Litter training an adult cat

by Warren Harris

I have a cat that has returned to my home after being feral for over a year. He no longer uses the litter box despite all my efforts.

Please, how can I litter train an adult cat? I don't want to give him up, but my house is getting covered in urine and poop.

My Thoughts: You don't mention taking him to the vet, but that would be my first stop after his return.

He may be battling a host of unseen medical problems including parasites and who knows what. Without clearing that up first, you'll never solve the problem fully, and he'll be suffering.

I'm also not sure how long he's been back, or what his diet was/is like and how the change has affected him. If, for example, he was eating rodents and garbage, and you've switched him to dry food 3 days ago, I'd be prepared for some bowel problems.

OK, that having been said, this may be a challenge even if he's 100 percent healthy and his system is used to the current diet. You don't say exactly what you've tried, but I would start with:

1. A thorough cleaning and odor removal in the soiled areas.

2. Isolation retraining, or creating a climate controlled outdoor enclosure first.

3. Reducing his stress level. Keep in mind that if you also have other animals in or near the house, you may have to deal with his reaction to that as well.

So, my two questions are:

Has he been to the vet and been dewormed and so on?


Have you tried isolation retraining?

Please let us know so we can offer better direction. Oh, one last thought... is he spraying or urinating or both?

Anyone with any other input (agree or disagree with me so far) please chime in.


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Mar 28, 2016
Out of the box
by: Anonymous

My cat is doing the same thing, only he has never been an outside cat. He is not using the box at all anymore- urinating and popping everywhere! Everything ruled out at the vet- tried Prozac but can't get it in to him. Second vet said he's seriously pissed about something! Hate to put him down, but he's ruining my house- have already had to get rid of 2 rooms of furniture. Don't know where my end is going to be with him and I feel awful about it.

Editor's note: I'm sorry to hear that your cat is having problems. Since it's gotten this bad, I'd pull out all the stops. Use every trick.

1. Feliway -- get a diffuser and get the spray. Place a diffuser or two in areas where he frequents.

Spray regularly. Spray any areas where he spends time, lies down, sleeps, etc. Spray your pant legs. Give it 15 minutes or so to dry before letting him come in contact with it.

2. Two litter boxes, placed in areas where he frequents, but not high foot traffic or areas with too much noise. Make sure there are easy escape routes as cats don't like to be cornered when using the box.

3. Cat Attract. Try adding Cat Attract to the litter, and make sure you're using litter than he has been OK with in the past.

4. Try Jackson Galaxy's Spirit Essences products for stress relief and litter box problems.

5. Exercise and mental stimulation. If the vet says he's healthy, increase his exercise level to burn off stress. Hide some treats where he might find them.

6. Rescue Remedy. Get some Bach's Rescue Remedy and add it to his water.

7. Up high or down low? Some cats like to go up high and others down low, but some like both. Set up high climbing areas where he can get above everything, and set up hiding spots low to the ground. Put treats in those areas and lure him over to them.

8. Try isolation retraining. Set up a "safe room" where he's got all the comforts, plenty of sun, etc. Spend time with him in there and stack all these methods on top of each other and see if that does the trick.

I hope that helps.


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