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Litterbox placement ??

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello. We have three babies - a 12-year-old tabby and two approx. one-year-old bengals. We got the bengals in December, shortly after our 17-year-old alpha cat, Penni, died of kidney failure. The were 7 months and 8 1/2 months old at the time.

Eliza, the 12-year-old, has had a rough time. Although she and Penni never really got along well, she was used to her, having known her all her life. Now she's got these two crazy kitties around - a boy and a girl. There's a bit of power struggle going on from time to time, and Eliza is still adjusting to being the oldest cat.

Anyway, over the last month or so, we have had several accidents happen - mostly in the dining room, but a couple times in one of the bathrooms. We have two very large litter boxes, but one of them is in the bengals' "room" where we kept them during their introduction period, and where they now like to hang out when they want to get away (and where we put them when we want them to quiet down for a while!), and the other in the lower floor bathroom, where it has always been. Our second litterbox used to be in a different room before we got these two.

Until today, I thought it was the boy bengal (Rajah) having he accidents, but I finally caught the culpret in the act, and it's Eliza. She'd due for a vet appointment, so we'll do that this week and rule out any health problems, but since it's been both urine and poop, I think it's a behaviour issue. I suspect that now that the bengals are full grown, and there are some power struggles going on, she's not comfortable going into their room to use the box. Makes sense to me. So, we'll get a third box and place it on this floor of the house, which is the main floor.

So, finally, here's my question. Do you think we should place it in the room where she's been having the problem, which has been mostly our dining room? I'm not fond of the idea of putting one there, but if we have to, I will. Or would it be OK to put it in one of the bathrooms (there's not room in the tiny bathroom where she's had the other couple of accidents, unless we remove a door from the vanity and put it in, which could be done if necessary), or another bedroom away from the bengals' room. What do you think about the placement, for greatest success with this issue?

Thanks!
post #2 of 12
After receiving a clean bill of health, approach it as you suggested, behavioral. What is probably happening is that Eliza has lost her companion, along with that is feeling shut out, overwhelmed, invaded.................as we could understand. Bengals are a breed of their own, not that they can't get along with others, but they have more distinctive behaviors then the domestic house cat. In your situation, most likely any 2 kittens brought in to the home would be a stressful issue for Eliza, Bengals may be slightly more intrusive unintentionally. They are very vocal, habitual kitties that interact easily with each other. So poor Eliza is alone and thinks she is unloved, punished possibly. Talk to her, give her one on one time, I would place a litter box where she seems to be defecating inappropriately, not to praise this behavior but to accommodate her uncomfortable stress. Place it in a corner, hidden from general eye for your comfort, show her it is there but not the other 2. She needs to feel special for a moment, it is hard to adjust to someone coming into your home and using all your things and stinking up your places, especially after you loose your life companion......
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Actually, it's difficult to describe Penni as her "companion" - more of an ever present evil, like an older sister LOL. However, it's been such an adjustment for her, but actually, in many ways easier than we expected. They will all eat side by side, especially at "snack time" when they get their wet food, and they sort of hang out together. In fact, right now, Rajah, the male bengal, is on the loveseat. Lily, the girl bengal, is on a chair about 6 feet away, and Eliza is curled up on the fllor about 10 feet away from Lily (Eliza tends to be a floor sleeper). They're all happily having their afternoon naps. Eliza does get lots of one-on-one time and we tell her she's the most special kitty all the time. And we put the bengal babies in their "room" to sleep a couple nights a week these days because that's sometime the only way to get Rajah to shut up at night (he's a talker - but the think of that as their den and if they are in there together, they just quiet down and go to sleep - BONUS!)

Anyway, thanks for the advice. I was concerned about making her think it was a reward for going potty in the dining room if I put one there. I'm going to visit our specialty pet store later and see if they have any camaflauged boxes or screens for them, as I'm thinking that would be the way to approach it. Or, we may try the bathroom cabinet as that's in our master bath off of our bedroom, and that's one of her safe places, since she sleeps with us (and she's had two or three of her accidents in there). It's a side cupboard, not directly under the sink so it has more space, and we really don't use it for anything. If we took the door off, we could put a little curtain up instead. Or maybe I'll go all out and try both - our house is over 2500 sq ft so there's lots of cat room!

Thanks - I'm looking forward to any other advice anyone has.
post #4 of 12
Remember, vet check is very important! Once that is established, these are not "accidents".........
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Oh, yes, definitely. She's due anyway for a 6-month, so she'll be going in this week. However, I'm 95% sure it's behavioral, under the circumstances, so we've already started with the extra litter box placement (which is good anyway, even if it is a health issue).

One reason I'm reasonably sure it's behaviour is that although it had happened once or twice before, it escalated during our vacation, and our cat sitter found a "present" in the dining room every day for a week! When we've been home, it's been happening much less frequently - in fact, in the lasts week, we have had one poop incident and one urine incident, so definitely not an every day thing. And it's usually been poop, not urine (at least that we know of). Eliza is definitely using the litter box downstairs when she's down there and it's convenient (that's the that's not in the kittens' room).

But we are having her checked out as well.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pennicat View Post
Hello. We have three babies - a 12-year-old tabby and two approx. one-year-old bengals. We got the bengals in December, shortly after our 17-year-old alpha cat, Penni, died of kidney failure. The were 7 months and 8 1/2 months old at the time.

Eliza, the 12-year-old, has had a rough time. Although she and Penni never really got along well, she was used to her, having known her all her life. Now she's got these two crazy kitties around - a boy and a girl. There's a bit of power struggle going on from time to time, and Eliza is still adjusting to being the oldest cat.

Anyway, over the last month or so, we have had several accidents happen - mostly in the dining room, but a couple times in one of the bathrooms. We have two very large litter boxes, but one of them is in the bengals' "room" where we kept them during their introduction period, and where they now like to hang out when they want to get away (and where we put them when we want them to quiet down for a while!), and the other in the lower floor bathroom, where it has always been. Our second litterbox used to be in a different room before we got these two.

Until today, I thought it was the boy bengal (Rajah) having he accidents, but I finally caught the culpret in the act, and it's Eliza. She'd due for a vet appointment, so we'll do that this week and rule out any health problems, but since it's been both urine and poop, I think it's a behaviour issue. I suspect that now that the bengals are full grown, and there are some power struggles going on, she's not comfortable going into their room to use the box. Makes sense to me. So, we'll get a third box and place it on this floor of the house, which is the main floor.

So, finally, here's my question. Do you think we should place it in the room where she's been having the problem, which has been mostly our dining room? I'm not fond of the idea of putting one there, but if we have to, I will. Or would it be OK to put it in one of the bathrooms (there's not room in the tiny bathroom where she's had the other couple of accidents, unless we remove a door from the vanity and put it in, which could be done if necessary), or another bedroom away from the bengals' room. What do you think about the placement, for greatest success with this issue?

Thanks!
A good starting point for research is right here on The Cat Site!
This should be a helpful starting place:
http://www.thecatsite.com/Care/29/Li...intenance.html
post #7 of 12
Extra litterboxes is definately a must. The rule of thumb for litterboxes is to have one more litterbox than there are cats so to follow that you should be having 4 litterboxes.

Cats can play lots of mindgames between themselves when it comes to resources/territory and that includes litterboxes. I.e the bengals just sitting on a corner where Eliza needs to walk past to get to a litterbox might be enough to prevent her from going. So she'll go for an alternate spot. Cats really need to feel safe when they go to the toilet so my hunch is that if you make sure she can always get to a safe litterbox the accidents will probably stop.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Persi & Alley View Post
A good starting point for research is right here on The Cat Site!
This should be a helpful starting place:
http://www.thecatsite.com/Care/29/Li...intenance.html

Thanks for the reference - yes, that's great, but it does not specifically address the placement issue that I was asking about. I do try to search on these types of forums before posting a question that might have been answered elsewhere.

Even then, it's just nice to have a back and forth dialogue sometimes too

Kristi
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siggav View Post
Extra litterboxes is definately a must. The rule of thumb for litterboxes is to have one more litterbox than there are cats so to follow that you should be having 4 litterboxes.

Cats can play lots of mindgames between themselves when it comes to resources/territory and that includes litterboxes. I.e the bengals just sitting on a corner where Eliza needs to walk past to get to a litterbox might be enough to prevent her from going. So she'll go for an alternate spot. Cats really need to feel safe when they go to the toilet so my hunch is that if you make sure she can always get to a safe litterbox the accidents will probably stop.
Thanks - I had not heard the "one more" theory before. We've added one as of late yesterday. It's in the master bath (thought I'd try that spot before the dining room), in a cupboard that we don't use. Right now I've got the door propped open a few inches. I showed it to Eliza and she used it a couple times before the other two found it. Everyone has used it at least once now.

If there continue to be problems, then I'll add one in/near the dining area where the other accidents have been. Meanwhile, when we do some remodeling to the lower level, I'm considering adding a nook for a 2nd one on that level, as the tend to use the one that's down there now more than the one(s) upstairs.

Thanks everyone!
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pennicat View Post
Thanks - I had not heard the "one more" theory before. We've added one as of late yesterday. It's in the master bath (thought I'd try that spot before the dining room), in a cupboard that we don't use. Right now I've got the door propped open a few inches. I showed it to Eliza and she used it a couple times before the other two found it. Everyone has used it at least once now.

If there continue to be problems, then I'll add one in/near the dining area where the other accidents have been. Meanwhile, when we do some remodeling to the lower level, I'm considering adding a nook for a 2nd one on that level, as the tend to use the one that's down there now more than the one(s) upstairs.

Thanks everyone!
There are of course exceptions to every rule. Persi & Alley share the same litterbox and have never had an "accident". I keep about six inches of litter in the box and scoop it twice a day. In the past, I have had two litter boxes for two cats, but as long as Persi & Alley do not complain, I certainly won't. Persi just does his business on top of the litter, whereas Alley digs down to the bottom. So, even though both are sharing the same litter box, I can keep tabs on "who is doing what".
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pennicat View Post
Thanks for the reference - yes, that's great, but it does not specifically address the placement issue that I was asking about. I do try to search on these types of forums before posting a question that might have been answered elsewhere.

Even then, it's just nice to have a back and forth dialogue sometimes too

Kristi
Especially somebody from my home town! I was there three weeks ago and the wife and I took a boat ride by Mr. Gate's mansion. A slightly different part of town than where I was brought up!
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Persi & Alley View Post
Especially somebody from my home town! I was there three weeks ago and the wife and I took a boat ride by Mr. Gate's mansion. A slightly different part of town than where I was brought up!
Slightly different part of town than where we live too! Well, that's not actually Bellevue anymore, since Medina became incorporated

We're about as far east from there as you can go and still be in Bellevue (well, not quite, that would be on the shores of Lake Sammamish) - we're between Crossroads and Lake Sammamish.
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