problem - my cat goes everywhere
I don't know what to do? My kitten is 17 weeks now I got her off a breeder about 6 weeks ago, at first she wouldn't use the litter box at all? Then i got her using the litter for about a week all was going well then she started going on the couch or bed or wherever she could go, I limited her to only one room in the house but after sitting on a wet couch a few to many times i decided to move her into the hall at night and i shut all the doors to the rooms then i tried her on the litter kwitter cause she just didn't like her box.
That went really well for a couple of weeks then again she started messing everywhere i even bought different types of litter boxes. I clean the litter box every time she uses it with a non ammonia based cleaner??
Does any one know what I can do. I have spoken to the breeder, the vet, and even cat behavourists and nothing has helped me and i'm worried i will have to give her up if we cant fix the problem.
The younger they are, and the less time the problem has existed, the better, so that's the good news. I'm going to give my usual caveat about making sure there are no medical problems.
If you've already consulted with all the experts, I'm not sure how much help I can be, but I'll give my 2 cents.
OK, having said that, it sounds like this poor little thing has been through a lot. Let's review:
She changed homes and was removed from her nice cushy existence in her old territory, her mother, siblings, human caregiver, and possibly other pets. Then, she was having adjustment issues and was scared by all the changes going on so she wouldn't use the litter box.
So, she was then confined to a room where she was still all freaked out. Then, that was changed on her and she was put in a hall and not allowed to access the rooms. Then, she was no longer supposed to use a litter box, but instead to try something totally new and eliminate on a human toilet, which is a difficult accomplishment for human children, let alone a cat. (I doubt that I would ever attempt to toilet train a cat unless the cat was already fully comfortable using a litter box).
I'm exhausted already just thinking about it and I get the feeling that she really has no idea what's expected of her. I have no idea what is expected of me either, but I think I can handle it. She can't.
OK, having said all that:
First of all, you have to reduce her stress level in whatever way you can. Lots of attention helps, but give her space if it seems like she needs it.
Consistency is extremely important. Consistency of territory, other pets, people's schedules, feeding, litter box type/size/shape, litter type and scent, litter box cleanliness, and so on. Any time there is a change, it needs to be as smooth as possible, with as few variables as possible.
Second, let me get you thinking a bit more about her history and what has changed since she was with the breeder...
Was she properly litter box trained and consistently using the box with the breeder?
Was she properly socialized by the breeder?
Was she physically 100%? Most cat breeders have a guarantee of health.
Are you using the exact same size/type/shape of litter box that the breeder was using?
Are you using the exact same type/brand/scent of litter the breeder was using?
Are you using the exact same type/flavor of food and the same feeding schedule the breeder was using?
Is the food and water location far enough away from the litter box?
Are there other pets in the home or anything that might
be disturbing her?
Was there another pet that lived in the house previously and perhaps she is marking/submitting? She's a kitten so she will tend to be submissive and perhaps tentative, even if another animal used
to live there.
If you're bringing home a cat and it's just you on a regular schedule that's one thing. But, I'm a big believer that if there are a few people or other animals in the house that you set up a cat sanctuary/safe room for a new kitten. You also should use this type of room if there are any adjustment issues.
A cat sanctuary/safe room is a cat safe, cat friendly room that has everything a cat needs. Litter box (consistent with what the breeder was using), food, water, a scratching post, cat tree, plenty of light, a comfortable sleeping area, and kitten-safe toys. The litter box should be placed as far away as possible from the food/water/sleeping/play area. She should be able to climb to safety if she feels insecure, and have hiding places as well if needed.
Keep her in that room and spend lots of time with her and show her lots of attention if she wants it. She knows how to use the box just fine, so you don't need to rub her paw in the litter or anything, but you want to make sure she gets retrained in this room.
Make sure you have proper box placement, litter and so on. The pages listed at the top of the litter box problems guide have all kinds of information on how to handle these situations
One thing that might help her is the eat/exercise/box routine...
Pick her up and put her in the litter box after exercise (encourage a good play session for this). See if she does her business. If she does, wait until she exits the box and praise her profusely. If she doesn't, then leave her alone.
A few minutes after she eats or drinks, encourage a very light play session (not too much because you can upset her stomach). Then place her in the box.
Along with this retraining time, making sure everything is consistent. You can try adding Feliway Spray
into the mix.
Feliway is synthetic cat cheek pheromone (simulates all that face rubbing). It has been shown to calm cats, reduce aggression, and remedy litter box problems. It is synthetic, and NOT made from cats as some people have asked, so no worries!
You can also try Precious Cat Ultra Litter Attractant
If you're using scented litter, this may not work. You need to be using totally unscented litter (preferably clumping clay litter) in order for this to work.
OK, I think I'm pretty much out of ideas for retraining, attracting your cat to the litter, and reducing stress on your cat (other than what's in the litter box problems guide and all the suggestions I've given on the pages contributed by visitors).
Here are some more thoughts...
Take your cat back to the breeder and have the breeder do litter box retraining. Then, take your cat back and start over based on everything we've covered.
With respect to box cleaning...
You normally should be using clumping litter of some kind. When you mention using a non-ammonia cleaner each time, I start to wonder.
Normally, with clumping litter, what you do is simply scoop the litter with the urine/feces out of the box. Every so often, you either add litter, or wash the box and totally replace the litter.
If you're doing a "cleaning" with anything that has even the faintest scent, your cat may not like it. Instead, just scoop. Replace the litter once a week (at this point -- you can stretch that a bit later) and wash the litter box and thoroughly dry the box -- no residual smells!
Things to keep in mind...
Never punish, but always reward.
I hope that helps and good luck,