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Persian cats and the Litter box

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have an important question:
A friend of mine adopted a beautiful Persian cat from the shelter - about 1-2 years old.
He has been through a lot: abandoned at the shelter, then adopted and returned again. While in the shleter, the cats around him used to hassle him ALL the time. But still - he never fought back, he's so quiet and gentle. In the meantime, he was so stressed that he developed a serious cold, and an eye infection.
In his new home, all the sickness cleared away like it never existed. One problem remained: he refuses to use the litter box. he goes around it, but never in it. My friend knew this when she took him, so she has no intention of bringing him back. But I would really like to help her out.
In the meantime we have tried several things:
changing the litter - clumping, non clumping, then - changing the box - biger, smaller, open, closed. Now we're trying to move the box around the house. but in the meantime - nothing.
Its important to add that we don't really know his full history - we dont know if he came from a breeder or not, etc. We just know he went through a lot.

What do you think?
post #2 of 16
What kind of litter box does she have for the cat? Cats do not like to be watched when they go to the litter box, so you might try the covered ones. At the shelter he probably did not have the privacy he wanted and it may take awhile for him to adjust.
post #3 of 16
Has she tried everything in this link ?
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
I will go through everything and see if there are things we didn'[t try.
A friend who knows about cats thinks he might have be coming from a bad breeder, and was never tought to use litter box. So she offered to use an empty box, and if he still recognizes the place (as he does now) - gradualy add the litter. Were going to try that.

I will keep posting regarding this. I really want to solve this. Although a breeder which really knows a lot about persian told me today that this is a problem that might not go away. Is it possible?

In the meantime - thanks for your help!
post #5 of 16
I believe that this problem can be solved, but it might take a whole lot of detective work to figure out what needs to change in order for her to be okay with the box. Please don't let your friend lose hope! I'm sure that between those of us here at TCS and her vet, we will find a solution.
post #6 of 16
If he doesn't use the box...where is he going? The places he is going may give a clue. He may not like the plastic boxes, or he may associate the box with a bad experience. Was he declawed? He may be used to shreaded news paper, garden soil, or some other texture. Please keep us updated! I love a good mystery!
post #7 of 16
Tiki (my Himmie) had problems when I first got here last August. She is the reason why I searched for a forum like this! I tried EVERYTHING and nothing seemed to work. I took her to the Vet and she was perfectly healthy. Finally with the help of TCS, I found that she needed more litter boxes. I have 3 cats and only had 3 boxes at the time, but later found out that each cat should have 2 boxes. One to pee in and one to poop. Once I added more boxes, we haven't had a single problem! It took 6 months of trying to figure out what was wrong and something as simple as adding boxes fixed it. I don't know if this will help you & your friend, but it sure couldn't hurt.

Also does the cat use the box at all? Just curious...

Hope that this may help you in someway! Please tell your friend thank you for saving this little furbabe from the shelter. It takes a special person to adopt an animal when they know it has some "problems".
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Guys, thank you so much for the support, I really feel encouraged .

Shell - I will definately tell my friend to try adding another box, it sure can't hurt.
And Teresa - Christopher is not declawed, and when he goes - he goes all around the box, never too far from it. He only went in the box twice: once on his first night over, and the second time - when my friend saw he is about to go - and placed him in the box, which he didn't seem to mind at all.

In the shelter he used to go EVERYWHERE - never too close to the box. but thats all the history we know about him, since his original owner ditched him and never contacted us again. Very upsetting.

Well - Teresa - I too love a good mystery, especially when I know thats what I want to do with my life! (Im starting a behaviorist course on August, taught by Anne!)

I will keep you guys posted! Thank you so much!!
post #9 of 16
Nunny, I'm glad I could help you with the little knowledge that I've learned during my time here!

Another thing I just thought of is maybe he doesn't like kinds of litter boxes. She might want to try a covered box instead (or visa versa if that's what she already has). Another thing she could use is a big rubbermaid tote that you can get a WalMart or a place like that. I believe Hissy has used them before and has had good luck with them. I think she uses the ones that are not very tall and the ones that are really long...like the sweater type boxes that go underneath your bed.

Another thing is that maybe this cat has never learned how to use a litter box. I've been very lucky with my cats when they were kittens. I didn't have to train them at all. They just went right into the box and knew what they needed to do. I really don't know how to train an older cat litter box training. Maybe Hissy or Anne could help you more on that.

Good luck and keep us posted!
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hey Shell - thanks again for the good advice. I have but one technical question, since Im not fa,iliar with the English-Hebrew translation:
what is rubbermaid tote ? Can you explain? Im sure we have it here - Im just not sure what it is ... Please forgive me...

Next weekend I will be up-north to do some more investigating. In the meantime - my friend added another Litter box - but no good. We're going to try the aluminum foil trick, and we'll see how it goes. The thing is, that he pees AND poops outside of the box, so Im not sure it will work. I will keep on trying!
post #11 of 16
Oh I'm sorry! I just assumed that everyone knew what that meant!

Here's a a couple of pictures of them. Hope this helps you!

post #12 of 16
Has she tried placing his potty into the box so he smells it there? Sometimes this will help him recognise that is what the box is for.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Shell - thanks for the pics!!! nothing works better than picture, to explain something... now I know! Thanks! sounds like a good idea.

And Teresa - thats a very good idea - sound so simple and efficient. I will definitly try that!
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Latest update:

I went to visit my friend's house. First of all - the cat looks so happy and stress-less!! his cold is comp[letely gone, and so is his eye infection.
Now, regarding the litter-box:
He pees in an empty plastic box that just happened to stand next to the litter box - and thats what he uses all the time. My friends told me that on the one time she managed to put him in the box - he stood there in a very strange manner, and he looked like he's very uncomfortable with the feeling of the litter sand under his paws. She was laughing, saying he was standing on the edges like a bird... Anyways, that brings me to the conclusion, that he was probably never taght how to use it. I think he was separated from him mommy too soon, because he also likes to suck people's ears (which shows of a too-early separation).

I suggested to her to empty the box from litter, and try putting a bit of his dry poop in it, so he can try and use it. Then - if it works, gradually add litter, bit by bit. And I told her to change to a bigger box (I showed her your pics, Shell!) with lower edges. I explained that the furr is like sensors - and when its a persian cat - he has long hair, and he doesn't feel comfortable in a small box. I hope Im right on this...

Now we have to see how it goes.

What do you think? any other suggestions??
post #15 of 16
Sounds good to me! I bet that once he starts going in the empty box, she could gradually add litter to it. Things like this are trial and error. Luckily, you've found that he likes an empty box instead of a full one. I'm glad to see that things are improving for her & the kitty and also glad that I could be of some help to you.

Wishing you, your friend & the kitty the best of luck! BTW, is he pooping in the empty box or just peeing in it? Just curious...
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Shell!

To your question: he only pees in it the empty one. He poops all over the place... So she left the empty box there, just adding a bit of litter everyday. So he will have two boxes all the time.

You know how a cat digs in the ground before he poops, but just goes without digging when he only pees? I think thats our biggest clue. I think once the litter is removed, Christopher will feel much more comfortable pooping in it. Well, I hope so, anyway...
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