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Breaking Toilet Behaviour.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
The following is a post I made a while ago in the expert forum:

Let me give you a little background.

My little Toby is nearly 4 now. He was born with Cerebral Displasia which means that though mentally he's all there he has some difficulties physically, he slips around and wobbles when he walks, loses his balance easily and often falls off beds/sofa's etc. He is the most adorable cat in the world, fantasically natured and loving. I had him from 2 weeks after he was found in the gutter on the street and past to me by a friend (a vet). I weaned him and everything has been great.

However, he has an incessant need to pee in the house. This is not down to a physical deficiency as he always goes outside for seconds, and sometimes many weeks pass when he'll go outside to pee.

I've tried litter boxes but they don't work because he can't easily and comfortably get inside and scratch around (even with the open top big litter trays)

He pee's in a)the hall carpet and b) two corners in the kitchen - both by frequently used doors so its not security he's looking for. I've tried to deter him by popping him outside when he goes but this is difficult as I can't be there everytime. I've covered spots with objects to deter him, constantly cleaned and refreshed, tried cling-film & citronella to deter him from these spots but nothing has worked.

Has the smell got in so much that everytime he strolls past he realises he's used this place again so just goes? If I replaced the carpet would this help? (though I think not because I have a new carpet in my bedroom and caught him going on that the other day).

Surely this has to be behavioural but I am at a complete loss as to how to try and break this cycle and show him that he has to pee outside. He already does go outside, just not all the time.

Any help would be very much appreciated because as much as I love the little blighter, it does get awful, especially when wanting to invite people over!


I followed Marilyn's advice and got a good enzyme spray which I have been using to help rid the urine that is currently in the house. However, he is quite persitant and I now need to start working on breaking his behaviour so he goes outside all the time. I want to do it right. Any steps, helps and hints on how to do this would be MUCH appreciated! I need to know how to break this cycle.
post #2 of 13
Are there other cats that hang around outside your home? Your Toby may be just marking his territory. Even though there is no chance the outsiders can come in, it is still upsetting Toby, the resident.
post #3 of 13
Do you think it's safe for him to be going outside with his condition? That would worry me, but I'm a worrier. Have you tried using piddle pads in the areas he usually frequents? Maybe that could be an alternative to going outside?
post #4 of 13
if i were you, i'd PM Tari. while Forest's condition does not sound identical to Toby's, the symptoms sound similar. perhaps she'd have a suggestion for a workable litterbox? if so, then you can get some of the CatAttract litter or additive & start a retraining program.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies

Luckily my garden it totally escape proof...because he can't climb or jump up fences there is no way he can get out so that is one very good thing. Another Toby trait is that he gets on with EVERYTHING! I have two other cats and there are alot of cats in my neighbourhood but I'll often come home from work to find Toby sitting in the garden with a random cat or two.....I think perhaps they can sense he's not quite right because none of the them have ever gone for him. I even found him attempting to play with a fox once - the fox was looking quite bemused!

Its not spraying, its full on weeing. I could cope with spraying - to an extent - but its full swing piddling!!
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
I wanted to ask another question in relation to telling off. Now I've read that if you see a cat getting ready to wee, or actually doing the act you should shout "no" and move them to where they should go (i.e. litterbox, outside etc) But what of after they've done it?

I can't keep a 24 hr watch and some people have said in the past to push their nose in it, say no, and then move them to the appropriate spot. Is this correct?
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffLondon View Post
I wanted to ask another question in relation to telling off. Now I've read that if you see a cat getting ready to wee, or actually doing the act you should shout "no" and move them to where they should go (i.e. litterbox, outside etc) But what of after they've done it?

I can't keep a 24 hr watch and some people have said in the past to push their nose in it, say no, and then move them to the appropriate spot. Is this correct?
i'm ok w/the 1st part - i've done that. not the 2nd - doesn't work.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
i'm ok w/the 1st part - i've done that. not the 2nd - doesn't work.
So how do we deal with this second part, because most of the time I'm not there to catch him at it which means there's no way to actually enforce this issue.
post #9 of 13
You sure are in a difficult position!

When you say he's 4, do you mean 4 months or 4 years old? I take it you mean 4 months?

Is it possible he has a UTI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffLondon View Post
I wanted to ask another question in relation to telling off. Now I've read that if you see a cat getting ready to wee, or actually doing the act you should shout "no" and move them to where they should go (i.e. litterbox, outside etc) But what of after they've done it?

I can't keep a 24 hr watch and some people have said in the past to push their nose in it, say no, and then move them to the appropriate spot. Is this correct?
To address the first part, yes there are signs to look for that the cat is getting ready to do his business. They usually will go in circles, dig or paw at the area, look furtive, sniff at the ground, and usually search for a corner or dark place, then they will squat.

First thing, when you do catch your baby in the act, please don't yell at him. It will only frighten and confuse him. Remember, in his mind he is doing something perfectly normal and won't understand why he's being yelled at. Also he may start to think you are mad because he is relieving himself, not because he is in he wrong spot.

No matter what anybody says *never* rub a cat's or even a dog's nose in it. It's a very cruel thing to do and very counterproductive. Again he won't understand why he's being punished and he will start to think doing his business is a "bad" thing and he will start looking for places to hide so he can "go" without you being around. (I'm sure you yourself have never done this, I'm just trying to explain why it's not a good idea, because some people just don't understand what they are doing when they give out this kind of advice).

When you do catch him getting ready or even in the act, just quickly pick him up and bring him outside to the spot where you want him to go. If he then pees, praise him and even maybe offer him a treat. If he was already peeing when this happens, just bring him outside to his spot anyways. In time he will start to realize that he needs to be peeing outside.

Another trick is that if you find some of his poop, don't throw it away. Instead put it outside at the spot where you want him to go. The scent of his poop there, will tell him that that is where he is supposed to be doing his business.

Line the areas where he has already done his business with aluminum foil. Most cats don't like walking on it and it should help to deter him.

Are you planning to install a cat flap so he can get in and out easily?

Also, make sure your garden is cat proof in the sense that he can't get into any dangerous chemicals or sharp garden tools or get stuck in anything.

Nature's Miracle works *really* well for urine, poop stain removal and odor too. You have to make sure though that you pour generously so that the liquid goes all the way down into the under-padding of the carpet. This is to ensure that the odor is completely removed.

How about trying a different type of container for a litter box? Something longer maybe and with low sides that he could get in and out of easily. You could try putting it near the door so that at least he would have that to use if you aren't there to get the door for him.

You could also try some cat attract in the litter tray and outside as well.

And every time he does go outside remember to praise him profusely!

I sure hope this helps some! Bless your heart for taking him in and continuing to take care of this little kitty! Don't give up!
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you soo much for your in-depth reply Shaynne. He is indeed 4years old, he has had a UTI (and I have to keep a very close eye on him) but is fine at the moment. My vet gave me some urine strips to keep an eye out so I'll know when he needs to go back!!

I normally just put him outside when I caught him....perhaps this wasn't quite correct...so your idea of one exact place in the garden is ideal. He has a cat flap and only pee's in the house, he's never done a poo ever and has an place where he does that outside. I often see him pee here so its not that he can't go out, its that he doesn't see the need!

The garden is totally cat proof because of his littel disorder....I think I just have to be really really on to it this next few weeks. I have bought some pee pads which I have put where he wee's so it will make cleaning a little easier but will also attempt to block these spaces off...however its difficult because all places seem to be in direct walkways! He sure knows how to pick them!

Thanks again and we'll see how it goes! Fingers crossed!
post #11 of 13
Glad I could help!

I was just doing the dishes and I got to thinking, you could do the same thing with the pee pads. When he goes on one, put it outside in that "special" spot and make sure to let him see it and smell it and leave it there so the "smell" stays.

Try also keeping one by the door and again whenever you catch him bring him there and if he does go on it, leave that one there too, so that the smell attracts him back there again.

Eventually he will associate those areas with peeing and hopefully will go only in those spots.

Don't forget about the aluminum foil, it worked well for me when I was potty training Samson. After a few days that I had him, I noticed he didn't seem to be using the litter box. So I checked around and found hidden behind a book shelf, that I had set up in a corner angle, and along the wall, down past the balcony door and under a table that had boxes of records underneath it, a long line of little poops, all in a neat row. Of course, he was peeing there too.

Well I laugh now, but of course, it wasn't funny then but using the Nature's Miracle, I cleaned it all up, put foil down and watched patiently and using the techniques I described to you in my earlier post, I had him potty trained in about a week, although there were still a few accidents here and there.

Once I had to pick him up and he was right in the middle of a pee, so here I am holding him and hurrying to the litter box while this trail of pee is spewing out from him, leaving a nice trail for me to clean up and then there he is looking at me all confused when I placed him in the litter box, but he quickly caught on and I'm sure your Toby will too!

Keep me posted!
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanynne View Post

Once I had to pick him up and he was right in the middle of a pee, so here I am holding him and hurrying to the litter box while this trail of pee is spewing out from him, leaving a nice trail for me to clean up and then there he is looking at me all confused when I placed him in the litter box, but he quickly caught on and I'm sure your Toby will too!

Keep me posted!
Yes, I know that feeling too! I've often been carrying a wriggling cat with a trailing spray of pee behind me!! Good idea with the pee pads, I must get this sorted as its driving my poor tenant (and me but I can forgive because I love the little thing) mad!
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffLondon View Post
Yes, I know that feeling too! I've often been carrying a wriggling cat with a trailing spray of pee behind me!! Good idea with the pee pads, I must get this sorted as its driving my poor tenant (and me but I can forgive because I love the little thing) mad!
i've done that once or twice, myself.
i 2nd the CatAttract litter [or additive] - it's worked really well for me!
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