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Ten-week old kitten not using the litter box

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
A friend of mine got a kitten last week. He was initially found in a house with about 20 other cats that were allowed to "go" anywhere they wanted. A vet clinic took some of the cats in and he was there for approximately 4 weeks, until my friend adopted him. Of course, at the clinic he was kept caged and used a litter box that was filled with shredded newspaper.

Since my friend got Buddy home last week, he's only used a litter box one time. She had one regular-sized box filled with Tidy Cat clumping litter, another kitten-sized box that she filled with a little litter in the bottom covered by shredded newspaper, and I took her another kitten-sized box with World's Best Cat Litter in it. As soon as she put the box that I brought down, he went right into it and peed, but that is the only time he's used a box.

Last night, he pooped next to one of the boxes but that's the closest he's gotten since the one time he used the box.

Buddy is an "only kitty" so there are no other cats in the house whose examples he can follow. He also seems to have a URI, just a little sneezing and runny nose.

Any suggestions to help her and Buddy out?
post #2 of 17
My first suggestion would be to put him in a small room with the litter box. After a bit, when he's been consistently using the litter box in that room, for instance, a bathroom... then allow him more space.. like.. I think my process would be:

put kitty in the bathroom to a master bedroom, keep him there till proper litter box usage is established. Then, when it's clear that he's using the litter box consistently (a day or two, perhaps), then I'd let him be confined to the bedroom and bathroom for a while, until it's again clear that he's using the litter box consistently. From what I've been told, and this has worked with most of our problem children in the past...gradually let them have more space, and then you're also supposed to have one box per floor (and sometimes if that floor is really large, I'd put more than one on it)

Also, there are some things to try if this isn't helping: Try a different style litter box, and a different type of litter. He might also be one of those kitties that simply has to have a spotless litter box, but my guess is at his young age, it's just got to be reinforced that indeed, there is only one real spot for pottying.

Oh, the other thing is, if she sees him starting to go, pick him up, put him in the litter box, and then take his paws and make the scratching/digging motion like a cat does in the litterbox. Sometimes they just need to get the idea.
post #3 of 17
It would probably be best to confine him to a small space, a big kennel maybe or a bathroom, until he learns how to use the box. There's also a 'Cat Attract' litter that they sell at Petsmart that is supposed to work really well. Try to place him in the box after he eats, when he wakes up and after he plays so that he'll be less likely to go on the floor. URI's can get bad quickly in little kitten's so you may want to check with your Vet.
post #4 of 17
Also if he's used to going on shredded newspaper, use that for the time being, and gradually add the litter you would prefer him to use a little at a time over a couple of weeks. If the one you're using isn't what he's used to, then he may not take to it straight away!
post #5 of 17
Confine him to the bathroom or in a large dog crate till he's consistent on the litter. Be sure the litter pan is not too high that he can't get in and out easily.

Since he was in an enviornment where mom didn't teach him litter manners it will take a little longer.

And get him to the vet if he might have a UTI and sneezing. UTI's are life threatening on a male! Sneezing is not good either. Would bet he doesn't have shots either.
post #6 of 17
Keep us updated! Now, I'll be watching the thread to see how he's doing with the cold and with the box.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I'm forwarding these responses to her. I know she doesn't like the thought of keeping him shut in a room, but another friend and I have both told her that she needs to try this and after your responses, I think she will.

He's up to date on all of his shots because he lived at a vet clinic for several weeks. He's due for another set shortly though.

The first litter box she got had pretty high sides, so I told her she should get one that a kitten could get into and out of easily. She did and I also took her a small one.

Anyway, I'll pass the rest of these responses on to her and let you know how things go.

Honestly, I'm afraid that she'll give up on him and I may end up with a new addition to my family! That wouldn't be awful, but my 3 are so sedate and settled into their little lives that they wouldn't know what to do with a kitten in the house.
post #8 of 17
Hehe, well, mine are in a constant uproar since it seems of late we are adding and subtracting kitties . But.. it's good to keep them on their toes with a new addition every once in a while. At least the domestic (oldest of them all) has been more active lately with the crazy additions.

I also forgot to mention.. if she decides to change the location of the litter box.. and you probably already know this but just in case.. I'd suggest doing it a few feet at a time, so ... like if it's at point A, and she wants to move it 30 feet away to point B.. move it about two feet a day or some small amount so that it's gradual. Now, having said that.. that's advice that was given to me, but I've never had a problem just up and switching them. That probably has something to do with four four-footers who have to inspect every thing I do in the house, especially overseeing the litterboxes.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
There were a few years where I seemed to add new kitties pretty routinely, but Bailey's now my youngest at 9 and he was the last addition to my family. Honestly, I'd have more than just 3 right now, but all 3 of them have chronic health problems and I'm just about at my financial limits. I know I'm completely spoiled. No one gets into things and they don't have too many spats with each other any more. A kitten would turn us all upside down!!!
post #10 of 17
Yeah, I was spoiled by my domestic, Noel. Then we got Bengals... It's a good thing I love them.
post #11 of 17
I think your friend should go see her Vet. ASAP! The reason why he's peeing on the floor, may have something to do with him being sick. I would bring him to the same vet that I got him from- that way he knows the history of the cat first hand! Tell her not to give up, he's just a kitty and he will learn. She needs to have patience with kitties, they are still new to all of this pooping and eating on their own! Keep us posted!
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mybabyphx View Post
I think your friend should go see her Vet. ASAP! The reason why he's peeing on the floor, may have something to do with him being sick. I would bring him to the same vet that I got him from- that way he knows the history of the cat first hand! Tell her not to give up, he's just a kitty and he will learn. She needs to have patience with kitties, they are still new to all of this pooping and eating on their own! Keep us posted!
I'll pass this on to her too, but I really don't think his not using the box is due to being sick. He does have a runny nose and sneezes some, but this is one happy, high-octane kitten!!! He runs everywhere, never walks, and he's in love with the world. He's not scared of people though he's still a little jumpy at strange noises in the house, but has finally started venturing from the living and dining rooms down the hallway to the bedrooms and my friend's office. And he absolutely adores my friend's adult daughter. I really feel like he just never learned that he should use the litter box and because his mother wasn't there to teach him, like GoldenKitty said, and he has no other adult cats to teach him, he just doesn't know that's where he's supposed to go.

I've never had problems getting cats to use the box, but for the most part, except with my very first 2 cats, there have always been other cats here to say, "Hey! Ya' gotta go, this is where we do it!"
post #13 of 17
You could also suggest Cat Attract litter. I see in Cat Fancy they now make Kitten Attract & Senior Attract litter, too!
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
You could also suggest Cat Attract litter. I see in Cat Fancy they now make Kitten Attract & Senior Attract litter, too!
The vet gave her a little bag of something. I thought it said Cat Attack but it might have been Cat Attract. She was supposed to sprinkle it on the litter, but it said not to use it on scented litter.??? I'll check with her about that.
post #15 of 17
There's been some great advise here. Sounds like when we got Stanley. He was from a cat hoarder's house where there were 60 cats that did their business wherever there was space for it. When he came to our house he had a raging URI and did his business next to the litter box or in nearby boxes or corners.

We had to put him in a large dog crate with a small litterbox for a few days. We used the cat attract litter and let him out with supervision. It took about a week and he's been very good thus far. He still doesn't cover very well, but at least it's in the box!

I've been able to phase out the cat attract litter by mixing in the Tidy Cats. Now he's adapting well to corn litter which doesn't make him sneeze. We're working on the URI, he still has some sniffles, but I think the litterbox issues are under control.


Tell her not to give up hope!!
post #16 of 17
Cat Attract is an actual litter you can use. Here is a link to it.
post #17 of 17
My cat had the same problem when he was a only a few months old. We would only let him in the living room (where the litter box is) and had to keep that litter box spottless! We put him in the litter box ourselves every few hours for a couple days until he figure out what it was for. However, once the box got dirty he stopped using it....used my leather coat instead! So we went out and bought the expensive cat cristals, it's just balls of absorbable plastic basically, we used that for a few months and by the time he was around 5 months old he would use normal litter. Hope that helps!!!
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