Converting an old feral


TCS Member
I have a 14+ year old feral cat that has always lived outside except for the times that I've tried to acclimate her to the inside. She has always refused to use a litter box. Now that she is so much older, I'd like to try again, but wonder if you have any ideas outside of the ones that I've tried with her in the past. Outside, she uses either the grass, the garden mulch, or the pile of sand (that the previous owner left). When I've tried to convert her to inside in the past, I've tried the following:

- Feliway to calm her
- Various materials in the litter box: clay, clumping, cat attract, dirt, dirt with mulch on top, dirt mixed with sand, all sand
- Putting her in a tiny room where she didn't have much option but to use a litter box
- Putting her in other sized rooms (some small, some large) to give her more space (in case the small room stressed her)
- Keeping her with her friends that go in and out
- open top and closed top litter boxes
- huge storage container litter box
- different wall heights of litter boxes

In spite of trying all of the above, she has never once used a litter box. Outside, she has various shelters, a heated bed and water bowl in the winter, and everything that she physically needs, yet her age bothers me and I would really love to see her live her golden years in a much more comfortable environment. She has mellowed with age and no longer acts feral to me. She has spent enough time on the other side of the screen door that my indoor cats accept her completely and vica versa. There shouldn't be other cat stress for her.

Any other ideas? If I can't get her into a box, I will not win the argument with my husband to bring her inside.



TCS Member
I just want to add this. I will understand if your advice is to let things continue as they have been. I know there are no easy answers to this question.


TCS Member
It's really hard to say what will work since she is 14 years old, though I have been able to work with elders and change their litter box habits.
Cats don't like change, so the different litter boxes and litters would need to be done gradually. I also would hate to confine her to one room if she doesn't want to be confined.
This is definitely a case that can't really be helped by an e-mail thread. A consulation would be needed.
Marilyn Krieger, CCBC