H.W. asks from Canyon Country, CA on April 12, 2010
Buying House, but Staying in Hotel Temporarily, Need Help with Cat
So my 4 1/2 son and I have lived with my mother and step father for the past 2 years (I'm a single mom and don't make enough to live on my own in our area- unfortunately), well my parents are now getting a divorce, and sold the house. My mom and I are buying a house together which is in the final leg of escrow, however we had to move out of the other house this past weekend. My mom, son, 14 year old cat and me are now staying in an Extended Stay until the new house is ready (hopefully by Friday). I thought my biggest problem was going to be getting my son to sleep, which last night, our first night in the hotel was easier then if we were at our house lol. But now I'm having problems with my cat. She has been an outdoor cat for the last 10 years. She has not had a litter box in those 10 years as she was in our backyard. She has been a bit shaky and scared since the move which i understand cause it's an adjustment for all of us and she has lived in the same house her entire life again she is 14 years old. So we bought her a few new toys, treats, moved her bed to the hotel, and then bought a litter box for her. We showed her the box and put her in it so she knew but last night she decided that my son's suitcase would make a better litter box then the one we set up for her. Luckily the suitcase was closed and only the top few shirts were wet, they are soaking as well as his suitcase. I then moved all the suitcases into the bathroom and shut the door, moved the litter box over to where the luggage was and put her back into thelitter box. I was able to get her to stay for a few minutes but without going to the bathroom. How do I get my cat to start using the litter box and not my sons stuff lol.. it's gross and smells and it's extremely hard to wash clothes and suitcases in a hotel room. And we need to get my cat use to the litter box because even when we move into the new house she will be an indoor cat again. How do I do this? lol. My 4 year old son is adjusting better then the cat lol... Thank you ladies for all the tips!
So What Happened?™
Thank you to everyone who responded. So Monday night after posting this, when I got back to the hotel, the one shirt from my son's suitecase that got pee on it, still smelled, after soaking all day in tide, febreeze and bleach, and my cat was still sniffing around my sons' suitcase, so I decided that one pajama shirt was worth the price of getting her to use her litter box. I took the trash bag (the liner bag) out of the litter box (she seemed to be scared of the noise) and then placed my son's now ruined pajama shirt on the back of the litter box, and she has been using the box ever since. No more accidents in the hotel room! We are very happy. We are also taking her outside at night to walk around, since she's always been outside. She is doing great on a leash =) and does use the outdoor bushes as well. But thankfully she is using her litter box and I don't have to get rid of anymore shirts =) lol... I figured since my son is not a big fan of pajamas anyways (he would rather sleep in his pullup) that giving one pajama shirt to the cat was a small sacrafice to pay =) Thank you again to all that have responded and helped. It does make this transition period so much easier when I'm not worrying about what my cat has peed on during the day when I'm not there.
Thank you again and take care!
R.J. answers from San Diego on April 12, 2010
Litter box in the bathroom
Food and water in the bathroom
Place to curl up that's easily washed (like a towel) on the floor on the opposite side.
Treats/toys in the bathroom
Cat in the bathroom
Shut the door
Don't leave her in there alone and LEAVE the hotel the first time... because you need to make sure she won't yowl or that she stops yowling after a few minutes. BUT DO leave her in there... even play with her in there... until she gets the hang of the litterbox. Easiest to do at night.
1 mom found this helpful
C.P. answers from New York on April 12, 2010
Oh my, your cat sounds like a rebellious teen. We had a 12 year old cat and we drove 1500 miles with her when we moved East. All went well until we got to our new place and she hid in a closet for almost a week straight. She started not using the litter box too, picking the batroom rug instead. The only thing that helped was keeping a cat litter box nearby, always clean, putting catnip around it. Cleaning the carpet quickly everytime (with water and a little woolite), then putting Nature's Miracle on it helped. We also bought a blue light to detect cat pee stains and cleaned those up too. It took a while but eventually the cat got used to it and started using her litter box again.
1 mom found this helpful
J.C. answers from Anchorage on April 12, 2010
Your cat is 14, that is very old for a cat, and retraining my not be an option. If she can not be outside at your new home you may need to think about finding a new place for her where she can be out side, or keeping her confined to one room with no carpets for easy clean up. If you allow her to urinate on your new carpets the only way to erase the smell will be new carpeting.
S.B. answers from Chicago on April 12, 2010
try sand instead of actual cat litter, your cat may be more comfortable with sand because it's similar to being outside. we had a cat that stayed in our garage and was allowed to roam outside during the day, she wouldn't touch the litterbox but loved to go in this planter that was filled with potting soil.
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on April 12, 2010
Well, not sure about training the cat to use a litterbox after 10 years of using the world as one, but I had a few thoughts on damage control.
Take your clothes out of the suitcases and put them in dresser drawers and CLOSED closets.
Store the empty suitcases in the trunk of your car.
Go to a pet store and buy Nature's Miracle to take care of the smell, once the area/items are cleaned.
C.P. answers from Albuquerque on April 12, 2010
You could invest in a med-sized dog crate/carrier and let her spend some time in there (when there isn't anybody to keep and eye on her) with the litterbox & water. My cat goes through moods like this where she'll pee on anything that suits her (towels on the floor, the little floor mat by the sink, etc), usually it's after I've forgotten to feed her or if there's some other thing going on around the house (stresses her out). When she gets like that, I usually just lock her up in the bathroom (or somewhere she can't do very much damage) with the litter box, food, and water, and wait it out for a few days. You could try that, just put her in the bathroom with the litterbox (at night, or when you're out for the day). That might work in the new house, too, until she gets used to the litterbox & all the new stuff. One last thing, try different cat litter brands. Sometimes they don't like the way a certain litter smells, or feels, or whatever. If you only use a little bit (to test it out) and decide you don't like it, you might even be able to contact the company (look for a 1-800 number on the bag) for your money back--or coupons for samples of other types. We had to do this with food for our very picky and digestively-sensitive cat!
D.K. answers from State College on April 12, 2010
May be a little gross, but if she poops outside of it,put that in the litterbox to help encourage her to use the correct area. Some like open litterboxes, some a covered one is fine. Also the type of litter can make a difference, maybe try one that is a little more dirt like if that is what she is used to or to make sure it is fragrance free at least. You can try the regular litter with a light dusting of dirt on top. You can also leave her in the bathroom with the litterbox, so she has a smaller area until she gets used to using it. If she continues to have accidents or any red tinge (blood) to the urine, make sure to get her checked out by a vet to rule out anything else that may be causing it. I have one with sterile cystitis, basically her bladder can get irratiated for no real reason, and if she has a flare up she will go in one of our showers sometimes since it is cold and feel better for her. She will also go smaller amounts more frequently. She is on meds and rx food to reduce flares up and unless there is a very stressful situation for her she is very good about the litterbox. My guess is your girl, just doesn't understand the litterbox yet if she has gone outside for the last 10 years, but with a little help she will.
Make sure for accidents use an enzyme cleaner that will completely remove the smell, since even if you can't smell it sometimes they can and they will keep using that same area. nature's miracle is the one I like, but I'm sure there are others.
Congrats on making her an indoor cat and good luck to you on your move.