How to I teach my older cat to use a litter box?

schoolhouse_gwApril 21, 2012

Is it possible to teach an older cat who has never used a litter box to use one? He's always been indoor/outdoor and goes outside to do his business but in his old age has become incontinent especially overnight. I bought a pan, some litter, and a scoop and planned on laying it all out for the first time tonight. Then I realized that he probably wouldn't know what kitty litter is. I read that in the beginning I should use dirt or leaves on top of the litter until he gets used to it. Anybody attempt litter training an older cat?

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I don't think you'll have a problem. My DM recently took in an outdoor cat and it used a litterbox without hesitation. You can try placing the cat and the litter box in a small room or place some of her poop from outdoors in the box if you think he may have trouble finding it.
I don't think it's necessary to use the dirt or leaves.

Make sure the pan is easily accessible and has one side that is lower than the other three.......the 'ole' guy will appreciate it!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 12:15AM
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Ok. I'll give it try with just the litter and try to retrieve some feces from outside (altho he has never pooped in the house). I also thought about cutting out a small part of the throw rug on which he routinely pees on in the bathroom and laying that either with the litter or on top for awhile. Unfortunately the litter pan I bought does not have one side lower, in fact it has a short, removable rim around it to catch the litter as it is scratch about I guess. Never had a litter box before. He's not infirm, can still jump up on furniture and such so don't think he'll have a problem stepping into the pan. We shall see. Will keep you informed if interested. ha. Thanks for the reply.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Cats will instinctually use a pan or any situation where their need to bury the evidence is available. That's why when they don't have a pan they'll do it on rugs, in beds or other places where they can claw and go through the motions. That's why I chuckle when I see ads to give away kittens who are already litter trained. One seldom sees cat waste on bare floors unless their behinds are hung out over a pan when they're using it.

I hope he takes to the pan. I have two barn cats who spend their nights in the house and they will ask for in to use the pan, when there are thousands of acres around us they could use.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:56PM
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I decided to wait and put the litter box down right before bed, so I got it out and started to fill it with kitty litter in the bathroom where it's going to sit. Kitty suddenly got all anxious and started pacing from livingroom to kitchen and stopping each time to look in at me and what I was doing. After I finished I might have done something wrong. I picked him up and showed him the box and sat him in it and dug around in the litter. I think I scared him! Anyway, I sat the box on the same rug he pees on but didn't cover up the entire spot, covered the sofa with a trash bag and misc. just in case, and went to bed.

Next morning I got up late at 5am (usually get up at 4:30a to let he and other cat out), but Kitty hadn't peed on the rug or in the litter box or anywhere else. So I'm going to continue to put the litter box out every night and see what happens. Like you say, he may eventually use it. Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 3:38PM
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I would be inclined to leave the box there day and night so that he can adjust to it.

Has he had a vet check to rule out any urinary problems? Going in the house can often be a symptom.......

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:58AM
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