Kitten going potty next to the litter box

frankiecatsle

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So we got a new kitten Friday, he's 9 weeks old. I knew going into the situation to not expect very much in terms of his behavior/health/fleas/etc tbh. He came from a friend of my sister's who had "too many cats" and anyway, long story short, he didn't come from the best conditions though I'm starting to think they were worse than I assumed. Kitten came with fleas, leaky eyes/sneezing, and he's only pottying near his litter box.

As for the leaky eyes - my vet said since it's clear liquid and he's running/eating/playing/etc normal that he'll be fine to wait until his check up on the 8th (unless things get worse obviously). But could this be to blame for his missing his box? Maybe he can't smell very well? As soon as he got here, we put him in his room, showed him his box. He peed next to it a few hours later. I caught him in the act so I picked him up and he finished in the box. Then later that night the same with a poop. Caught him in the act - moved him to the box where he finished it. Every time I place him in the box to finish, he gets out and scratches at the ground around the box in an attempt to cover his business. We don't scold him or anything, just pick him up and move him, he doesn't seem to mind. I know I've missed some pees because we aren't in there with him 24/7 but there's never any new spots where he went in the box without us putting him there.

But.

I went in there earlier to clean around the box, spray an enzyme cleaner on the carper around, etc and in just the few minutes while the box was moved little man decided to go pee in a new spot...nowhere near the box. I figured maybe this was just bad timing, he had to go while I was cleaning (ugh!) but since then he went #2 and again, nowhere near the box, completely on the other side of the room. Any tips? The person I got him from warned me that "sometimes he misses the box" but after talking to my sister, we realized they told us two different things. They told my sister that he "has a corner" at her house where he liked to go. So...that's that.
 

Jem

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One thing I can think of is to have several different boxes with different types of litter (corn or grass based, pellets, shredded news paper, etc...always NON-clumping for kittens) and even some pee pads and see what he likes. Once you have that information then you can hopefully transition him to only one or 2 boxes (some cats don't like to poop and pee in the same area/box)
Another thing you can do is when he poops on the floor, pick up the poop and place it in the litter box, he may be inclined to cover it, which would give him the cue that that is where he goes.
Is the room fully carpeted, or do you just have an area rug? If it's just rugs, take them all out. If he's been peeing on carpet since he's been born, that might just be what he likes and is used to using. Perhaps it would be best to find an non-carpeted room to keep him in, like your bathroom, while you try to get him to use a litter box.
If the area if fully carpeted, perhaps find a way to cover the carpet (as best/if you can) and then place a scrap piece of carpet in a litter box...then if he uses the box with carpet in it, slowly, little by little add litter to the carpet box and eventually he may get used to and like litter instead of carpet.
 
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frankiecatsle

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Thanks for the replies! I honestly had no idea to always use non-clumping with a kitten. Eventually, once he's healthy and we're at that point, he'll be introduced to the two resident cats and I just figured it'd be easier to start with the same litter they use just to make it easier for everyone involved down the road. Definitely will try something that doesn't clump.

Unfortunately, the room we have him in is completely carpeted and I think it's probably the best room to keep him in. We only have one bathroom and we're in and out of it constantly and this little man is already darting for doors to explore. He's definitely not shy and if he's feeling unwell, you can't really tell so that's the good news.

It's just so strange because the few times we've caught him in the act...he goes right next to the box like he somehow recognizes that's where he should go but he just decides doing it on the floor is easier than getting in the box. It's a low box, no cover, etc. We'll definitely try some other litters, I asked the previous owner what they used and just got "whatever is on sale" so that wasn't much help. I'm thinking a pee pad actually might work well because like I said, it really does seem like he was recognizing the correct "spot" (well until I cleaned around while he had to go) but simply doesn't want to get in the box! Is there a way to transition a cat from a pee pad to a box eventually though? If he were to start using them I'd like to remove them eventually.
 

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Is there a way to transition a cat from a pee pad to a box eventually though? If he were to start using them I'd like to remove them eventually.
If he uses the pee pad, then you can transition that to inside a cardboard box lid or a low sided litter box, and see if he uses it. The next step after that habit has been established, is as Jem Jem suggested - add it tiny bit of litter on top of it and over time gradually add more and more, eventually removing the pee pads altogether.

EDIT: Btw, keep his eye wiped clean even it is only clear seepage. It is just a good idea to clear away the drainage.
 
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Jem

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If he likes pee pads, and starts to use them consistently. I would put the pee pad on a storage tote lid, then in a higher sided lid/or low box, then start to slowly sprinkle litter on top of the pad in the box...adding a bit more every few days. Not too fast of a transition though, it has to be done slowly. And hopefully, eventually, he will use litter.

Edit: Looks like we posted at the same time again! FeebysOwner FeebysOwner
 
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frankiecatsle

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Well, update.

After trying a few different things with no success, we decided to move him into the bathroom (tiled room) early yesterday. Good news - he's had great success and is using the box 100% of the time now that he has no carpet.

Bad news? I feel guilty putting him in there. He seems to hate it in there, cries at the door and he's now started a new habit of sleeping in his litter box so long as there's no poop in there yet. He has a soft bed in there but after the first night, now anytime I go in there he's in his litter box. The bathroom isn't giant by any means but it has plenty of room for him to lay somewhere else, including the bed. Any ideas why? I'm worried he's either going to stop using it as a potty place since it's now his new bed or he's gonna stink. I keep it scooped as much as I can but I'm worried about overnight tonight.

We take him out during the day for some play times where he can get really crazy and have lots of interaction but I still feel like the bathroom is just depressing him and there isn't enough stimulation. I've been switching out the toys every few hours but he's always just laying in his box. He's also constantly purring when he's in there which makes me think he's upset and self-soothing. When I take him out of the bathroom for some playtime with us he seems 100% fine though so I don't really think it's health related, his eyes are also getting a lot better, etc.

How long should we keep the bathroom isolation up? He goes for his first vet check up on Saturday so I'll talk to them about it as well.
 

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Have you seen him go in the box on his own? I'm wondering if he's having a hard time getting in the box maybe??
 
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frankiecatsle

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Have you seen him go in the box on his own? I'm wondering if he's having a hard time getting in the box maybe??
Now that we've moved him into the bathroom and away from carpet access he's using the litter box just fine on his own...but he's also now using it as his bed. Actually, whenever we go in there, he's in the litter box. I'm worried that he's now depressed about being in the bathroom vs the first room we had him in. I do take him out on and off throughout the day for heavy play sessions and he seems fine during those times but once he's isolated in the bathroom it's like he doesn't want to leave his litter box now.
 

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Does he have a hidey box with a blanket? Many cats like the enclosed feeling, that might be why he's in the litterbox.
 

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Now that we've moved him into the bathroom and away from carpet access he's using the litter box just fine on his own...but he's also now using it as his bed. Actually, whenever we go in there, he's in the litter box. I'm worried that he's now depressed about being in the bathroom vs the first room we had him in. I do take him out on and off throughout the day for heavy play sessions and he seems fine during those times but once he's isolated in the bathroom it's like he doesn't want to leave his litter box now.
I don't know if that's a depression thing. If I let Mia use the open litter box, she does the same thing -- though for she never does it in the others. It could be that he's just feeling comfortable in there because it smells like him?
 

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I know that some cats will lay in their boxes because it smells like them and makes them feel secure.
Perhaps stop switching out toys and whatever else you may switch out in the bathroom so that he can really get his scent on his things.
Maybe give him a stuffed animal, he may like to cuddle with it.
If it's possible put another bed option in a different location, maybe he doesn't like where the current bed is.
And I think it's time to try some confidence building techniques.
- make sure you have a routine for him, and don't stray from it...feeding times, play times, etc...
- try to encourage the "hunt, catch, eat" instincts he has. Hunt = play with him with a toy that you get him to chase like a wand toy. Catch = when he seems to be loosing steam, let him catch it. Eat = feed him his meal or a snack.

When his confidence is higher, he will hopefully start to feel like he doesn't need to surround himself with his scent so much and stop laying in the litter box.

There was actually an episode of "My Cat from Hell" where a kitty was laying her litter box, if you can find it for all the things that Jackson Galaxy suggested...
 
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