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Territory issues - we have to take our cat to the box

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Just saying hello for now. We have two kitties, Sophie (1) and Roxy (4). They are both our sweeties, though Roxy is our "new" kitty, just adopted in October. We have had Sophie since she was 9 weeks old, and lets just say the transition is still in progress. We are lifelong kitty people in our house. My husband and I have had kitties together since 1995, and our "firstborn" Hannah, just passed away a year ago in December (07). We are currently searching for creative ways to help our kitties discover the joys of sisterhood, but we are probably in for a long wait.

Roxy is the dominant kitty now, and Sophie is even intimidated so much she will not go down to use the litter box with unless she has one of us as escort, and Roxy hidden away in another room. This does seem to solve the soiling problems Sophie had a couple of times, but we are hoping this does not have to continue forever, for her sake and for ours. I have read that a total reintroduction may be something we could eventually do, but we are not quite ready to commit to that again yet. We are trying to be more intentional with playtime and protected "alone" time for each cat. We have VERY occasionally seen Sophie creep down to the basement on her own (to the litter box) so we have some hope that she is gaining confidence again, but it is so strange to see our feisty little kitten so spooked and afraid. Both of our kitties are nice people kitties with us, they just don't like each other.

I might say that we did not go looking for a cat older than Sophie when we adopted Roxy, but we were won over by her story of abuse in the past, and charmed that she came to us so easily. We thought she may be permanently timid since the workers at the shelter had worked with her so much just to get her a little out of her shell, but within a couple of days of coming home with us she just blossomed. I do think she has been treated nicely in the past for at least part of her life, because she has never shown any shyness at human contact. Beyond this we do not know much about her history, but physically she is a bit larger than Sophie (I guess Sophie is still growing, but we don't really notice now), and socially more dominant. If this helps anyone psych out our cats a bit, go for it. Sorry for unloading all this at once, but I am still trying to find my way around I guess, and not even sure what questions to ask first.
post #2 of 4
I'd add another box or two, on a different level than the existing box, at least for the short term. Hard for a cat to guard more than one box on one floor at a time!

Also, do they manage to eat in the same room? When I adopted my second cat, I tried very hard to provide food/treats whenever they were in proximity to each other without hissing, etc....sort of hoping they'd get the idea that nice things happened if they were in the same room with each other. I'm guessing you have sufficient vertical space for them - nothing like a cat tree or three in the house! Good luck...I remembre how the early days of introduction seemed very stressful for the whole house.
post #3 of 4
Adding a 2nd and maybe 3rd box should help things. One cat cannot guard every litter box in the house
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Well, we'll have to look seriously at putting another box upstairs again. We were hoping not to have to do that. We currently have three boxes, but they're all in the basement. Two are where they always were, and we put an additional one nearer the stairs and under a table hoping this would be protected, but more accessible.

As for eating, they have food in the kitchen, but we have put an additional food/water station at the end of our dining room, but they never eat at the same time anyway. Whenever Sophie sees Roxy eating she walks away. Roxy is very food motivated, by the way - responds to treats, etc - but Sophie is not very much. She does like moist food and tuna really well, though. I guess I'm just thinking out lout here - maybe you'll hear something that triggers a thought for you.

We have been trying to have more structured play time with Sophie, in particular. Roxy will play any ol' time, but Sophie will only play when Roxy is not there. So at night when our daughter goes to bed we send Roxy with her and have a while with Sophie before our own bedtime. It seems to be helping Sophie at least play in a more relaxed atmosphere; I'm just not sure how to get the cats playing and relaxing together, or at least at the same time. We are focusing on litter box questions now, but I think it's all related. We also got a cat tree recently hoping that would give them a few more options for territory that they could "stake out."

By the way, sorry this post is delayed - I was getting stuck on my password yesterday and it was locking me out until I could give it enough time, and I was not being patient!
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