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New kitten - litterbox problems?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

We've just adopted a kitten (about 7-8 weeks old) from our county animal services. Their policy is that kittens are spayed or neutered if they are over 2 pounds so she was spayed before we picked her up. She seems to be happy and lively and eats well. She will use her litterbox to poop, but not always to pee. She has gone twice on blankets (different ones) and once on a plastic trash bag on the floor, and she has started to squat a couple of times on the carpet (random spots) but I have caught her and taken her down to the litterbox and she has used it at those times.

It seems that she thinks that going pee is not a big deal to do wherever she is at. Is this just a matter of training her to use the litterbox for peeing? What's the best way to go about that?

She is the only cat in our house. We have had two others in the past, and we've never had trouble with them unless they were sick or old (one lived to be 20)

I am going to get a black light and enzyme cleaner today as I suspect there are little spots that she's used that I'm not aware of.

She's a cute, tiny little thing that we all love, but I don't want to be cleaning pee spots up forever. I hope that if we can change her behavior now, she'll be fine when she gets older.
post #2 of 16
Cats and kittens in "shelters" have to be traumatized -- can you imagine what it must be like? Patience, love, and consistency will help you and your kitten. She should be confined to a small room, such as a bathroom if possible, that has an easily-cleanable floor. She should have all of her necessities -- food, water, litterbox, bed with clean soft bedding, toys, scratching post or pad -- with her. Visit her frequently, keep her box scooped, and if you see that she is "going" outside of it, place her gently in it, and then praise her every time you see her "go" in it, giving her a treat or strokings and saying, "Good girl!" in a very happy, gentle voice. With time, she will equate going in her box with good things, and she will continue to do so. As time goes by, you can decrease the treats, but keep up the praise and strokings. Some experts suggest buying a clicker and using it when she is successful, as well. I've never used this method, but it may help you if you want to do so. GOOD LUCK and always remember -- NEVER PUNISH A CAT. It will only reinforce unwanted behavior and make her scared of you. But ALWAYS PRAISE HER for good behaviors!
post #3 of 16
Also, maybe try either Cat Attract Litter or their new kitten attract (Petsmart in my area carries both). I swear by Cat Attract - I had adopted an adult male who had litter box issues, and since I switched over, no problems! Also, perhaps consider a Feliway diffuser if the issue continues. Also, I cleaned like crazy with Nature's Miracle. Best of luck with your new baby!
post #4 of 16
We were having similar issues with our female, and three things helped.

The first thing that we did was switched to scoopable litter. If you aren't using the scoopable kind, switch over now, and keep it scooped, at least twice a day if possible.

Secondly, it's always good to have a litterbox for each cat in the house *plus one*. So two litterboxes would be ideal in this situation, since you have one cat.

Plastic bags appear to be very attractive to many cats. Keeping them off the floor will help some

We also noticed that when we moved into our current home, there were urine odors in the house from a previous tenant's dog. Unfortunately both the cats and the dog marked over these areas repeatedly. Enzyme cleaner didn't do the trick (didn't get the smell out, honestly) so we used white vinegar for the smell. We soaked the area, put up with a vinegar smell for about four days, and then no more marking in those same areas.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick responses!

I just picked up the Kitten Attract Litter and I will switch her to that tonight. I've also been trying to play with her more in the area her litter box is placed so she'll like the area. As a last resort, I'll try to confine her to that area (at least when she can't be watched.) The use of multiple litter boxes is a bit tricky since she doesn't have one special area (yet) where she has chose to pee.

I imagine it is quite confusing for her to come from the shelter's little cages to a large (for her) house. I was also wondering if it might have anything to do with her being spayed at such a young age? Our last cat was only a little older when we adopted her, but we had to wait until she was 6 months old to have her spayed. (She was with us for 8 years, but was put down due to terminal kidney disease.)

I've also picked up some of the enzyme cleaner for those little accidents and a black light to find them. I'm also wondering if there were any "surprises" left behind by our last cat although she has been gone for a year now.
post #6 of 16
Young kittens should be confined to a small area if you are not there to supervise. They just can't "hold" it long enough to get back to the pan. So you either have to confine them in the bedroom or bathroom when not around or you will have to put out several litter pans for awhile. And if you have more then one floor - put 1-2 litter pans on every floor.

I wouldn't let them be unsupervised till about 4-5 months old.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Young kittens should be confined to a small area if you are not there to supervise. They just can't "hold" it long enough to get back to the pan. So you either have to confine them in the bedroom or bathroom when not around or you will have to put out several litter pans for awhile. And if you have more then one floor - put 1-2 litter pans on every floor.

I wouldn't let them be unsupervised till about 4-5 months old.

Thanks for the tip! This kitten is much younger by 1-2 months than either of our other cats have been when they were adopted. It's a bit of a new experience for me, but I knew this was the right one when her eyes met mine!
post #8 of 16
That's your problem right there.

At this age, they can't hold it very long, and they get so busy playing they are just like little kids; they don't pay attention and then suddenly have to go.

Make the litter box more accessible, and I agree, keep her in a small space. At this tiny age, they can get themselves into small spaces and not get out, and otherwise cause trouble for themselves.

She will be big soon enough!
post #9 of 16
The litterbox doesn't necessarily need to be placed in "her area." Cats naturally want to bury their excrement, so once she is able to control her eliminations, she will naturally want to dig and bury, which means that she will go to the litterbox, wherever it is placed.

If you have more than one litterbox, then she never has quite as far to go in order to use it. For us, for example, we have a litterbox on all three levels, so that wherever our two 1 year-old cats are, they can get to a pan in time to do what they need to do. Any animal, regardless of age, will go wherever they can if they can't find the "appropriate" place to go.

When you're "training" your cat, the key is to use their natural behaviors and inclinations. Make sure that the box is kept clean and that there is sufficient litter inside for her to cover what she's made. In that way, you're using her instincts to help her to learn.

I've only once ever had to confine a young cat to a small space. I've had Whisper since he was nine weeks old and we never had a problem until he started struggling for dominance with other cats, and even then, he put it in the bath tub (lol!) rather than all over the place.

I also recommend that if you aren't sure that your other cat didn't leave scents around the house, use the vinegar. It might seem strange, but it gets the smell out so thoroughly that the cats won't smell it any more than you will!
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghosthunterbeck View Post
I also recommend that if you aren't sure that your other cat didn't leave scents around the house, use the vinegar. It might seem strange, but it gets the smell out so thoroughly that the cats won't smell it any more than you will!
That's interesting that you bring that up. I bought one of the black lights to see if Remi (our kitten) had been going in other places around the house. To my surprise, there was only one more spot. However, our last cat had a habit of throwing up hairballs and occasionally grass in one area of our living room. We used a carpet scrubber each time and cleaner (Spot Shot) but the black light shows a lot of faded stains in that area even after having the carpet professionally cleaned!

Will the enzyme cleaners work on old stains? Will new stains still be visible under the black light after using the enzyme cleaner?
post #11 of 16
Thought I'd just mention, some cats don't like doing both thi8ngs in the same box. You kitten may use it for poop, but may not want to pee in the same one. It's worth getting a second box anyway at that age as already mentioned, if you have a lot of ground the kitten can cover

Bicarbinate of Soda can deodorise a carpet so it may be worth using something like that for the smell as it is suprising how long it can linger without you smelling it.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
Also, maybe try either Cat Attract Litter or their new kitten attract (Petsmart in my area carries both). I swear by Cat Attract - I had adopted an adult male who had litter box issues, and since I switched over, no problems! Also, perhaps consider a Feliway diffuser if the issue continues. Also, I cleaned like crazy with Nature's Miracle. Best of luck with your new baby!
helped my adult male to stop pooping on my bed [which he did, occasionally] as well as training my formerly feral kitten that pee belongs in the box, as well as poop. she was doing the same thing yours is.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
It seems that she was never trained to use the litter box to pee in by her mom. Today, my wife came home and put the kitten in the litter box and let her wander around the room. A few minutes later, my wife set a clean towel down to answer the phone and Remi peed on it. I don't think she knows the litter box is for peeing in?
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcot View Post
It seems that she was never trained to use the litter box to pee in by her mom. Today, my wife came home and put the kitten in the litter box and let her wander around the room. A few minutes later, my wife set a clean towel down to answer the phone and Remi peed on it. I don't think she knows the litter box is for peeing in?
that's the same kind of thing Firefox did, too. i'm telling you, that cat attract litter will solve the problem!
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
that's the same kind of thing Firefox did, too. i'm telling you, that cat attract litter will solve the problem!
I'm using the kitten attract litter on her now. Let's hope it's as good as everyone says it is.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
The Kitten Attract Litter seems to be helping. Let's see if she likes it enough to stop going in random places. We're also starting to give her a small treat each time we see her use the litter box in addition to a lot of petting and praise.

I remember using the same theory with penny candy to potty train our kids!
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