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Desperate - Now I need more than one response to my original post

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
We bought Butzie one of the robot litter machines. She used it before we went on vacation for less than a week. We had a TCS member take care of her. Butzie immediately took to her before we left.

When we went on vacation, Butzie had to stay downstairs because we couldn't let her upstairs. We have budgies that fly free and they were here first. She also could not go outside because there was no guarantee that a sitter could get her back inside, regardless of how they bonded. An aside is that our daughter, Jen, took care of her when we were on previously on vacation and there were no problems. We had a different automated litter box then.

When we got home from this vacation, we discovered that Butzie had peed and pooped probably for the whole week on the bed in the downstairs 4th bedroom comforter (our TCS cat sitter probably called her and she came upstairs immediately so she didn't smell the poop).

Since we have been home, she has not used the litter robot. We let her out in the am and she seems to be okay. The other day, she peed on the bed in the fourth bedroom. Last night, I got up at 3 am to go to the bathroom. I went back to sleep. I wake up in the morning and she has peed on me after 3 am and before 6 am. I was not amused.

I asked a TNR expert about whether I should lock Butzie in the laundry room which is where the litter robot is as well as just a litter pan which we first used when she came home with us. We went out for the day and we had the charming young woman who cleans our house here who we asked not to let her out of the laundry room. The room is big enough and we left the washer and the dryer on.

We get home and I let Butzie out of the laundry room. She is meowing and wants to go out, goodness knows why because it is dark and raining. I still let her upstairs. She proceeds to poop in my bedroom. I tell she is bad and take her down to the laundry room. She proceeds to pee in my hands.

What else can I do? I seriously desperate.
post #2 of 18
Hmmm....okay, let's see (I missed the first posting)- did she actually see it turning/running before you left for vacation?

Did you cover it with the box it came in (with the holes cut out for the opening and the switch) so she couldn't see it turning?

Is the step set well so that it triggers the box everytime (from the front and also when she steps in from the side) when she steps on it? Otherwise, it can turn with her in it if it can't "sense" she's in there...Mine got turned a couple of inches recently by our cleaning lady, and that put the edge of the box on the floor vent, just enough that it didn't trigger.

Do you regularly leave her in the laundry room with the washer/dryer running? I'm not trying to be judgemental, promise , it's just that my cats would have freaked about that, no matter how big the laundry room and if the Litter Robot did scare her, that might have made it worse...and since she was using it, I would guess that either she saw it rotating for the first time, or it started with her in it and scared her...

I have one cat who did a major freakout when she saw it turning (I didn't cover mine with the shipping box, and should have) and she didn't use it for 6 months (though the others did). Thankfully, she decided that the box upstairs was still fine for her, and now uses them both.

My sister had the same thing happen, didn't cover hers either and one of her cats got in the room while she was letting it turn and he quit using it. He also wouldn't use the regular box that was next to it, and then wouldn't use any box at all, no matter where it was. It would appear that he gave himself a UTI from not using the box, and that messed up his litter box habits even after the UTI was cleared...thankfully, he is finally using the regular litter box again about 4 months later (his sister has had no problem with the Litter Robot, though my sister just turns it on once a day or so to clean it).

I hate to say it, but it sounds like that once you have ruled out a UTI, it may be back to square one in the litter box department . Try putting her in a small (different) room (maybe a bath or half bath?) with an uncovered regular litterbox, maybe with some Cat Attract litter in it, her food on the other side, and leave her there whenever you can't watch her. I wouldn't even let her see the Litter Robot until she starts consistantly using the litterbox again. Since she was using the Litter Robot before, maybe eventually she can be convinced to use it again, especially if you "disguise" it with the shipping box, and leave it off until she is out of the room to let it cycle. That would still be better than scooping (based on my sister's experience), imho.

The retraining could take quite a while, and working on reintroducing the LitterRobot might take even longer. That's all I've got, sorry! Otherwise, you could try contacting the company for advice- I've heard they are really good with customer service. If it is still within the first 60 days, they do have that "you and your cat will love it" guarantee, and I think you get all your money back, minus the shipping and handling.

I'm sorry you're having such a rough time! We have a cat who has chronic, unexplained bladder inflamation (now, finally being treated with an OTC supplement- thanks, tcs; ) ), and who regularly did the same thing (and was actually the prompt for us getting the Litter Robot- she wanted a clean box, every time, all day long), I know that "frustrating" just does not cover it! Let me know how it goes?
post #3 of 18
i really don't have any advice - mine have all been quite faithful to their littermaids except when UTis were present... Pixel attempted to pee on my head one morning [i sat up before she succeeded, but she did pee on the bed ] & she was at the vet that day. i'm assuming you've already ruled out that possibility, right? if so, you may have to switch back to traditional boxes...
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
To catsallover,

Thanks for your long and useful post.

We used to feed Butzie in the laundry room and we ran both the washer and the dryer when she was in there as I would usually start one or the other when I fed her. She now eats in my room, but that predates her peeing and pooping which started when we were on vacation.

Butzie took to the robot right away when we first got it. We didn't need the box but we kept it after reading the instructions. When we found out she stopped using it - the peeing and pooping incidents while we were on vacation which continued when we got home - we put the box on it. No change in her behavior. We even put the original plastic bucket that we first had for her when we got home from the shelter which she used everyday until we got another automated litter box - she used it right away - which just kept failing, was noisy, and drove DH crazy because his office is across from the laundry room. Like I said, Butzie had no problem using that litter box or the robot at the start.

I did a test run this am. The light was green. I put some pressure on the step. The light went to red. I threw some of her food in there because of course I had left her in the laundry room for pooping with food. The minute I pressed lightly on the step, really lightly, the red light came on. After a fair number of minutes, the yellow light came on and the robot started turning. It finished and the green light came on again.

Last night, the smell in our bed was so bad that I had to spray my side with Febreeze. It smelled nice but it was wet. Also, Butzie was in the house sleeping near DH's sink outside our bathroom. I told her that she was a bad, bad girl. Then I realized that there was a single bed with clean sheets in our daughter's room who is away at college. I left the door open and sometime in the middle of the night, Butzie comes in and bunts me in the face, loudly purring and wanting love. We had our session for about 15 minutes. I told her that I was tired and she curled up at the foot of the bed and went to sleep.

I will take her to the vet for a UTI check. Maybe she developed one when we were away.

Your advice was wonderful - thanks.
post #5 of 18
Just to keep yourself sane while you figure out what the problem is, why not put a regular box right next to your auto one as a back up?
post #6 of 18
Maybe putting litter pans in other areas of the house on a temporary basis in case she is afraid of the room with the other auto box. Might help if she is associating fear or pain from an infection to have more boxes for awhile. Just a thought.
post #7 of 18
You're welcome- sorry it was so long, lol.

I had forgotten about the UTI/associating pain with the litter box that Skimble mentioned- if Butzie has a UTI, that might be part of the problem, and may persist for a bit after it clears up until she's comfortable both physically and mentally again (I have to mention this to my sister-thanks Skimble). One of our cats seemed to come down with a UTI everytime we went out of town when she was younger, and I don't know why- unless it was just stress. She's fine about it now.

Sidenote:
You know, it's really hard to type with a fuzzy cat licking your fingers and "marking" your laptop with her face- I've been cat drooled- blech-"ButterBEAN!!"
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
Just to keep yourself sane while you figure out what the problem is, why not put a regular box right next to your auto one as a back up?
I was going to suggest that. Some cats really just don't like robotic litter boxes and just putting their regular box out will fix the peeing/pooping issue. It's also possible it's too small or she doesn't like the covered nature of it. I remember seeing one at a house we looked at (house hunting) and thought it was way too small for my cats.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
Just to keep yourself sane while you figure out what the problem is, why not put a regular box right next to your auto one as a back up?
That would be my suggestion too.
In fact I would put a regular litter box in every area where she hangs out.

Butzie
post #10 of 18
Just fyi , putting out more litter boxes in familiar places doesn't always work either (I'm not saying it's not worth a try, mind you- it certainly is !). My sister's cat just plain old quit using the box- small tray, huge pan, lid, no lid- any box, period and has just recently started using it again (but just around the outside edges, not in the middle, lol)- who knows what goes on in their little furry minds sometimes??? I hope she gets sorted out soon...
post #11 of 18
Oh my goodness!

I had no idea she was still being naughty

Well, at least you can probably rule out her being mad at you for leaving. As for her pooping and peeing inappropriatly while you were away, I dont think she started doing that right away. She pooped right in front of the litter box the first two days you were gone. She did use it at least once, I noticed some stuff in there maybe the second day. Never even suspected her of being so bad. Maybe I missed a post here, but have you had her checked for UTI?

Hope that helps, but I just dont know. She is such a sweetheart otherwise!
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
This is a happy reply to the litter box problem Butzie was having. I took her to the vet Monday and she said that Butize's problems were probably behavioral and not a UTI infection. Between her ideas and Sarahp's advice 9 thanks, Sarah), we bought lots of stuff for Butzie, like cat attract litter, feliway, additional litter boxes, etc.

Well, Butzie went in the one in our bedroom yesterday at least once. When the vet called yesterday to tell us Butzie's UTI test was negative, she was pleased that Butzie went into the litter box so quickly. We are going to try to move the box every few days so that it gets closer and closer to the laundry room.

Anyway, nothing today but nothing inside, either. Butzie was out for her usual hour stroll this am, so I am sure she did her business there. Right now, no indoor poo is good poo.
post #13 of 18
No UTI.

This is hopeful news.
post #14 of 18
Yay for Butzie (and you!)
post #15 of 18
Oh, good news !
post #16 of 18
We used to have 2 auto boxes and after Hemmy's bad UTI streak he was scared to use the boxes (it hurt him, or so he thought.) He's super food oriented and our boxes were arranged in such a way that I could put a treat on the back part (there was a large flat surface on those boxes) and he'd have to get in the box to get the treat. You might try something like that. I'd turn the box off first. Maybe she's just scared of the noise but if she started associating it with something positive she might change her opinion.
post #17 of 18
I had never even heard of robot litter boxes until I read this thread. I thought my completely different experience might inspire some ideas.

My cat, Thingy, has been a mainly outdoor cat until she met me. After nearly 3 years together, she likes indoor comforts but also needs the freedom that outdoors gives her. From day 1, I put a litter tray in the hall (although at that stage I didn't even know if she would use one) so that it was away from her food and her sleep areas. I was pleased to discover that she does know what it's for but, if she can, she always gets me to let her out. She far prefers to do such things outside. She tends to use the litter tray at night when I'm asleep and does so without complaint even though it's not her first choice. Sometimes, she needs to use it more than once before I get to clean it. Again, this is not a problem for her. I do use clumping litter which may help as it keeps the urine in discrete areas rather than pervading the whole tray and, of course, faeces never spoil a whole trayful of litter at one go.

I cannot imagine the problems described here. I Googled "robot litter box" and found an ad for one. There is no way that Thingy would get into a thing like that. She's fine with something open she can step in and out of freely but something enclosed like that would be anathema to her and the fact that they make a noise would just freak her out. Can that be part of the problem? That these boxes are completely alien to what comes naturally to cats? Personally, I can't see the point of them. Cleaning litter trays takes a couple of minutes; they're cheap, they can be placed somewhere discreet that your cat can get to easily and they needn't smell - why waste money (the ad I saw said they cost $329!).
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by megra View Post
I had never even heard of robot litter boxes until I read this thread. I thought my completely different experience might inspire some ideas.

My cat, Thingy, has been a mainly outdoor cat until she met me. After nearly 3 years together, she likes indoor comforts but also needs the freedom that outdoors gives her. From day 1, I put a litter tray in the hall (although at that stage I didn't even know if she would use one) so that it was away from her food and her sleep areas. I was pleased to discover that she does know what it's for but, if she can, she always gets me to let her out. She far prefers to do such things outside. She tends to use the litter tray at night when I'm asleep and does so without complaint even though it's not her first choice. Sometimes, she needs to use it more than once before I get to clean it. Again, this is not a problem for her. I do use clumping litter which may help as it keeps the urine in discrete areas rather than pervading the whole tray and, of course, faeces never spoil a whole trayful of litter at one go.

I cannot imagine the problems described here. I Googled "robot litter box" and found an ad for one. There is no way that Thingy would get into a thing like that. She's fine with something open she can step in and out of freely but something enclosed like that would be anathema to her and the fact that they make a noise would just freak her out. Can that be part of the problem? That these boxes are completely alien to what comes naturally to cats? Personally, I can't see the point of them. Cleaning litter trays takes a couple of minutes; they're cheap, they can be placed somewhere discreet that your cat can get to easily and they needn't smell - why waste money (the ad I saw said they cost $329!).
The good news is the Butzie has been using the litter box every day since my last post! I am now in the process of moving it closer the the laundry room which is downstairs.

Butzie had no problem with the litter robot when we first got it. All the problems started when we left her to go on vacation. Boy, did she make us pay.
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