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Need Help with Litter Box Consistency

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We have five cats in my family, and while both of our females are very consistent with the litterbox, our males are giving us no end of trouble. Two of them are neutered and the other is... Well, I will get to that. It is the older male who is particularly the problem, and this is a recent development. He is three years old and the others are 9 months or so old.

The one unneutered male has been a problem: we cannot box him to get him to the vet. He isn't feral, but he is absolutely terrified of being picked up because of the one time we almost got him into the box the night before his appointment was scheduled. The vet has been able to give us no real help with either problem.

I am considering attempting to toilet train but I'm not sure it wouldn't be nearly impossible with so many cats. We currently have four litter boxes and yes, I know we need two more, but I am not certain that it would solve the problem. Boxes are kept clean and we're currently using Tidy Cats litter.

Any help would be appreciated!

ETA: All of our cats have had recent vet checks and this has been going on longer than that!
post #2 of 8
Switch at least 1 box to Cat Attract litter and see if that box isn't used a lot more than the rest of your boxes. The stuff is amazing about attracting cats.

For your unneutered male: I too had a male that I couldn't get into a carrier to get to a vet. He was fixed young so I didn't have to worry about that, but when he got sick, it became critical that I find a way to do this.

Call your vet and find out what days he/she does their surgeries. Mine would work with me on bringing in cats at the last minute, as he knew that I had fearful cats in my household. Plan to catch him one of those days and call the vet the day before to see if they can fit you into their schedule at the last minute. A neuter is a short procedure. If your vet won't work with you on this point, call other vets in your area.

Put a carrier in a room where you can close a door and where there are no beds or things he can crawl under. Leave it there for at least a week. On the day you want to catch him, close the doors to every other room in your house and herd him into the carrier room. Close the door behind you and open the carrier so the door is facing the ceiling. Grab your cat so that you are holding onto his scruff firmly to force him to relax. Pick him up (not by the scruff, but also don't release his scruff) and put him in the carrier. Shut the door quickly and gently lower the carrier to the floor. He will fight the entire way in, but keep reminding yourself the good that you are doing for him. If you haven't gotten him to the vet in a while, have them do a full exam and give vaccinations while he is under. If he is a bit older, I highly suggest doing a full blood panel on him just to get a baseline for future years.

Until I learned to do this, I actually had to trap my problem child with a humane trap inside the house. You can do it and don't let him intimidate you!!
post #3 of 8
What exactly are the boys doing? Spraying upright against the wall, squatting and emptying their bladders, etc.? The way they're "missing" the litterbox is important to know, because different problems have different solutions.

Unfortunately, (as you know) it's almost impossible to expect a tomcat not to spray, so having him neutered should be first on the list. And the neutered boys will spray if the tom does, and so on. Really a vicious cycle.

You said that all the cats recently had a vet check? If the tom also was checked, how did you get him to the vet?

I agree with Momofmany.....try everything she's suggested. If all else fails, you might have to try trapping him like you would a feral.
post #4 of 8
Are you using Nok Out or another odor neutralizer on the spots that are being peed on? If you don't completely get the smell out, they will return there over and over again. I've tried every product out there, and Nok Out works where others fail.

If the spot is on the floor, saturate the spot, blot it up and repeat. If on a wall, get a spray bottle and spray it on thick, wipe and repeat. If you don't have a black light, get one and search through your entire house to see where there are markings. Unless you have a really strong black night, you have to do this at night in complete darkness - the cheap ones they sell at the big box pet stores don't work all that well, and you have to be right on top of a spot to see it.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
There is no way that we're going to be able to get Monster in last minute, since we take our cats to a low-cost clinic for their exams and the surgeries. Unfortunately I need to schedule well in advance to get them seen unless there is an emergency. Oddly as well, we only have two doors in our house: the bathroom and the bedroom, and you can't get Monster in the bathroom on a bet (again, this is how we tried to get him into the carrier in the first place). We had speculated and wondered if it might not be possible to mellow him out with some catnip or something similar in order to allow himself to be carried. The vet has been no help at all!

Willowy, I hadn't even thought about it, but you're right: Monster hasn't been to the vet recently when the others went. We've been looking for a solution to get him in the carrier in order to take him. As he isn't the primary culprit and his health appears to be perfect from a layman's perspective, I hadn't really thought of it as an emergency situation, either.

The other cats aren't spraying -- or rather, I'm not catching them doing it. They are squatting and emptying their bladders as cats do. I've caught Keeper doing it and both hubby and I have seen Whisper doing it on numerous occasions: he never did before he was neutered and never sprayed either. He's something of an oddity though.

I've been using vinegar to get the odors out. It was recommended to me by someone I knew and we had great success with it when we first started using it, though now my nose is more sensitive (I quit smoking), I am thinking it isn't completely doing the job.

Where can I get Nok Out? And what kinds of surfaces does it work on? These guys are mostly hitting our floor, which is wood, not carpeted. Somehow that seems to complicate things!
post #6 of 8
I know that some people use vinegar, but I found that it doesn't work for me, particularly if you have repeat offenders (I've got repeat UTI problems in my household). I've only found it online and it is pricey, but if you want to stop the problem, you have to get to the root of the smell. If you can't afford this, at least for odor neutralizers at the store (Nature's Miracle, etc). They don't cost as much, but they are also not quite as effective (you get what you pay for). I use Nok Out on wood floors, carpet, furniture, drywall and concrete floors. Like anything, you test it on something obscure to make sure it doesn't stain but I've never had a problem with it. Things that are loose like blankets, pillows, rugs go into the washing machine rather than wasting Nok Out on them.

For wood floors, you would still saturate the floor, and make sure that you are getting the solution into the cracks between the boards. If you have a good varnish type finish, you won't damage your floor. I had a litter box sitting on a 130 year old pine floor for the 13 years I lived in that house and the smell permeated the floor at that spot. When I went to sell that house, I discovered that the smell does work between the boards and I had to repeat saturation about a dozen times to get every once of smell out. A black light didn't show it, but I could still smell it. Be persistent and repeat as often as you need to.

And seriously look at Cat Attract litter (now sold at Petsmart). My UTI boy was squatting elsewhere until I changed my boxes over to it. That is also pricey, but the cost to repair what he was ruining far exceeded the cost of the litter.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am pretty sure that I will be able to convince Hubby about the Nok Out (and if not, put my own earnings towards it) but for something like litter it's going to be a bit more difficult. He considers himself quite thrifty (even if he isn't always ) and I grow tired of having to convince him that name-brand litters are better than those that carry the store label.

This is a situation that has blessedly improved, but we still aren't all of the way there. I would love to be done with the boxes entirely but as I said I don't know that toilet training is going to work for such a large group and Holler has mental problems: I'm not sure she'd quite get it.
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by ghosthunterbeck View Post
I am pretty sure that I will be able to convince Hubby about the Nok Out (and if not, put my own earnings towards it) but for something like litter it's going to be a bit more difficult. He considers himself quite thrifty (even if he isn't always ) and I grow tired of having to convince him that name-brand litters are better than those that carry the store label.
You're going to need to spend the money to get the core smell out of the house. But if you spend a bit more on Cat Attract, you won't have to repeat spend on products to get the smell out. In the long run, it's cheaper. Sell that argument to your hubbie!

My DH also grumbled, then thanked me when we switched over to Cat Attract.
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