Newly adopted cat afraid to use the litter box

by Saundra London
(Fleming Island, FL USA)

We adopted a sweet, very non-confrontational 16 month old cat. She is constantly being "tag teamed" by our other two cats.


She has consequently developed a fear of going to the litter box on her own. We have to carry her in there and shut the door, and she usually goes.

We really cannot keep doing this. She has been "trapped" on the couch a couple of times by these two before I realized it, and she urinated on the cushions.

We really don't want to give up on her, but we cannot live like this any longer. We have had her for three weeks. Please help!

My thoughts:

Thank you for taking in new cat, Saundra.

I'm sorry to hear that your new cat is having so much trouble and that your resident cats are disturbed as well.

If she's being threatened by them, she should not be left alone with them. I would get her back into her safe room as soon as possible.

So that brings me to the question...

When you first brought her home, did you create a safe room for her and do a slow, monitored introduction to the resident cats with scent and territory swapping?

If not, that is likely the root of the problem. If you did do a separation, then it's time to revert to that and get her back in the safe room. The introduction was probably too quick.

I'm usually comfortable with several days of isolation (this helps get the new cat's routine established, litter box habits right, etc.), and then 7 - 10 days of slow introduction.

It may take longer with some cats, and you've got 2 on 1 going on here as well. I would do face-to-face introductions with one cat at a time.

I'm not saying that they'll get along for sure, but if you put them together too quickly, you're not giving any of the cats the best chance at a happy relationship.

Either way, as I said, she should not be exposed to the resident cats without supervision.

Please leave me a comment regarding how the separation period went, how long it was, and how you went about doing the introduction and how that went so that I know where things stand.

Thanks,

Kurt

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