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Cat(s) Not Using Litter Boxes (Very Long...)

What do you do when you have more than a couple of cats who, no matter what you do, refuses to 100% use the litter boxes, but yet you don't know for sure who it is doing it...?

- We've changed litter
- We've cleaned litter several times a day
- We've upped the number of litter boxes so there is one per cat
- We've taken the lids off the litter boxes
- We've bought things that say they will eliminate the smell
- We've cleaned the areas using everything from enzyme formula to vinegar to Dawn to anything else that has been suggested to us
- We've gotten every test imaginable done and all comes out good
- We've given them medications (some prescription) to calm their nerves
- We've done other things that I'm sure I've forgotten

One has been a problem child since 2002 and another since a bladder infection in the Spring of 2009. No matter what we did, they wouldn't stop, so for the past month, those two are now residing in the basement in a large sized dog pen (several feet x several feet).

When we moved those two downstairs, we moved our two outside kitties in (one is extra loving and the other is skiddish, but needed consistent medications for a period of time and just easier to catch when she was inside). We would still smell cat pee around the house. Not sure if it were just remaining from the two now in the basement, the two that have been established indoor cats, or if it was one of the newly brought in cats. We finally figured it had to of been one of the two newly inside cats and decided to put them back out once the skiddish one was done with her meds.

BUT...Woke up this morning to cat poop in my kitchen sink (GROSS!!). The only cat we have that gets on the counter isn't one that we ever suspected we had a problem with.

So now I just don't know what to do. Thought with putting those two in the basement would "fix" our years of problems, but they are just continuing. I'm ready to throw those two cats back outside and put the one who I'm sure poo'ed in my sink and the remaining one that I can only assume hasn't caused any trouble (but what do I know?) and throw them in the basement with the long-term problem children.

So my question......what do you do when you have cats that just won't stop and when you have more than one and you really aren't sure who is doing it...or even if it more than just one of them who is doing it...?


Asked by AllAboutKeeley at 6:17 PM on Dec. 7, 2010 in Pets

Level 33 (59,731 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • I have the same problem as I said beore. Well I was just researching cat behavior and I fund this site....
    I am trying the foil trick now and I moved the litter box away from my washer and dryer to a quieter place. So it's only a matter of time before I find out if it works or not.

    Answer by matthew9_22 at 11:32 AM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • I have the same problem! I have 2 cats...a mother and her daughter. The momma cat uses the litter box all the time but the daughter won't!! She will use the floor just BESIDE the litter box! It is driving me nuts! I have tried everything you have and still she refuses to use the litter box! Why is that?

    Answer by matthew9_22 at 6:24 PM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • Sounds like some unhappy cats for some reason. I think you have tried everything. They may not change there ways. The sink thing would do me in I think lol. If it was me.......I'd give them up before keeping them in a dog crate. That is no way for a animal to live regardless if they are doing bad stuff or not. I have two male brothers tht are 6 years old and Ive had them sense they were 6 weeks. I would be devistated if I had to give them up but I would before keeping them caged. Good luck!

    Answer by mistynights234 at 6:28 PM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • Some cats just refuse to use a litter box after another cat has used it. Keep your cats separate, so they have their own box. This doesn't have to be a permanent arrangement, just until you know for sure your cat is using the box again. Get new boxes, and fresh litter. Try changing the brand of litter too. Some cats are just plain picky. If nothing else, try sand. Good luck!

    Answer by BisketLiss at 6:29 PM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • Have you tried a comfort zone Plug in with feliway? That helps with cats who do this as well as other behavioral problems. It is supposed to help if they are stressed. Have you talked to the vet about trying them on prozan, Valium or one of the other drugs? If not you should. I had a cat on Prozac because at 15 she stopped using the box comepletely and the blood work and such said she was healthy. It made a HUGE differance. My sister had one of her cats on Valuim for some time after her oldest cat died. Beauty was the top cat in the house and when he died (yes I said he) Hobbs was very stressed because he no longer had a leader. He started spraying and peeing all over the place. The meds helped in both cases.

    Answer by KyliesMom5 at 9:57 PM on Dec. 7, 2010

  • this is what i do for dame cat here if pick up their poop instead in trash put in their litter box they need to smell thats where they go ,yes it sounds weird but it does work we even done it to our dogs and they both do out side now

    Answer by dutchcanadain at 12:39 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • I had the same problem. The ONLY thing that worked for me was one of the automatic litter boxes. I've read good/bad reviews on all of them, but I bought one of the original Littermaids and the problem ended. Amazingly (to me at least) ALL of my cats seemed to like it. I don't know if it would work for others, but for our home it was the best 'pet' thing I've ever paid money for.

    I did modify it though because those little litter containers that come with it would never have worked. We built a raised box with a rectangular hole under the part the container sat in ~ and fitted in a plain old kitchen size garbage bag. After some playing around I found a way to reuse the plastic grocery store bags (which gave me an endless supply of free litter disposal containers).

    I know how frustrating it is ... good luck!

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 5:22 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • The only thing I may be able to shed some light on is the pooping thing since my cat did that once. I was doing some remodeling in the bedroom and had the bedroom door shut and the bed had been moved temporarily to another room. There was a lot of banging and hammering going on with what we were doing. When we finally came out of the bedroom I found that my cat had pooped right in the middle of the bed! I asked around and someone said he was probably stressed because of the disruption and was worried the bed would disappear and was marking it so that he could find it if it disappeared. So since there has been so many changes going on in your house with outdoor cats coming inside, some indoor cats being crated, etc. my guess is the one that pooped in the sink was scared and stressed. Since he is the only one to get on the counter and had always been good that is my guess on that one. The other problem-sorry-no new ideas

    Answer by confused969 at 4:58 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • Techically, the rule for the litter box is, if you have 3 cats you need 4 litter boxes. I know it's crazy, but cats are spiteful. They also may not like the cat litter you are using.

    Answer by Conley639 at 11:04 AM on Dec. 9, 2010