easily clean up any messes that happen while we are not around, and praise him each time he gets it right when we are home with him. Our bathroom is small, but bigger than a dog-crate would be, and is kitten-safe.
I think you have the right idea here, if only for your sanity. Cleaning up a peed on bed is annoying.
Go with the extra boxes, it certainly can't hurt. If you think he needs something to snuggle you could get him a soft stuffed animal that's around cat size, one that isn't overstuffed and hard. With Valentine's day over maybe you can find a plush toy on sale. Maybe a really soft blanket or scrape peice of fleece with your smell on it for his bed when he's alone too. Might make him feel more secure.

I find that 3 to 4 month old kittens to still be very clingy and wanting their mommy (you) a lot so it's possible that all of this is just because of that.

Oh when (or if) he's allowed out into the other rooms does he use Radar's box? Sometimes an example helps little ones learn. If you've ever watched a little of kittens with a litter box it's quite silly, one will jump in to go and the rest will follow.

Oh one suggestion that I can give you that will help, do not leave anything down for Sonic to pee on, clean laundry or dirty.
post #10 of 27
Hmm, I just experienced this with my new kitten. What kind of bedspread are you using? Does it make great noises when he walks across it? I had this issue with my kitten, when I was using a down comforter. I didn't have a duvet on it, so it make that great scritchscritch noise when she played on it. This led to her scritchscritching it and eventually to her pottying on it. *Once* she pottied on it... she was determined it was a litter box. We argued for about 30 minutes one night.. picking her up and putting her in her litter box (right there next to the bed) and her promptly jumping out, jumping up on the bed, and trying to go there.

I took the comforter off the bed, and I put a cotton bed spread on it. This suggestion was given to me by the breeder, who actually did send home a list of things "Mom, it looked like a potty to me" or something similiar. Well, I suppose it did... since I've taken it off the bed, I have had no further issues with her pottying on the bed. Now I've put a down lap blanket over the bed, and it makes the same scritchscritch noise... but I waited about a month until I had thought she'd forgotten about it, and it seems to have worked.

The advice I was given about that is to get something that is *completely* different in noise, and feel than what is on there currently. And, I absolutely did have to get rid of the one she'd pottied on... there was no getting rid of the smell on it. I haven't had much luck with the enzyme cleaners.. you may consider carpet cleaning if there's been spots on the carpet..and just removing and laundering whatever he's gotten that can be laundered.

The laundry... for whatever reason, probably because it's squishy, some cats seem to like laundry bins, laundry, and plastic bags. I've been trying to keep mine up out of the way, or in a closet where she can't get to them.

Getting a few extra litter boxes is a good plan, IMO, and keeping the laundry or anything she might consider a potty spot out of the way is probably a good one. If those don't solve it, I'd put him in the bathroom and try to reestablish the litter box habits. Oh, the other thing I was advised to do is *not* have her sleep with me for about four or five days... so that she "forgot" that she'd used it as a potty. This, thankfully, did work wonderfully, and we no longer have the problem.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Oh when (or if) he's allowed out into the other rooms does he use Radar's box? Sometimes an example helps little ones learn. If you've ever watched a little of kittens with a litter box it's quite silly, one will jump in to go and the rest will follow.
Yep, he has quite happily used Radar's litter box though he never covers up his doings (I've been told this is a dominance thing)
Going to wash my laundry today and make sure that there is a cover on the laundry bin
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsAreBetter View Post
Hmm, I just experienced this with my new kitten. What kind of bedspread are you using? Does it make great noises when he walks across it? I had this issue with my kitten, when I was using a down comforter. I didn't have a duvet on it, so it make that great scritchscritch noise when she played on it. This led to her scritchscritching it and eventually to her pottying on it. *Once* she pottied on it... she was determined it was a litter box. We argued for about 30 minutes one night.. picking her up and putting her in her litter box (right there next to the bed) and her promptly jumping out, jumping up on the bed, and trying to go there.
You know that is interesting. When he goes on the bed, it is usually on the lovely velvet quilted throw that my MIL sent us for Xmas - typically it is dry clean only I will try removing it tonight and see if that helps. I don't think we had any accidents last night tho

Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
I think you have the right idea here, if only for your sanity. Cleaning up a peed on bed is annoying.
Go with the extra boxes, it certainly can't hurt. If you think he needs something to snuggle you could get him a soft stuffed animal that's around cat size, one that isn't overstuffed and hard. With Valentine's day over maybe you can find a plush toy on sale. Maybe a really soft blanket or scrape peice of fleece with your smell on it for his bed when he's alone too. Might make him feel more secure.

I find that 3 to 4 month old kittens to still be very clingy and wanting their mommy (you) a lot so it's possible that all of this is just because of that.

Oh when (or if) he's allowed out into the other rooms does he use Radar's box? Sometimes an example helps little ones learn. If you've ever watched a little of kittens with a litter box it's quite silly, one will jump in to go and the rest will follow.

Oh one suggestion that I can give you that will help, do not leave anything down for Sonic to pee on, clean laundry or dirty.
He is very clingy, a little baby still who wants a lot of comfort and cuddles. He likes to sleep as close to my face as he can get and we have to walk very carefully because he is always right underfoot. He has used Radar's box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
i don't see a problem with confining him to see if that helps. maybe giving him something warm to cuddle with & a clock, like you do with a puppy? i know Mary Anne [Hissy] swears by these, but they're kinda pricey, & unless you can find them locally, it'll take awhile for it to arrive.
I think we are going to have to try confining him, I don't like to do it but will give it a go, so maybe over the weekend when we are home to play and cuddle with him during the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GailC View Post
My senior cat OX doesn't usually use a litter box (for a long time) but I have but a litter box in the garage and he seems to be at least peeing in that. (He likes going outside for that) Anyhow he seems to want to use the litter box shortly after eating so you might want to try to put Sonic in the litter box shortly after eating (15-20 minutes) to see if you can establish a routine. Or I would probably take away the food by mid evening so there won't be any food to nibble on and hence having to go to the bathroom.
Did you check with the breeder to see if any of the other littermates are doing this??
We free-feed him dry as he's growing so fast but will try taking it away before bedtime and put it back in the morning, he's not going to starve overnight! He's only on limited small wet meals at the moment as he has a delicate little tummy and the last thing we want is soft stools with him going outside the box!
post #13 of 27
It could also be that once he gets into bed with you guys, he doesn't want to get out. If you change the comforter, maybe something cotton based, or with a tight weave that won't feel the same. I ended up pitching mine (thankfully for me it was time for a new one).

I definitely think that the timing of his meals is a good idea, and you might want to ask a vet about this, but I don't think it would do any harm overnight.. but maybe his water too.. for like the last 6 hours before bedtime. Perhaps it might be all right to put it down for him at bedtime.. that way he's got access to it if he really needs it, but may not actually drink anything until the morning and that might help to reinforce the non-pottying overnight?

Oh, I meant to say in my last post.. that on that list that I was given.. were closets, plastic bags, laundry, laundry baskets.. down comforters..and a number of other things that I'd never had a problem with.. I guess all it takes is one! ::shakes her fist at the marbled menace:: It's a really good thing I love her.
post #14 of 27
Just went into bedroom to get laundry and dicovered Sonic had done it again
Lid now on basket with a ton of books, tbh I'm feeling foolish for not putting lid on sooner and I can't be mad at such a cute kitten

*kicking self*
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by silentNate View Post
Just went into bedroom to get laundry and dicovered Sonic had done it again
Lid now on basket with a ton of books, tbh I'm feeling foolish for not putting lid on sooner and I can't be mad at such a cute kitten

*kicking self*
Oh no, is this from today or last night? #1 or #2?
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
Oh no, is this from today or last night? #1 or #2?
Both #1 and #2- posted just after I discovered, sorry

Oh dear, now my wife is telling me off on tcs- what a bad day

*scoots off with tail between legs*
post #17 of 27
Oh dear
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
And to put everyone's minds at rest (because I have seen enough threads where the OP brings up the threat), although this is a very frustrating thing for us to be going through, we love little Sonic and would rather cover the entire house in plastic sheeting than even consider re-homing him - that is NOT EVER going to enter our heads. That which you tame, you are responsible for forever. I woke up this morning with the little lad curled up asleep on my neck
Unfortunately I have nothing to contribute in the way of solving your problem, but I do have to say that I admire your dedication to little Sonic. Too often I think people view their pets as possessions which they can dispose of whenever they no longer fit into our lives (or when they pee on the bed). When I adopted my kittens, I decided that we would be together until the end of their lives, or the end of mine. Period. No health or behavioural problems will ever change that.

I know this must be a really frustrating time for you but I'm sure the dedication and love you're showing to your little one will be paid back in a fantastic relationship with your kitten. I wish you the best of luck in solving your potty-training issue as soon as possible.

to you, and Sonic, and Radar too!
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
I think we had a dry night last night! I'm not going to celebrate too soon though, we'll see how it goes.

I am now convinced that he has learned that when he pees he gets immediate 'attention' - ie. told No, picked up, and moved to litterbox. So he repeats it when we are going to sleep and won't play with him. I think this, because when I caught him doing it the night before (when there were multiple wee-ing incidents) it was just after I had pulled the covers over my head. I felt him down by my feet, and looked up to see him squatting and he was already looking directly at me - I think waiting for me to give him the 'attention'. He did the exact same thing the next morning, after an unsuccessful attempt to wake me in order to get me to throw the toy for him, he went right away to the end of the bed and wee'd, which succeeded in waking me up and getting me out of bed.

Last night we did our best to wear him out before bedtime, but it can't just be any old game or cuddles (which we have tried before with no success), it has to be a game of fetch with his favourite toy. When we went to bed last night, instead of dropping his favourite toy on our faces and then giving up and weeing, he was happy to cuddle up and sleep.

So we will try playing fetch with him before bed again tonight and see if we have another good night as a result. If not, it's back to the drawing board, and possible night-time confinement in the bathroom It is a real pain having to wash duvets and sheets daily
post #20 of 27
Erm... I don't know how to tell you this but...

I think its back to the drawing board and off to the dry cleaners I'm afraid
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by silentNate View Post
Erm... I don't know how to tell you this but...

I think its back to the drawing board and off to the dry cleaners I'm afraid
Are you sure that's not just the enzyme cleaner that I soaked the mattress and velvet cover in?
post #22 of 27
Did you leave it ringing wet?

I'm at a loss at what to do at this point
post #23 of 27
Removing the bedspread, putting something new with a different texture on (difference in sound too), removing her from the bedroom for several days, and then letting her back in and back on the new bedspread worked for my little marbled menace. I have since, three nights ago, successfully put the original style of comforter back on my bed, with no issues.

IMO, though, if you don't do it soon.. he's going to have formed a habit and it will take longer to forget it... if he's also forming the attention for weeing pattern, it might also let him forget that, or get out of that habit or association.

Just my opinion, but if you guys are going to try it anyway, the sooner you try it the better.

Good luck!
post #24 of 27
Thanks for the suggestion CatsAreBetter but the 'little widdler' doesn't seem to discriminate- its been laundry in the basket, laundry on the floor, two different duvets, one bedspread and one mattress so far. We really don't have enough bedclothes to replace the lot
post #25 of 27
Washing the duvets, even if you're treating the comforter with enzymes, IMO, isn't going to help. I tried treating mine, Joyeux didn't stop for a second. Absolutely didn't phase her. It took removing that one, putting on a clean, (even if it was laundered) bedspread and sheets... maybe even soak them and make sure.. *AND* and this was the really hard part, removing her little spoiled kitten self from the room for at least four days (I hated it). I gave Joyeux a week, though.

Keep all laundry out of his reach (I know this one is a pain.. I am still guilty of it, but fortunately mine have stopped being bad about this one) and if you haven't already, flip the mattress.

Even if you clean everything.. if he doesn't have time to forget and "unlearn" the pattern/habit he'll just keep repeating it, even if he can't smell anything.

Anyway, I really don't mean to preach, but I had a very determined itty bitty beastie myself, and this did work, but putting the new bedclothes on it didn't work by itself. She still rememberd it the next night and tried. That's when she got ousted. I absolutely had to put her out of the room for awhile. She was only a couple of weeks younger than Sonic is now, but by gosh... the determination.

I just hate to see you guys going crazy and pulling out your hair.
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Awww thank you for that response

I feel really awful about shutting the little guy in the bathroom but you are right this has become a habit with (for him) the 'reward' of us getting out of bed to attend to the mess.

I do feel awful about it tho, he's never spent a night alone in his life. He's an oriental with a big big voice and our downstairs neighbours are insane and I worry they may complain about his crying if he's confined

But I feel this is the only option at this point, I am worried that it may become ingrained behaviour - and 3 1/2 month old male kitten wee is not the same as 5 month old male kitten wee, so we don't want it to go on. I remember when we were waiting for Radar to be neutered his wee smelled so bad by 5 months old we had to leave the room when he used the litter box.

We were spoilt with Radar, he's never gone outside of the box, takes to any litter we put in there without the need for gradual change, eats everything we give him and has a cast iron stomach, actually enjoys going to the vet, and jumps in his carrier as soon as he sees it. When we first brought Radar home the first thing he did was head for the litterbox, we could see he practically had his legs crossed when he first jumped out of the box we brought him home in cos he didn't want to go anywhere other than the correct place
post #27 of 27
Noel is much like that, except... we don't like car rides or carriers or going to the vet, but, by gosh... we (the royal we, of course) don't potty anywhere *except* the litter box, and we're capable of eating anything, with no vomiting, no poopy mess, but *a lot* of complaining that it's not Meow Mix, or now Pro Plan. Go figure. I get disdain when I try to feed her something expensive...

The other three, are a different story. And the littlest, of course, is the loudest and complains, yes, complains and screams, not talks about everything in her high pitched kitten voice...

It is rough I even tried locking her in the bathroom, and she destroyed it.. in that she knocked everything down, got into everything and threw an absolute fit.. I had to "lock" her out of the room and downstairs, because she threw such a fit in the bathroom. Fortunately, though, the only place she was having issues was in my bedroom, so generally locking her out for a few days worked.

Let me know how it goes, and best of luck! I really hope it works for you guys!
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