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Litter training a stray...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
We've taken in a stray who spends more time in our house than out of it, and always goes outside to do his business (thanks to the cat door). We've finally got the money together to get him fixed, and he's going in tomorrow.

A few times we've tried trapping him in a room for up to 24 hours to litter train him, and it hasn't worked. We've sat in the room with him and scratched his paws in the litter, and he doesn't get the idea. Usually after a few hours he goes a bit squirrelly - making all sorts of desperate "hey I really have to pee" noises. Eventually we just relent and let him out again, we don't want him to bottle everything up. (Even after the 24 hour stint, there was nothing in the box, or anywhere in the room).

Does anyone have any tips for how to get him to use the box? With him getting neutered tomorrow, he won't be going outside for several days.
post #2 of 7
yes i have an idea and every single time its worked like a charm....

go buy a bag of potting soil.

after you put the litter in the box then you sprinkle the potting soil
on top of the litter until you can't see any litter.

BINGO .... cat goes in box. at least he will if he can't go outside.
so put him in a room and close the door when you do this.

then each time put a little less potting soil on top until in a weeks time
you have no potting soil on top but only litter.

also, it is rather messy so put a throw rug or two or three around the
litterbox to catch the dirt as kitty comes out and walk around.

good luck and lets us know if that works.
post #3 of 7
This is also the method we use.

Just make sure it's organic potting soil with no chemical additives.

Also - he may want to sleep/sit on the soil at first. Ours did. But when they needed to go to the bathroom (and Lazlo as an 8 week old kitten held out for over 24 hours!) - they'll use it, finally. We put out another litter box with just litter in it. We scooped out the soiled soil and put it in the litterbox. Lazlo caught it immediately - and we never had a problem after that. Some kitties take a little longer to get it, so keeping the one litter box where you gradually reduce the amount of potting soil on top in addition to a regular litter box is still the way to go.

Thank you for rescuing this kitty!

post #4 of 7
The above suggestions are good ones. In addition, I'd say put him in the bathroom for this. I don't know what room you used before. I've had better luck with a smaller room. It worked for Momma, although the first time she "used" the box, she actually scooped all of the sand OUT of the box onto the floor, then used the sand pile she made on the floor. But she caught on pretty quickly after that.
post #5 of 7
Although the potting soil idea sounds good (I wouldn't use it as I'm sprouting vegetable plants in the house and do NOT want to give the cats ideas), any litter will eventually work as long as it's clean.

We captured a really feral cat last summer who also had a paw abcess (that's why we captured her) and kept her for a month or so as she recovered. Although we provided her with her own box and gave her what privacy we could, it was almost a week before she finally defecated (she urinated regularly). After that she had no problem--"the dam had burst", so to speak.

A cat will eventually eliminate, just as it will eventually eat and drink--they don't do hunger strikes very well. And when they go, it will be where they can bury it. This is true of ferals and especially true of strays who are used to humans....
post #6 of 7
LOL well leave it to me to have the weirdest feral cats then....
cause they sure did go when they came into my house and it wasn't in
the litter box. but as soon as i put dirt on top they all, 3 of them,
jumped into it at once. the lightbulb went off and they decided they
liked digging in that box better than peeing on my rug. thank goodness.

and my vet told me that when my mamakitty was sick and staying
at the vet who was trying to get her temp down that she most definately
was going to starve herself while she was there because she was that
scared. the vet said cats will starve themselves if they are scared enough
or sick enough.

but like i said ... i always did end up with the strangest kittys.... bless them.

i love them so !!!
post #7 of 7
You could always put catnip by the box to attract the cat to that area, mabye it will figure it out on it's own.

Everyone else had great ideas too.
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