Litter box help needed for sick special needs kitten

Hm93

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Sorry this post is a bit long
Summary - I'm looking for litter box advice for a deaf, cerebellar hyperplasia kitten who also has seizures who refuses to use her litter box since coming home from the vet.

7 weeks ago I rescued this little kitten from the street who is around 13 weeks old now but the size of a 6 week old. She is recovering from panleukopenia and I've been taking care of her at home and as you can see from the photos she's finally putting on weight and getting a little better (from 415g to 750g in 3 weeks) Because of panleukopenia she has cerebellar hyperplasia aka wobbly cat syndrome which causes her to have a shaky head, balance problems and a wobbly gait but generally it's fairly mild and doesn't affect her too much. She is also deaf. She has also developed seizures. She was having between 10-15 full body seizures per day but since starting anticonvulsant medication she is down to 1-2 full body seizures and a few facial seizures. When I first took her home, with her sister who sadly didn't make it, they both took to the litter box with no problems. She then spent a month in the vets ICU with no litter box. On the first night she came home she used the litter box but since then she just goes everywhere apart from the box. She pees in her bed, near her food, and she walks through it and sits in it. She's confined to a spare room but unfortunately I've had to buy a large dog crate to keep her contained. I do spend lots of time with her and let her out of the room everyday but when I do she just pees and poops on the rugs etc. I have 3 litter boxes in the room. 1 with standard clay litter, 1 with wood pellets and 1 with puppy pads. I've tried putting her in several times per day and using her paws to dig and using my own hands to dig but nothing seems to be working. I really don't know what to do. She can't stay confined to a room for the rest of her life but i can't have her peeing and pooping all over my house. I dont know if its because she is still unwell, or if it's a bad habit from not having a litter box at the vet. Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Welcome to TCS. You picked the right forum for help with this situation. What is your kitty's name?

I looked up panleukopenia to find out how a common virus can make cats epileptic, wobbly, and deaf. The answer is their mother was infected during her pregnancy. They were born sick. Apparently your survivor is so small because the virus went into her bone marrow. She is very lucky to still be alive.

Can you put her puppy pads on the floor to see if getting in and out is an issue? Maybe she wants to use it alone.

Not all cats bury their poop. Unless you can't tolerate the odor, accept the fact she is not going to act like a normal cat.
 
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Hm93

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Thank you so much for responding. Her name is Lilly. Yes panleukopenia is a terrible virus that seems to be very common in the street cats here in Turkey, and unfortunately Lilly seems to be very severely damaged by it.
Yes I've put the puppy pads on the floor near her litter boxes and all around the rooms but she keeps peeing and pooping anywhere - sometimes on the puppy pads, the wooden floors, her bed, our furniture etc. anywhere except the litter boxes.
It's not the odour that bothers me because it's easily cleaned. Its the fact that she goes to the toilet anywhere all around the house. We let her sleep in our bed once and she peed there too. I just want to let her freely live in our home like our other cat but I just can't have her going to the toilet all over the house. Even if she was to stick to 1 area it would be fine. I just want her to have a good life but I don't feel like she is as she is confined to one room and constantly covered in her own pee from lying in it 😔
 

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Hi. Thank you for rescuing this kitten. I think, provided the cage is big enough and she can’t get her head stuck through the bars, it is best to keep her in it until she is re-acclimated to the box.

things to try:
Make sure on of the sides to the box is cut low so entry isn’t a problem.
Try different types of litter. I would try a soft fine sand.
Try different depths of the litter as well. Anything from 1/4 inch to 4 inches.
Buy some cat attract additive to add to the litter.
Use unscented litter.
No covers.

You’ll have to play around with different things to see what she prefers.

Good luck.
 
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Hm93

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Thankfully no she is not incontinent other than when she is having a seizure
 
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Hm93

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Hi. Thank you for rescuing this kitten. I think, provided the cage is big enough and she can’t get her head stuck through the bars, it is best to keep her in it until she is re-acclimated to the box.

things to try:
Make sure on of the sides to the box is cut low so entry isn’t a problem.
Try different types of litter. I would try a soft fine sand.
Try different depths of the litter as well. Anything from 1/4 inch to 4 inches.
Buy some cat attract additive to add to the litter.
Use unscented litter.
No covers.

You’ll have to play around with different things to see what she prefers.

Good luck.
Thank you so much for responding.
The cage is a decent size it's meant for a large dog, and the bars are narrowly spaced so she can't get her head stuck. I also take her out for several play sessions so she's not stuck in there all day.

I'm currently using the lids of cardboard shoe boxes as she was finding the regular plastic litter box very slippery because of her balance issues. I will definitely order some fine soft sand to try. I did have fine clumping clay litter but had to remove it as during one of her seizures she got some in her mouth, luckily I was able to remove it before she swallowed it. Yes I definitely don't use any scented litter or any covers.
I will also play around with the depths of Litter, thank you so much for the suggestions 😊
 

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I'm currently using the lids of cardboard shoe boxes as she was finding the regular plastic litter box very slippery because of her balance issues. I will definitely order some fine soft sand to try. I did have fine clumping clay litter but had to remove it as during one of her seizures she got some in her mouth, luckily I was able to remove it before she swallowed it.
Maybe Lily avoids litterboxes because she had a seizure in one of them.
 

di and bob

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Confining her to a small space until she consistently uses a litter box seems to work best, then go to a small room when she masters that. I would use clay or sand-based litter, cats seem to like that best, graduate to cardboard flats that any store will give you, to give her more room, and leave a little of her droppings or dirty litter in the new so she can smell it and be attracted to the area. I think she just needs a little more time to adjust, cats like to go in things they can scratch, she just needs to learn where, and I think she eventually will. Bless you for helping her, you are a good person......
 
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Hm93

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Maybe Lily avoids litterboxes because she had a seizure in one of them.
That is a great point! I didn't even consider that. Maybe I should come up with a creative idea so that her litter box won't look or feel anything like her old ones, and then maybe she'll have a positive association with it
 
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Hm93

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Confining her to a small space until she consistently uses a litter box seems to work best, then go to a small room when she masters that. I would use clay or sand-based litter, cats seem to like that best, graduate to cardboard flats that any store will give you, to give her more room, and leave a little of her droppings or dirty litter in the new so she can smell it and be attracted to the area. I think she just needs a little more time to adjust, cats like to go in things they can scratch, she just needs to learn where, and I think she eventually will. Bless you for helping her, you are a good person......
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. I was feeling like such a terrible person for keeping her in a cage but you all have reassured me that maybe it's the best way. A short term sacrifice for hopefully a lifetime of happiness.
I will definitely order some finer grained litter as maybe the ones im using are too coarse for her. And great tip about the cardboard flats, I will definitely look into that too. Thank you so much! It's my dream one day to volunteer as a cat rescuer and help lots of cats and kittens. And having Lilly has inspired me to help cats with special needs in the future too.
 

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That is a great point! I didn't even consider that. Maybe I should come up with a creative idea so that her litter box won't look or feel anything like her old ones, and then maybe she'll have a positive association with it
You need to associate the litterbox with a positive experience. If Lily can step in by herself, reward her for doing it. (Some litterboxes are designed for cats and kittens with mobility issues.) But she must need to use it then or will not get the right message.
 
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Hm93

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You need to associate the litterbox with a positive experience. If Lily can step in by herself, reward her for doing it. (Some litterboxes are designed for cats and kittens with mobility issues.) But she must need to use it then or will not get the right message.
Yes absolutely! I have treats at the ready as soon as she steps into it 😁
 
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