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Litter box issue with stray cat!

Catlover579

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Hi I am hoping you would be able to offer me some suggestions. I have brought in a a stray cat that I'v been taking care of almost 1 year. I named her Jazzy. I know she is not feral , she is very sweet just scared. I have set up a cat enclosure in my basement, like an outdoor catio type thing. Since I have a current cat and do not have a spare room to keep Jazzy in. The basement is already not the best thing because that's Jonah's favorite place to hang out and his litter box is there. So right now the basement is off limits for Jonah and he doesn't understand why and it's all so stressful for everyone. But I really wanted to bring her inside before Winter. It's already cold here in Michigan. And this is the only way I can do it.
Anyways, I brought her inside yesterday morning and she is in the catio in the basement. She seems to be doing pretty well so far besides using the litter box.
I set up 2 litter boxes because I read it's best to do that with outdoor cats and I filled it with Dr Elseys kitten attract litter. I really thought it would work , I'v used that in the past with my cat that litter box issues and it worked like a miracle. Well she has already peed on a brand new cat tree I set up in there. I keep trying to dig around in it and show her but I don't think she gets it. I tried putting soil and leaves in the litter box. I am so stressed out and worried she won't use the litter box and will pee and poop everywhere. She is in a small area and if she pees and poops everywhere I don't even know how to clean it . And she was all stressed out meowing in the morning like crazy to go out because she needed to go to the bathroom. Does anyone know what I should do? I can't pick her up and put her in it.. I'm able to pet her but not handle her yet. I threw a toy in there to get her to explore it though. I need to figure this out asap! I don't want to let Jonah down there until she's comfortable using the litter box because he might make her more nervous . So it's already super stressful not letting him in his favorite place and had to move his litter box in my room .
 

nurseangel

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Oh goodness. IMHO, it is probably her stress combined with her being used to outside being the place to "go". I am hoping that one of our other members who has experienced a similar problem will have some suggestions. Mine have always taken to the litter box right away, and I can see your problem but don't know how to fix it. Bless you for taking Jazzy in and I hope the situation improves soon.
 

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Can you sop up some the the pee on the cat tree with a paper towel and put the paper towel in the litter box ?
If it's dry maybe even the smell from rubbing the paper towel in it might still be enough...
 
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Catlover579

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Can you sop up some the the pee on the cat tree with a paper towel and put the paper towel in the litter box ?
If it's dry maybe even the smell from rubbing the paper towel in it might still be enough...
That's a great idea! I already cleaned it up but if she pees again outside then I will definitely try that.
 
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Catlover579

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Do you have any clue what she was using outside as a potty? Maybe not soil or leaves, but mulch perhaps?
Not really sure but perhaps mulch.. I can try that. Should I fill it up with all mulch only ? She still has not pooped since I brought her in and hasn't peed again but I got puppy pads down in case . I feel bad because she's holding it in probably and doesn't know what to do.
 

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Since you already have soil and leaves in a litter box, try adding some mulch? Sounds strange, I know, but if she was the only cat hanging around outside, you could always go around your yard smelling for cat pee or looking for cat poop and bring in some of whatever you find? That would work best if you didn't have other cats going outside though.

Edit: If you have space, you might want to try something besides a traditional litter box too - perhaps a large cardboard box lid. Might better mimic outdoors if doesn't smell like plastic or isn't as high sided??
 
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Catlover579

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Since you already have soil and leaves in a litter box, try adding some mulch? Sounds strange, I know, but if she was the only cat hanging around outside, you could always go around your yard smelling for cat pee or looking for cat poop and bring in some of whatever you find? That would work best if you didn't have other cats going outside though.

Edit: If you have space, you might want to try something besides a traditional litter box too - perhaps a large cardboard box lid. Might better mimic outdoors if doesn't smell like plastic or isn't as high sided??
I was thinking of taking my cats pee clump and put it in there but wouldn't that make her not want to go there since it's another cats?
 

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I was thinking of taking my cats pee clump and put it in there but wouldn't that make her not want to go there since it's another cats?
That could go either way - make her want to mark the territory as hers, or frighten her because she is trapped in an unfamiliar place and can smell another cat's scent in that litter box. I wish I could advise on that one.
 
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Catlover579

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That could go either way - make her want to mark the territory as hers, or frighten her because she is trapped in an unfamiliar place and can smell another cat's scent in that litter box. I wish I could advise on that one.
Yeah I don't think I want to do that. I am going to home Depot now to get some mulch and try that out . I really hope it works. She still has not gone and I feel horrible. Besides that she is doing pretty good for her second day. Is eating , playing a bit and lets me pet her and even purring.
 

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If you don't have mulch in your yard or no one does around you - it probably won't help. Can you try to make the area where the litter box is more 'private'? I've heard that might help.
 
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Catlover579

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If you don't have mulch in your yard or no one does around you - it probably won't help. Can you try to make the area where the litter box is more 'private'? I've heard that might help.
So getting new mulch won't work?? Oh gosh I don't want to put used soil /mulch from outside and bring bugs inside.
 

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Maybe you are overthinking this thing with the litter box. I do think she will go when she really has to, especially since it sounds like she is settling down a bit. Just, as I said, try to make the litter area a bit more private, and certainly keep it away from her food/water. She is drinking and eating, yes??

If you truly don't want to use soil/leaves/mulch from the outside, then perhaps you can try some cat attract products for the litter. Most pet stores sell them. I have heard many members have success with this approach.
 

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She probably marked the cat tree as hers since she is in the room that Jonah used before her. Hopefully she won’t need to continue that. Anything she pees or poops on should go straight into the litter box to give her the idea. Even though you cleaned the cat tree you can rub some of that scent off on a paper towel to put in the box. Sometimes cats like shredded paper towels , toilet paper or newspaper. Try that. I saw you were worried about bugs in the mulch but unless you bring in a ton of it there is minimal risk of many bugs. If you know where she went potty outside, this is a huge benefit. Anything from that spot can help. She is nervous right now but she has to go at some point. As mentioned before, a hidden spot could also help. I have previously brought in pine straw, sand, soil, leaves, grass and even some small twigs and branches to make kitties feel more at home until they understood where to go. Something that looks and smells familiar to her. She just came into a huge and strange new world. A little time should really help. It sounds like you have a fantastic relationship with her. Thank you so much for bringing her in! When you mentioned her name it really hit home with me. I rescued an older girl I named Jazzy. She was mother to most of the kitties I rescued for awhile and she was very wily. I was so relieved to gain her trust and finally get to pet her. Is this kitty spayed? That helps everything! Very important. My Jazzy got spayed too. She was the most wonderful kitty! Love, love, love the name and the fact that you just saved her life. :redheartpump::clap2:
 

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if mulch doesn't work=try play sand- also can you somehow contain her in a smaller area with the litter box? Like get some huge cardboard boxes from home depot=the refrigerator boxes-tape them up=and make it a smaller area for her to keep the box closer to her.

You can try laying puppy pads on the floor for now in this area- in my house I use cardboard under the catbox and stick it out 2 feet out on both sides incase they dribble and it won't hurt the floor...

They also make yesterday's newspaper cat litter- incase the sand doesn't work. The sand comes in sealed bags so no bugs.
 
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Catlover579

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Thank you everyone for the advice. Early this morning I filled both litter boxes with only a mixture of soil and mulch. And she peed and pooped! Yay lol. It's definitely alot more work and mess this way though so I sure hope she will adjust to using actual litter soon. I'm planning on adding a little litter to the mulch so she gets used to it. How long should I wait to let Jonah down there? He misses the basement :frown: its his favorite place to hang out and the past 2 days he has not been allowed down there. Jazzy is locked in the enclosure catio thing but I'm worried Jonah will freak her out . He might try to crawl on the wire panel ..
 
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Catlover579

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She probably marked the cat tree as hers since she is in the room that Jonah used before her. Hopefully she won’t need to continue that. Anything she pees or poops on should go straight into the litter box to give her the idea. Even though you cleaned the cat tree you can rub some of that scent off on a paper towel to put in the box. Sometimes cats like shredded paper towels , toilet paper or newspaper. Try that. I saw you were worried about bugs in the mulch but unless you bring in a ton of it there is minimal risk of many bugs. If you know where she went potty outside, this is a huge benefit. Anything from that spot can help. She is nervous right now but she has to go at some point. As mentioned before, a hidden spot could also help. I have previously brought in pine straw, sand, soil, leaves, grass and even some small twigs and branches to make kitties feel more at home until they understood where to go. Something that looks and smells familiar to her. She just came into a huge and strange new world. A little time should really help. It sounds like you have a fantastic relationship with her. Thank you so much for bringing her in! When you mentioned her name it really hit home with me. I rescued an older girl I named Jazzy. She was mother to most of the kitties I rescued for awhile and she was very wily. I was so relieved to gain her trust and finally get to pet her. Is this kitty spayed? That helps everything! Very important. My Jazzy got spayed too. She was the most wonderful kitty! Love, love, love the name and the fact that you just saved her life. :redheartpump::clap2:
Thank you! Aww that's cute. She is not spayed yet, her appointment is on the 24th. I am praying she does not go in heat before that.
 

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I would definitely get her spayed and healed before the introduction to Jonah. You also want her cleared by the vet for this.
You can start the introductions by scent swapping now. You can either use things each cat sleeps on to swap so the each cat can get the scent of the other or use a sock on your hand to pet each cat. A brush would work to. Sharing scent and leaving things that smell like each cat with the other lets them understand another cat is around and adjust a little to accepting them. Introductions should be gradual. You will need to take it at the pace the cats are comfortable with. There are many here who can help guide you through the process. Jonah may miss his room be he will be okay. Sometimes adjustments are necessary for many reasons during their lifetime. Showing him that an adjustment is an okay thing is a good idea anyway. He’ll be less nervous and more flexible should you ever need it.
Bravo on working through the litter box issue! Yay! I was so happy to read that! I’m sure she will learn to accept the litter in time. All the new stuff just had her confused.
Bravo!!!!!!’:clap:
 
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