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Cat Won't Defecate in Litter Box

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
We adopted a stray 2 years ago. She was 3 then, according to our vet. She refuses to poop in the litter box. She will pee if her front paws are on the floor and back paws on the rim of the litter box. We have tried everything. We have recently moved into a new house and can't allow her to to ruin the new floors. I have confined her to the bathroom in our old house and put tile down. ( She has never walked on tile before.) My thoughts were that if I can get her to confine her pooping to the utility room (tiled) in the new house I can live with that.
I have also bought her a harness and considered taking her out 2 or three times a day to see if she will poop outside. Has anyone ever tried this? I don't want to get rid of her and I can't put her outside because she has been declawed and we live near a busy street.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 9
Try crating her. Crating works by not giving her any other option to poop, besides the litterbox. You need a dog crate/cage that is just barely big enough for a litterbox, food bowl, water bowl, and a sleeping spot with a blanket or something. If she poops or pees on the blanket, remove it and rearrange everything to give her even less space. You want her to have no other option besides using the litterbox. Cats don't poop where they sleep or eat, so there will be an overwhelming desire to use the box rather than soil the rest of the crate.

Once she is comfortable doing that, usually after a few days, you can release her into one closed off room and wait another week. If she does't poop or pee outside the box in that time, extend her range with baby gates in the hallways or something. You don't want an sudden jumps in the amount of space, or she might freak out.


If she starts pooping outside the box at any point, even when she's in one room, she has to go back in the crate again. It sounds harsh, but you can let her out supervised to play, etc, and cats do prefer smaller areas if they are in an unknown terrain (which is what the big, scary new house is to her)
post #3 of 9
If you're using a hooded litterbox, take the top off. There's also a product called Dr Elsey's litterbox attractant which you could use. For litter, I'd recommend staying away from crystals, and preferably use something that is high-clumping and biodegradable (with no harmful dust) like World's Best Cat Litter or Swheat Scoop or similar (those made w/ corn and wheat respectively).
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Have already tried all of suggested solutions and nothing has worked. Has anyone had any success taking tgheir cat outdoors on a leash to do their business?
post #5 of 9
If the vet doesn't know what to do, then most of us on this forum probably won't be very helpful. Have you considered professional cat trainer?
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyclimber View Post
If the vet doesn't know what to do, then most of us on this forum probably won't be very helpful. Have you considered professional cat trainer?
Mommyclimber, actually many vets are not very familiar with behavior problems, one of the reasons this forum is so helpful to people!

Liz, can you tell us what you have tried? I don't see having multiple litter boxes out mentioned, though the use of "the" litter box doesn't necessarily mean "a" litter box. Feral cats tend to be very fastidious about covering their pee and poop - but some also refuse to pee and poop in the same place.

What is she pooping on? Carpet? Hardwood floor?

You use a quality enzyme cleaner to clean it up?

Have you tried picking up her poop with a paper towel, and repeatedly putting it in an otherwise clean box? I know it seems kind of silly to scoop poop you put in the box, but for several people, just doing this a few times helped solve the problem.

Does she poop randomly around the house? Or in a usual spot? (spots?)

If you could provide more detail, it would help us help you.
post #7 of 9
Is your kitty declawed? Sometimes that can have something to do with it.....are you using a very "soft" litter? I have a kitty who is very picky about litter & if she doesn't like it, she'll pee in the box but poop wherever.

Do her stools look normal (ie solid, "normal" color, etc)?

I've heard of people harness/leash training cats to go outside, but never actually teaching them to relieve themselves outdoors on command (like a dog).
post #8 of 9
I've had many, many similar troubles with my Imogen, and we've finally seemed to come to an understanding that outside is the way to go. She most definitely prefers it. I can't just let her out and she'll do her business and come back, like a dog might, and I wouldn't want to do that anyway, as the yard is not fenced and she is likely to wander off, but a leash works wonders.

By now, she knows the routine. I take her out at specific times during the day (whenever works best for you) and she's ready and waiting. All I have to do now is walk toward the back door and say "out" and she comes running. She'll pee just as soon as she finds a nice spot in the grass, and then spend the next five minutes or so seeking out an even better spot to poop in. In all, it's a huge weight off my shoulders, and she seems to be happier, too.

I had problems that sound identical to yours -- she simply wouldn't poop in the box, and no matter what I did, Cat Attract, multiple litterboxes, tile, enzyme cleaners, anything, it made little difference. I do have a large crate into which she goes if I have to leave the house for longer than the time during which I'd normally be back to take her out again, and in those cases she uses the litterboxes in there about 80% of the time, which is enough of an improvement for now.

But otherwise, during normal days, she has free run of the house and completely understands that outside in the odoriferous dirt is a much, much better litterbox than the dingy, plastic (albeit large, clean, and well-stocked!) trays. So, we've come to a sort of understanding.

In short, I say yes, definitely try the leash training. In my experience, Imogen had it down within just a week or two. And she's much, much happier, just from being able to get some sunshine and scratch at the dirt a few minutes a day.

Best of luck!
post #9 of 9
Hi lizdick,

Another suggestion that I have found works well with stray cats that will not use normal clay cat litter or any type of litter for that matter, is just take outside soil/dirt/clay and put it into the litter box. That works 99.9% of the time in my experience.

The two other very good suggestions are to keep the cat in a crate with just a litter box, food, water and a towel also works very well. Since I am sure you do not want "soil" all over your new house. But can in a clean way convert your cat over to "normal" litter.

The other really good suggestion is to just simply let the cat outside to use the "OUTSIDE litter box" .

Lastly I think you deserves a lot of credit for keeping this kitty .
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