6 year old Maine Coon not using litter box

by Marla
(Pittsburg, KS)

I have a 6 year old female Maine Coon and a 5 year old male tabby. Two months ago, we adopted a Boston terrier/chihuahua. The cats obviously do not like the dog.


About 3 weeks ago, I invested in a Litter Robot because the dog was eating the cat poop out of the litter box. I left the old litter box in with the new so that they could get used to it and see what it was all about.

A week later, I removed the old litter box because I thought both cats were using it. Apparently, my Maine Coon was not using it as I think she's scared of it. Now she is peeing and pooping everywhere else but in the litter box.

I brought back in the old one and she still is refusing to use it. It is in the same room as the litter robot. I don't really have anywhere else to put the two litter boxes, and I'm in desperate need of advice/help.

I don't want my house smelling like cat pee. It's the worst smell ever. I realize that I've turned my cats' world upside down by bringing in a dog, and now a scary litter box. Please help!

Marla

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. It definitely sounds like this all was too much too fast for your kitty.

What I'm going to say here will come as no surprise to long-time readers. Cats hate change, and introductions are critical.

Introducing a dog to a cat too quickly can definitely cause problems, which is one of the reasons slow introductions are recommended. If there are problems during the introduction phase, you typically want to back up a step or two and slow things down.

If you didn't isolate the dog from the cats and then do a slow and controlled introduction, you might want to consider rolling back the clock, as it were.

By that I mean start over with a clean slate... isolate the dog from the cats so you can work on the house soiling issue with your cat. Then, slowly re-introduce your dog to the home and the cats.

I've written about cat-to-cat introductions before, and similar rules apply, but this is a good article that outlines the issues and steps involved in introducing dogs and cats.

Keeping the canine and felines separated will hopefully reduce the stress levels, and allow your cat to get back on the litter box train without that added stress.

As for the Litter Robot, some cats just don't like automatic boxes in general, or they dislike particular ones. Others just take more time to get used to them. It's possible your cat would have taken to it if she were under less stress, but of course that's difficult to say.

What I would do is remove the Litter Robot from sight and see if she begins to use the regular box again. You can add some Dr. Elsey's Ultra Litter Attractant to see if that helps draw her to the box.

In more extreme cases, isolation retraining can work. Adding in calming pheromone spray and diffuser products like Feliway may help, as can herbal products like Rescue Remedy. In the most extreme cases, your vet may recommend drug therapy.

With respect to your dog eating the cat poop, you might want to mention that to your vet as that can sometimes be a sign of pica. Pica is believed, in some cases, to be caused by mineral deficiencies.

I hope that helps to give you some ideas.
-Kurt

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Jul 11, 2017
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by: Ailurophile615

Absolutely agree with Kurt. If possible, I would put a baby gate between the dog & the litter boxes. And, if the boxes are in a room where the cats cannot eat, drink & relax, put another gate up to create a separate space for them. A gate short enough for most people to step over will work for your bitty dog & won't cost much.

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