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Trouble coming home after vacation

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Tonight my girlfriend and I got back to our apartment after a week-long vacation. It's the longest I've taken in years, and the longest our little crew has ever gone without us (2 cats, 2 rabbits).

Some of it starts pre-vacation: my girlfriend thinks it would be a good idea to get an automatic litterbox. We only have room for one, so it has to be changed rather often. Not too much of a problem normally, but thinks it'll be a good idea, especially while we're gone. I think "ok, sounds good". The new one has a cover and cleans itself 10 minutes after a cat leaves it.

It seems to be tested and approved by both Zoe and Bailey before we leave. Not bad. Bailey's scared of the motor, but seems fine when it's not on.

While we're gone my gf's cousin stops by many times to say hello to the cats, check on their food and water and give the bunnies some romping time while checking on their diet as well. She calls and says all is in order on day 4 or 5. Buns seems good and the cats do nothing but lounge around or play-fight.

Today we get back to a letter and a message on the machine - one kitty was bad and peed on a blanket on the couch. Never has this been done, we're stumped and think it's Zoe. She's only been with us 6 weeks and is still being introduced to "civility". However - we do say maybe it's Bailey, he's the one who yells at us when we come home from being away (as he did for a while tonight). My gf then catches Bailey about to pee on our bed - and then he comes out here and goes in a cardboard box (that the bunnies normally play in). We each try putting him in the litterbox and he freaks out each time, scratching my gf. We took the cover off and unplugged it, but I'm not sure what to do now. Will he use this new box or will I wake up in cat pee (or find it soaked into my couch)? I'm quite worried, of course.

I'm sure we can find a solution. I feel horrible about the money spent on the auto-box, but that doesn't concern me right now - should I just go out tomorrow morning and get a normal litterbox?

Other things - Bailey has a little cut/bruise on his lip. He normally doesn't, but I suppose it can just be from him biting down hard or maybe a rough kitty-play-fight (they have become great playmates, usually rough, never more then the tiniest scratch). Bailey also seems to be shedding more then normal. I'm not sure if it's just the season, or if it's stress.

I appreciate any thoughts.
post #2 of 4
What you're describing are two cats who have been very stressed in the past week and are telling you so. As for the litter box, you will need to go out and buy a plain one and put it somewhere that is away from the automated box so that Bailey can eliminate without fear. Taking the cover off and unplugging it won't make any difference as Bailey is associating that box with fear. You might want to invest in a Comfort Zone plug-in. You can read about it here. It will help to destress your cats and may help to solve the urinating problem as well

As a tip for next time, It's best not to drastically change anything right before you go away as the cats will be stressed enough not having you around.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Well, I stayed up quite late with Bailey and woke up a bit early today. I was very paranoid about him going somewhere he shouldn't. He didn't - and used the scary litterbox! (Pet store hasn't opened yet.) I'm going to give him some time today to see if he uses it all day comfortably. I want to determine if it was him just being a bit scared to use it - or if he was just very angry with us (or maybe a bit of both).

The only thing I've done is any time Zoe uses the litterbox, I made sure to bring Bailey over to make him see her, and then I'd go pet her and tell her what a good girl she is and give her a treat. After he used it before, I was sure to do the same thing. Hopefully just good ole affection will do the trick here and he can conquer his fear.
post #4 of 4
It can calm a cat to sleep in their area for a few nights upon returning from a long trip. You might also try relocating yourself into a (what they would consider) safer area of the house (second room) and close the door for all of you to sleep in close quaters.

Concerning the bump on the lip, keep a close eye on this and be sure to contact your vet if you notice it changing colors or generally looking worse. This bump could be a reaction to something or was caused by an accident while you were out, might need attention for it to heal properly.
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