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Desperate for help w/ feral litter box problem

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I am new to the forum and really need someone's advice. I just trapped 2 feral cats that I have been feeding for several months. They are both female. One is the mother cat and she is about 1-2 years old the other is her kitten about 6 months old. I took them to the vet and got them both spayed, shots etc. I put them in a 2x2x3 cat playpen along with food, litterbox and small carrier to use as a "lair" and I covered the playpen with a sheet. The kitten started using the litter box right away, but the mother has been doing all of her peeing and pooping on whatever bedding is in the pen. This has gone on for about 5 days now. She always does this at night and I find it in the morning. Each time I remove the bedding and clean the pen and replace with clean towels/bedding. I don't know what to do anymore. I have a home for the kitten and will be giving her to the woman next week, but since the mother is much more feral than the kitten, I planned on keeping her and trying to tame her myself. The problem is my husband isn't real crazy about animals but he has agreed to let me keep her on one condition...she uses the litter box. She could spit, hiss, bite etc. and he wouldn't care as long as she used the box. I am so close to having to release the mother cat back into the woods behind our house because I can't get her litter trained. It breaks my heart because we will be moving in a few weeks and I don't know if anyone will care/feed her after I move. I would greatly appreciate any advice/suggestions.

Thanks so much.
post #2 of 4
Hi there,

First of all you are asking her to do something her instincts tell her is wrong. You are asking her to poop and pee in one location close to where she eats. She will not do that. If you give her a larger area, and a second litter pan, or even three, feed her away from the litter pan then you will find that she will use the pan. Also, instead of using straight clay litter, use organic potting soil. She needs something she is used to, such as dirt, but because of bug issues you can't use just straight dirt that's why I recommend organic potting soil.

She goes next to the box because she doesn't understand litter pans. She was not raised in the lap of love and you are asking of her something she does not understand. In the wild, she would poop in one area away from her kittens, then bury it deep, then go to another area and pee bury that and leave.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you for replying. I did read on another site tonight that it would be best to mix mostly dirt with a little bit of regular litter and then to gradually change over to all litter. So I just got done filling the litter box with mostly potting soil (I couldn't find any at the store that said "organic", so I hope what I bought was ok (it didn't contain any fertilizers). I would love to give the cats a larger space, but right now my husband won't let me bring them in the house because of the litter box issue, so you see I am caught in kind of a vicious circle. I also have a 6 year old domesticated cat, who absolutely hated these 2 ferals when they lived outside in our yard. The ferals would sit on the ledge of our deck and look into our kitchen windows for hours. My cat would constantly cry and try to attack the ferals through the windows. I am kind of afraid of what would happen if my cat realized the ferals were in the house. I don't regret trapping these 2 cats and having them spayed/vaccinated because I know thats what is best for them, but now I wonder if I took on more than I could handle in deciding to keep the mother and try to tame her. I have read all I could on the internet about training ferals, but I am still overwhelmed and confused about exactly what I need to do. I am really thinking that the best thing for the mom would be to release her again. The kitten is going to a good home and since I have been feeding/interacting with her since she was 3 months old, she is really much tamer and less afraid of humans that the mother. It is also strange how the kitten took to using the litter box right away.

Thanks so much again for your advice.
post #4 of 4
Thank you for rescuing this kitty and mom cat - and for having them spayed and vaccinated!

Being new to rescue, you can't be expected to be familiar with Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs, but that is exactly what you are proposing. Adopt the kittens, have the mature cats spayed and neutered, and release them back to the wild. Many of us here at TCS also rescue the mature ferals, and if you have the time and space, you can create wonderful, rewarding relationships with them - inside as pets, or out, with you as caretaker.

Since it seems you do not have the space to care for this mom cat properly, perhaps the best thing is to release her, once the kitten has been adopted out and now that she is spayed.

If you have any questions about shelter for her, or ongoing care, please feel free to ask.

If you have further interest in learning what you can do for her, or if you want to see if there are others in your area who want to take her or care for her, you can try contacting local organizations or shelters. You can also contact the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Campaign network. Here are some links for you:

http://www.pets911.com/organizations/organizations.php Just type in your zip code, and you'll get a list of local organizations and shelters to contact.



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