Is it possible to litter-train an adult stray cat? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 12-24-2007, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am back with another cat question.


This one concerns our female adopted stray cat that we've lived with for about 3 years, now. She appeared to have been abandoned around the time she found us because she was very healthy and social. We adopted each other, had her spayed and have fed her and cuddled with her ever since.

She is very much an outdoor cat. It appears that she was kept that way for much if not all of her life prior to finding us. In the past couple of years, we've invited her inside more and more as we've all come to bond.

We noticed very quickly that she was not litter trained . . . yuckity yuck. We tried litter training her by putting her and her food in our storage room (quite large) with a litter box (on the other side of the room from the food). Unfortunately, she managed to decide to use boxes of fabric, etc. as her litter box instead of the kitty litter.

Fast-foward to the present. She has never quite gotten the hang of the litter box. We live in Southern Arizona so it's warm or hot most of the time and she spends her time about half and half, indoors & out.

Trouble is, we're finding stinky pee surprises in our clothes drawers, blankets, etc.

Is there any other technique to litter training her? We'd really like to have her indoors more often and are getting ready to adopt two baby kitties that we'll be litter training and keeping indoors much of the time, as well. I'd love to be egalitarian if possible.

Hints?
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#2 of 8 Old 12-24-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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We actually crate trained our feral kitty. We took a dog crate, put a big litterbox in it, and gave him some space to lay down, and fed him and watered him for 2 months in the crate. He actually only went outside the litterbox twice. Poor guy must have gone right after we left for work and was lying in the litterbox yowling at us to come clean it up when we got home.

After that? He learned really quickly and hasn't had a problem since. Crate training saved us. Don't give her anything soft in the crate for at least a week of perfect litterbox usage. But after a week of litterbox perfection, you can give her a bed, then after 2 weeks of perfection with that, you can let her out in a bigger area (bathroom sized or something) and then after a week of perfection with that, you can start to expand her run of the house.

She'll be spitting mad, but she'll get the hang of it. Our little Bo is PERFECT now, and even cleans up the litter on the floor by throwing it back into the box.

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#3 of 8 Old 12-24-2007, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That sounds effective and I've thought of it before, too, if only because I've had many dogs in my past and still own a large crate from that time.

Did you keep the cat in the crate the whole time or only during his/her inside-the-house time? Was yours a kitten or an adult when you did this? I can imagine our cat would be thoroughly against this idea if implemented because she's been a free-roaming outdoor girl for so many years.



On a side note, everyone ~ does anyone know if cat pee is sterile like human pee? It's really squicking me out to think of the clothes we wore that had been peed on before we realized what was up.
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#4 of 8 Old 12-24-2007, 01:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by May May View Post
That sounds effective and I've thought of it before, too, if only because I've had many dogs in my past and still own a large crate from that time.

Did you keep the cat in the crate the whole time or only during his/her inside-the-house time? Was yours a kitten or an adult when you did this? I can imagine our cat would be thoroughly against this idea if implemented because she's been a free-roaming outdoor girl for so many years.



On a side note, everyone ~ does anyone know if cat pee is sterile like human pee? It's really squicking me out to think of the clothes we wore that had been peed on before we realized what was up.
Ours was a kitten (6mos or so), but he was NOT happy at being left in the crate, just like yours will be. We kept him in it because we didn't want to get rid of him or be treating him like the plague. He was in it all day and all night, except when we were playing with him directly (the rule was his feet can't touch the ground except in the crate). He meowed himself hoarse (poor guy) the first couple of days, but then he found the toys we gave him and starting playing. Also, the other kitties came over and slept by the cage with him. It also helped get him used to having the door open and not dashing outside. He became much much calmer after crate training and now he roams freely. Just remember when you feel badly that it's because you're making sure your furbaby is safe and able to be lived with. It's not permanent, just until you're sure she's got the hang of the litterbox thing.

I think cat pee is sterile, too. I sure hope so!

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#5 of 8 Old 12-24-2007, 02:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
We actually crate trained our feral kitty. We took a dog crate, put a big litterbox in it, and gave him some space to lay down, and fed him and watered him for 2 months in the crate. He actually only went outside the litterbox twice. Poor guy must have gone right after we left for work and was lying in the litterbox yowling at us to come clean it up when we got home.
Yep, that's what I do. Cats by nature want to burry their messes, so keeping them in close quarters and supply the stuff (litter) you want them to burry it in is very effective. I have recently litter trained 4 feral cats, one being an adult male. They all got caged/crated with litter boxes, and after about a week I let them out and they continued to use the boxes. Very easy.

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#6 of 8 Old 12-24-2007, 02:47 PM
 
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I've rescued approx 10 adult kitties (strays off the street) & never had a problem.
In fact, I just keep plopping them in the litter box sever times & they just "get it" - We also somewhat confined them to a bathroom w/ litter box, food/water or 1 of the dogs' huge crates w/ all the above t help with the transition & give them a save place to chill for a while.

I have /had 3 adult strays - 1 was feral - & had not a problem. Turned them all into indoor-only cats.
We lost our feral calico girl a year ago from a bladder tumor . I had Nikki 7 yrs)

we saved 2 kittens(now adults) chucked out @ a park & freeway who could not have been taught by Mama to use the dirt as a litter box & they did just fine.

If there is a prob, change litter types (pine, paper, etc) or get them
to a Vet to check for a med condition

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#7 of 8 Old 12-24-2007, 05:35 PM
 
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You can housetrain cats! I have 3 cats and no litterbox. it helps a lot to have a cat door. i'm not sure how you would housetrain a cat that was not ever litter trained though.

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#8 of 8 Old 12-25-2007, 02:45 AM
 
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What does she use outside? Is it sandy in Arizona?
I agree with the large dog crate idea. She should quickly learn to use the box.

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