Outdoor to Indoor litter box ideas

lindara

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
8
Purraise
6
Hi-
I have an approx 7 year old stray(TNR) that adopted me and I am about to transition her to indoor only and try to teach her to use a litter box is the first big step!

I purchased Dr E's attract litter- should I start with just using this or instead use outside sources such as dirt, mulch and grass instead since that is where she goes? Should I start with 2 boxes- one of each? She has come in the house for part time hours at a time for past 5 years but will not use a box(although had only pellet type litter in it) She peed only once inside ever on a shag style area carpet when was kept for a very long time once due to weather. I just want to start this out right if possible and not make a huge mistake. I know there will be alot of crying to go out but I am determined. As she has had the run of the house when she has been in for this many years does it make sense to isolate her in just 1 room to train her bc I feel this will make her more anxious and stressed possibly?

Thoughts and advice PLEASE! Appreciate in advance!
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
13,840
Purraise
18,448
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
Hi. I have a question for you - how does she tell you that she wants to go outside to go potty? Does she go to a specific door? If yes, then you might try setting up both types of litter boxes you suggested in that location and see if she will use either of them. I see what you are saying about her being used to your entire home, so if she would use either of the litter boxes, it might not be necessary to confine her to a single room.

Be prepared for a long haul on this one, given her age and all the time she has been able to come and go. See if this TCS article might have some tips for you (there are also additional articles embedded in this one that could help as well).
The Five Golden Rules To Bringing An Outdoor Cat Inside – TheCatSite Articles
 

beckbjj

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Messages
238
Purraise
104
Location
SE Wisconsin
All three of the ferals I've taken in used the litterbox right away with no issues whatsoever. Two were too young for scoopable litter and had pellets, but the third is a three year old tomcat and he took to the scoopable right away. I don't think mine are especially smart:flail:or anything like that, I suspect it's because they were confined with nowhere else to go. Cat Attract is great stuff so excellent choice there. I know your kitty has been in and out and is tame already, but maybe consider confining her to a large crate (which is what I started with) or a small room like a bathroom (without rugs!) for a while, until she's good about using the box?

Best of luck, and thank you for saving this kitty!
 

shadowsrescue

Advisor
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Messages
6,664
Purraise
4,079
Location
Ohio
All the feral/strays I have brought in throughout the years have all taken to the litter box quite easily. I always started with Litter Attract and used it straight. Two litter boxes are a must. If she would pee/poop outside the litter box just sop up the pee with a paper towel and bury a small section of it in the litter. Same with the poop. Cats are attracted to their own scent.
 

JenAh

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Messages
8
Purraise
4
Hi-
I have an approx 7 year old stray(TNR) that adopted me and I am about to transition her to indoor only and try to teach her to use a litter box is the first big step!

I purchased Dr E's attract litter- should I start with just using this or instead use outside sources such as dirt, mulch and grass instead since that is where she goes? Should I start with 2 boxes- one of each? She has come in the house for part time hours at a time for past 5 years but will not use a box(although had only pellet type litter in it) She peed only once inside ever on a shag style area carpet when was kept for a very long time once due to weather. I just want to start this out right if possible and not make a huge mistake. I know there will be alot of crying to go out but I am determined. As she has had the run of the house when she has been in for this many years does it make sense to isolate her in just 1 room to train her bc I feel this will make her more anxious and stressed possibly?

Thoughts and advice PLEASE! Appreciate in advance!
Not sure if it’s helpful but our indoor cats have their litter outside.. the cat door leads to a wooden tunnel for them to get under the veranda to their covered kitty litter trays.
 

Attachments

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

lindara

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
8
Purraise
6
Thanks for all the advice! I have had the pellet box near the exit of my house already and tried putting her in it many times with no luck and she has no interest in it but has never been forced to stay so long that it becomes urgent. This is where I'm not sure if a smaller area would help with that. After a great while inside, her way to "tell" me whenever she wants to leave is to swat me gently :) and run towards door.

To complicate all this, I may be moving in less than a year- should I start this now or just try it all when I move which would be another stressor for her but maybe transition all at once and then could do in a certain room instead of free range in whole house since it would all be new to her anyways. I am indeed worried about long term her being miserable indoor bc she loves her little corner of the world outside where she is now. If I knew someone to continue caring for her here I would leave her but I don't trust that.

What stimulations are best for her indoors as she does not seem to play with toys too much but does like the catnip type ones! A cat perch I think would be a must for her.

Nervous about all this....
 

shadowsrescue

Advisor
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Messages
6,664
Purraise
4,079
Location
Ohio
I moved 3 years ago and brought 3 feral cats who had lived outside for over 7 years on my deck. None had ever lived inside a house. I moved them into my house 2 months before I moved. I gave them a cleaned out bedroom with some of their favorite outside furniture. They adjusted to the litter box very quickly. It took 2 of them a few days to calm down inside the house. The transition took awhile, but it was so very worth it. I no longer have to worry about cars, people, coyotes, raccoons, etc... All the dangers of the outside world.

I would move her in as soon as you can. You just have to be very firm and no matter how much she cries and yowls, you cannot let her out. Has she had any vet care and is she spayed? You might want to be sure she is wormed and free of fleas and other parasites before having her live inside full time.

Sometimes it is easiest to move them into a room of their own first. This is their safe place for awhile. This place can be used when visitors come ( if she is frightened) or if doors will be open and you don't want her to get out. The room should have lots of places for her to be comfortable. A cat tree or perch is a great addition. You can even hand a bird feeder out a window for some entertainment. Yet watch for using a room with a bed. Most cats will run under the bed to hide and it's nearly impossible to get them out. If you need to use a bedroom, put the bed flat on the floor or pick it up. Also block behind and under any other large furniture.

My 3 feral boys still love their safe room.

Just remember this is a process and takes time and patience. You may be swayed to open the door when you hear her mournful cries. Do you best to distract her with a toy or a delicious treat.
 

vince

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Messages
1,090
Purraise
1,714
Location
metro Detroit
She might not associate the litter box with the approved place to go. Perhaps you should try with dirt and put a bit of her scat in the box so she'll recognize what the box is there for. You can gradually transition to the litter she likes over a period of time.

Try cheap toys. A piece of paper on a string, tied to the doorknob or used as a fishing pole toy, or a ping pong ball in the bathtub is a good start. Crinkly balls are not much more than a dollar and cats seem to like those. You can make her a kicker toy out of old sweat socks (the dirtier the better). Of course, the catnip toy is fine too. She could use some vertical space. Does she have a cat tree? Those often come with dangling toys on a string and a scratching post. More bang for your buck!
 

terricacatwood

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jul 15, 2021
Messages
10
Purraise
17
Hello,

This is my first post here. I too am in a similar situation to you, which made me think maybe your cat didn't realize the pellets that you put out for her previously were litter? It sounds like you could start out with clay litter, or dirt or something more similar to dirt, and if you prefer the pellet litter you could try adding it in increasing amounts to her litter over time until she's just using the pellets. And if you are able to find a small piece of her scat and put it into her current littler box it may help her realize the box's purpose. Isolating her into a room, even briefly, so that she uses her litter box and gets her scent in it, might be a big help. Perhaps you could set her up in your bedroom one night, so that she isn't distressed by being alone in a room, and see if she will go in the box? Or if you have a guest room or bathroom to put her in overnight, or even for a few hours (such as if you left the house for errands), it might give her the time and limited space she needs to understand the purpose of the litter box.

I've been feeding a feral on my porch for a little over a year and after 2 serious injuries outside and much expense in vet bills am attempting to socialize him in hopes of finding him an indoor home in the future where he can live free from constant threats. My hope was that he would use pellet litter, as I was attempting to keep him separated in my bedroom, and the clumping clay litter gets all over the rug and I'm not able to vacuum with him in there (and he still is a little difficult to handle and easily traumatized). When I used the pellet litter he wouldn't use it and started peeing on my rug and bed (which sadly had a brand new mattress). I was also using the Litter Attract. However, when I put clumping litter in his box he will use it with no problems. I did start trying to incorporate some pellets in with the clumping litter, but even though he kept using the box he still peed outside of it sometimes. I ended up going back to just clumping clay litter and moving him into my very small office so I won't have to deal with clay litter in my bed, and he now has less surfaces to pee on while he's learning. I'm hoping to eventually transition him to pellet litter, although I realize the sand-like litter types may ultimately be what he requires to prevent him from going outside the box. I also recently had an experience with one of my house cats who began refusing to use pellet litter and started refraining from peeing at all except when he urine marked around the house. A vet suggested I try scoopable clay litter for him, as she said some cats don't like the feeling of pellets on their paws, and it is more similar to sand or dirt and something they like to dig in. Thankfully he began using the litter box immediately once I switched litter types (and seemed incredibly relieved as well - according to the vet his bladder felt very full so he was clearly consistently holding his pee in avoidance of the litter box, poor guy).
 
Top