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6 1/2 week old kittens struggling with litter tray.

(38 Posts)
wrongagain Tue 21-May-13 07:35:34

I picked them up Sunday, lovely little bundles of fluff that they are but I could do with some advice. Although they are using the litter tray occasionally, they are going wherever they fancy, including on my bed. I'm trying to encourage them to use it often but they are still going around the house. I know they are still young (too young to leave their mum but that's another story) but everything I've read says that once they start using it they don't go anywhere else. I only have one litter tray, do I need more in different places? Any other advice anyone else will be gratefully received, I researched before I got them but obviously not enough!! Many thanks smile

cozietoesie Tue 21-May-13 08:18:58

How many have you got? And are they all both pooing and peeing in the wrong place or just one of the functions?

Yes - once they start to use a tray they should go there naturally but because they're so young (and I won't go there as you obviously realize that) I'm wondering whether their control is still a bit iffy and whether you'll need to stimulate them over a tray. Their litter training is probably a bit inadequate anyway having left Mum so early.

I'd keep an eye to see whether they're doing it at any particular time and try some stimulation (and then cleaning) over the tray. Just a suggestion to get them thinking some good 'pee goes in a tray' thoughts.

I think I'd definitely get another tray for them as you thought - and also maybe re-consider your litter (thinking all bases here) in case the one you're using doesn't suit for some reason.

cozietoesie Tue 21-May-13 08:22:58

PS - you also need to clean up where they've mistakenly gone really thoroughly and right away so that they're not confused by smells. Are they left alone for long periods?

wrongagain Tue 21-May-13 08:54:40

Unfortunately the woman they came from said that they were annoying her older dog and it wasn't fair on him so could I come and pick them up!! I don't think I was mentally prepared let alone them!
Poor things I'm trying to be at home a much as possibly I have pop out once or twice a week for 3 hours but other than that it's just taking ds to school an popping to the shop.

I will try encouraging them by stimulating their bottoms and get another litter tray for the living room too. I brought them into bed for a cuddle this morning and then they both simultaneously pee'd and pooped on the bed.

Thank you for you're advice I'll try it all and see what happens, poor babies!

cozietoesie Tue 21-May-13 09:22:10

I do hope that that woman has had her female cat neutered - otherwise this will just happen again.

I think that your 'at home' is enough so don't worry about that. The problem is that you've now taken over as Mum because they're not independent enough. They're probably still all at sixes and sevens emotionally.

I'd pretend that they're still being reared even though they should be old enough now to use a tray eg take the initiative with them and do their stimulation and cleaning when they've just eaten. And keep that cleaning very thorough if they have accidents.

You may need to restrict their movements/living space if that doesn't work but see how you do for a day or two.

Hopefully, someone else will post with additional suggestions.

Best of luck.

wrongagain Wed 22-May-13 18:50:35

Stimulation doesn't work for these two it seems, after speaking the the woman I got them from it turns out they have been trained to newspaper only with no litter. I have confined them to the kitchen, but refusing to go in the tray or on the newspaper around it but when I let them out for a cuddle they peeing wherever they fancy. I don't know what else to do. hmm

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 18:57:41

Oh dear, oh dear. How long did you confine them in the kitchen for? (Cats can cross their legs for just ages.)

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 18:58:31

PS - and what are you using to clean up after them?

wrongagain Wed 22-May-13 19:10:40

They've been in there all day, I've left them out now because I felt mean and they're having a good run around, it's just so frustrating!!
Cleaning up with washing liquid, they never go back to the same place to do it, I've got newspaper all over the place so there's never any too far away and I'm putting them in the tray every half hour or so. I just don't know what to try next!!

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 19:14:32

I'm afraid that I'm pretty stumped on this one - cats being so clean - and I can only put it down to their age and general bewilderment.

So - take this with a grain of whatever if you wish. As you're still talking to her, is there any way you could take them back to their mother for a few days (with food and all the doings provided by you) and ask the former owner to re-train then with your litter type before you take them back again ?

That would also give you an opportunity to deep clean the place.

Sign of my blank thoughts that I'm even suggesting this.


wrongagain Wed 22-May-13 19:20:28

I'm not sure I can, she's about to get a new puppy (I also think that this is another reason why they had to go and so she could use what I paid for them to help towards the puppy) I think I'm going to have to mop top to bottom, remove anything that they could pee on and watch them like a hawk. They're cuddled up asleep next to me right now looking like butter wouldn't melt! Thank you for all your suggestions, I'm just going to have to find a way to muddle through!

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 19:24:57

Before you mop, soak up any pee on a kitchen towel and put that in the litter tray for a little while before discarding. That should scent the litter properly. And keep on putting them in there - with big praise for a use.

I'm wondering whether washing up liquid is the most effective thing for cleaning - maybe other posters can add?

You're being a heroine here.

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 19:29:23

PS - non bio washing powder seems to be recommended.

wrongagain Wed 22-May-13 19:31:58

I'm actually training to be a dog trainer at the minute and I know with dogs the best things is non bio washing powder so I'll have to get some of that. I've been told to use lemon smell to stop them going where they shouldn't but it's hard when they don't go anywhere specific!! I may have to mop with a bottle of lemon juice and some non bio mixed together, luckily I've only lived here two months and haven't put my nice floors down yet! grin

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 19:38:54

Well all the best of luck. I'd probably be almost at yelling pitch by now so you're showing your future good potential as a dog trainer!

Anytime you want to let off steam just come on here and yell at us.

Let us know how it goes, anyway.

wrongagain Wed 22-May-13 19:40:25

Haha my patience is wearing thin but I can't give up on them already, it's not fair! I'm considering a water spray bottle when they pee in the wrong place or is that really mean? I think I'll be hanging around here a lot now grin

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 19:48:06

Not sure that would be effective (given they're young and likely confused) but then I'm not facing your problems. I guess I've usually managed better with praise than with censure - apart from breaking of house rules where they'll get a firm talking to. I generally assume tat if they're misbehaving then it's likely me that's got their environment wrong somehow (apart from house rules) but I'm blowed if I can think what you're doing wrong.

Maybe get some Feliway for the house? That might help.

wrongagain Wed 22-May-13 19:57:11

That's what I thought, how do you praise cats? Little piece of ham after each litter tray trip? They've started friggin playing in it now! Obviously with dogs you can get all excited and give lots of fuss but they run off with sudden movements! I think I'll pop them to the vet next week if its not sorted I need to sort out injections ect anyway.

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 20:04:58

Stroking (especially head and ears) and verbal praise is how I do it. (But I mostly have Siamese who are very very easy to train.)

I suppose you could always try the special 'NO' if you see them about to squat in an unauthorized placed. That would be a firm and pretty loud NO but said in a drawn out 3-syllable sort of way so that they recognize it thereafter. Then no cuddles for a period of time - say 20 minutes - so that they register your displeasure.

Mention it to the vet in case they have ideas. With both of them affected I'm not sure it's likely to be physical. More likely a residue of their previous home environment - which doesn't sound altogether healthy if you'll forgive me.

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 20:10:08

PS - I'm thinking of them being trained to newspaper only. Even if it was torn up and piled (rather than just flat) that's pretty much emergency only and not good training material - lack of scratchability and coverupability.

I rather suspect that their previous house had a smell all over the place and they didn't get proper training from Mum despite what their previous owner may have said. I'll stand to be corrected on that one.

wrongagain Wed 22-May-13 20:49:20

I'll try the praise, and the no's too. If I'm totally honest the first time I went to see them they were a week old and the house did smell of cat pee, I won't correct you on that at all! I've also noticed the female doing the scraping motion they're meant to do in the litter by her food bowls and she'll do it in the litter but not go, it's almost like she has half the idea but has not quite got the whole thing!

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 20:54:32

She likely didn't train them then and clearly was no example for them to follow. Not her fault if she didn't know. Poor her and poor kits.

I think you'll have to do the praise and the censure bit but you'll have a big task on your hands given their age and the bad habits they've adopted.

We'll be here to let off steam on.

wrongagain Wed 22-May-13 21:11:20

God help me! Thank you for all your suggestions, poor kitties haven't a clue and neither do I really! I'll battle on and keep you updated smile

wrongagain Wed 22-May-13 21:26:58

Massive breakthrough! After a fair bit of bottom stimulation they have both just pee'd and pooped in the litter tray at the same time. Should I remove the soiled bits or shall I leave it there for now?! I'm so happy with them I could squeal grin

cozietoesie Wed 22-May-13 21:31:06

Remove the bits directly. The clean litter, although clean to us, will retain just enough of a smell to catch their noses and remind them of their duty. You need to give them reassurance that using the tray will end up more or less clean and sweet smelling - it's what cats like.

Well done all - a small victory and by no means the end of the war - but enough to give you great hope!

I'm really rooting for this pair now.

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