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thoughts on potential litterbox problem

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I'm finally working on adopting my first cat. But there's a potential issue I'd like some friendly input on as I decide whether or not to adopt this one and see if she works out. The shelter in question accepts cats back if they don't work out, but I'd hate to return her, too. I would hate hate hate to return a cat, but if a litterbox problem is very likely to be chronic and caused by environment, she'd be better off in somebody else's house.

Apparently - this is what the former owners told the shelter - the owner's roommate's kids were around, and the cat started missing the litterbox. Whether just peeing (maybe marking?) or pooping, I don't know. Are cats very prone to having litterbox issues when stressed? Or does it seem more likely that other litterbox issues (maybe not clean, or maybe the visitors were spending time in the same room) were there?

My situation: I have a roommate, her kids (8 and 10, boys) do sleep over once a month; they are only in the house if the weather's bad, and to sleep, and we've got over 1100sf... and they will leave the cat alone if told to, but they still sound like kids and move like kids. So it could be a very different situation than the prior one. I just have no way of knowing because of how little the shelter knows!

It's tough to make a decision based on so little information, which (of course) may or may not even be accurate... As somebody who likes decisions based on logic, the intuitive/emotional sides have me torn. I got inexplicably attached to this girl; she's apparently usually kind of standoffish, but came up so I'd pet her and went as far as rolling over. Same thing next time I visited; some say the cat picks you. I've never had a cat before. I don't know. But I sure like her... after visiting a couple other shelters, none held a candle though two were attractive to me in their own right. So that's my experience.

Thoughts toward either direction are welcome. More information is welcome. I read the info here on marking and peeing, it was informative but didn't help my dillemma. So it's part qustion about behavior problem, part wanting friendly encouragement (toward either decision).

Thanks for reading my rambling!
post #2 of 2
Your cat will be stressed when you get it from the shelter, but you can take precautions to ensure that it uses the litterbox.
There is a litter called Cat Attract that many people say is very good.
Keep the litterbox in an area where the cat has privacy. My little girl rarely uses it when I'm in the room with her! (it's like anyone else using a bathroom I guess.)

I'd also get the Feliway comfort diffusers. Since you have a large house I'd put the food and the Feliway in one room and maybe some more Feliway throughout the house. Keep the litterbox well away from the food area.

It's not, I suspect, just kids that are the issue here: it's how they interacted with the cat. If the kids were constantly after the cat to play with them, it would certainly cause stress. But since your visitors are not there all the time, and can presumably be watched to see that they do let the cat have some private space, chances are you won't have identical problems.

My cat was terrorized by a dog in her previous home. She not only adjusted beautifully to the new house, she has had very few 'accidents' and these are always near her box. And she doesn't even seem to dislike dogs. It was just THAT dog.

Good luck!
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