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best time to integrate an outside cat when moving

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi Cat Lovers,

This is my first post on this site. I am seeking advice.

I "adopted" a stray cat a couple of years ago (or she adopted me). I had her spayed and take good care of her, but she lives outside. I took to calling her "Outside Kitty" as an attempt not to get too attached, but it didn't work!

Now I am about to move (in 2 months). Of course, I am going to take my outside kitty with me. She's so sweet, I would like for her to become a housecat. She loves being inside and gets along fairly well with my other cat (who has lived inside with me for 8 years) when she comes in for short visits. However, the few times I've had her inside for more than a few hours, she has peed in inappropriate places. And when I've kept her in the bathroom with the litterbox overnight to keep her out of the cold, she has peed on the rug instead of in the litter box.

I've have never actually tried to litterbox train her, and I know there's a lot of advice out there when I do. But what I'm wondering is when should I attempt it? Should I go ahead and do it now before I move? Or should I wait and do it in the new place? Obviously either way it's not going to be a piece of cake.

On one hand, it seems like the trauma of moving will be bad enough for both cats, and adding the integration into the house would just make it that much worse. On the other hand, the new place will be neutral territory. Also, it will probably be larger (a 2-bedroom instead of a 1-bedroom) with more space for the cats and an extra litter box. Maybe it's better to make all the big changes at once, like ripping off a bandaid??

I would appreciate any advice/insights anyone has into this topic. By the way, both cats are female.

Oh, and one quick training question I have not seen covered anywhere: should I throw out my inside kitty's old litter box and get two totally new ones, or is okay to keep the the old one?

post #2 of 5
Hi, I think you should go with the band-aid approach :-). The change of scenery alone will tip them off that things are different 'now' and you might as well take advantage of it. It would be great if you could box train her ahead of time, at least get her used to the idea of the box and what it's about, maybe try different litters to see if any are more acceptable. And the new boxes idea also sounds good, though I might actually (a little gross-out coming) keep a spoonful or two (in a yogurt container or something smell-less) of previous doings from the a.m. of the move and put it on top of the new litter when moved so they do at least have somewhere recognizable to go, everything else being strange about the new place (and whatever smells it might hold from before that they can detect).
post #3 of 5

Since she is an outside cat and used to going potty in the dirt you could try a litter box filled with some plain ole top soil and then see is she uses that. If she does then you can slowly integrate more and more litter until she is used to it.

You could even try that now but just place the box outside on a cover porch or deck with the dirt in it and see is she at least interested in using it.
post #4 of 5
The peeing of your outdoor cat when inside your place is very normal because there is already another resident cat inside. She probably didn't use the litterbox when she was confined because it had the scent of the other kitty.
Anyway, moving to a new area is good when it comes to the outside cat. She can get acclimated with the other one at the same time. In my opinion, in adjusting them to a new place, treat them equally. Put them in a safe room with 2 litterboxes (one new for the outside kitty). This is where they will eat, sleep, drink for a few weeks. Then slowly introduce them to the new place. If properly done, they will adjust well.
post #5 of 5
We managed to litter train our really old cat, she was about 15 at the time. We simply picked her up, put her in the litter tray and moved her front legs in a kind of digging motion so she knew what to do!!! The next day she used it by herself and from then on was more than happy to use the tray.
I do think that the soil idea is a good one.
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