Drawing a cat back to the litter box


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Drawing a cat back to the litter box

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy,

I got a Manx female kitten from my daughter’s barn when she was six-weeks-old. Her name is Lil Bit. I watched her use the litter box in the barn. The first night bringing her home, we stayed in a motel, and I took her litter box out of the carrying crate and let her roam around, and she went up to the baseboard of the room and peed. But she also periodically used the litter box, using the same litter she used in the barn.

I brought her home to a small Yorkie dog and a male cat who was also from the same barn three years before. They got along fine, but she peed against the baseboard of the master bedroom. I never saw her do it. She also used a litter box. As time went on, I had to pick up all the throw rugs because she peed on them. She pees on the bottom carpet of one of the cat trees. If a dishcloth is laying on the counter, she will pee on that. I just don’t know why or how to stop her. We have carpet in the three bedrooms, but she only uses the master. We have tile everywhere else. She is so sweet and affectionate, otherwise.

— Bev Van Horn, Tucson, Arizona

Dear Bev,

Her improper eliminations may have been the result of stress initially, but it sounds like Lil Bit also has elimination texture preferences, which means she likes the carpets more than the litter box. Keep towels off floors and counters so she can’t pee on them. Hide laundry baskets in closets so she can’t reach the clothes. And, remove all small carpets temporarily until she is trained on the litter box again.

Cats can be territorial, so add a second litter box (or even a third) to your home. The correct number of litter boxes is usually based on the number of cats in the home, plus one. Use the same litter and clean the boxes every day.

Don’t change the type of litter right now since she sometimes uses the box. Instead, sprinkle a cat litter attractant (available online or at pet stores) to the litterbox to help draw her to the box. Let me know if that doesn’t work so I can offer more suggestions. Thanks for being patient with her.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to cathy@petpundit.com. Please include your name, city and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal (aka The Pet Pundit), CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 35 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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