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The litter tray

Sudden issue with outdoor litter tray?

5 replies

oscarwilde · 04/12/2013 12:48

I have two rescue kitten/cats (8 months old - male & neutered) who have been using a litter tray since we got them at 4.5 months. Once they were used to the house, we put the litter tray outside beside the back door and they have happily used the cat flap to go in and out for 4 months without single incident. It is a box type tray and the area is covered so it is protected from rain. In the past week though it has got increasingly cold though...

Yesterday, out of the blue, both cats urinated on the front door mat in the hallway. The mat was cleaned washed and dried and reinstated. They revisited the area and this time one of them had a poo around 11pm (nice present right before my bedtime). Access to the catflap wasn't blocked, it was simply a convenient place to go it would appear.

Nothing has changed except the weather - their litter box is cleaned daily, emptied entirely every week and washed out. One of the cats was noticeably reluctant to go outdoors this morning. It's the smaller and more timid of the two so I don't know if there's been a prowling fox/aggressive tom cat or he just doesn't like the cold. He's definitely not being bullied by his larger sibling. They are both a healthy size though - vet reckons they will be "big" cats.

The door mat has been cleaned again and removed entirely. I've put tinfoil down in the area over the underlay (mat is inset into wooden flooring) for now but I can't remove the mat on an indefinite basis.
I've closed off all bedrooms so there is no temptation to find a new spot though the hall, stairs and landing is still vulnerable.
Today their access to the rest of the house will be restricted to the kitchen and garden. Is this a good idea for a few days or is it just prolonging the inevitable confrontation?

I have a crawling baby so moving the litter tray indoors is not an option. Plus since they have happily used it for 4 months outdoors I am loathe to move it back inside. Even with regular cleaning it smells pretty bad after a fresh poo. We have an outside shed we could move it to which would be warmer through the winter but then they would have to go into the rain to use it.

So - anyone else had this problem and how would you deal with it?

OP posts:
Mogz · 04/12/2013 18:35

I'd be getting a litter tray for inside, I know you say you've got a crawling baby, but what would you do if one of the cats had an accident and had to be inside for a while? I think you'll just have to be super vigilant.
You should also pop the cats along to the vets as sudden changes in toileting habits are one of the first indicators that they could be poorly.
You could also try some feliway, in case it is stress related, it doesn't work for all cats but would be worth a try to stop indoor toileting.
Best of luck, hope they're ok.

Fluffycloudland77 · 04/12/2013 19:01

I'd get a covered cat litter crawling baby or not because they are trying to tell you something.

Mogz · 04/12/2013 19:23

Oh yes, covered trays are great, you can get odour eating filters to fit some of them to stop the post poo stinkies!

ChristmasEvie · 05/12/2013 12:20

Definitely get a covered indoor one -I have two ,one upstairs and one downstairs and they are the best thing everXmas Smile.No mess,no smell and will be fine with a just need to be vigilant.You won't belive how much easier they are.

oscarwilde · 06/12/2013 11:17

Cheers for the responses ladies. We have a covered tray - and used to have it in the kitchen but they are not fond of burying their poo and it stank to high heaven when freshly used. Plus the baby thinks that following the cats in there is great fun.

I'm not at home all day and it's a bit much to ask our nanny to live with the smell/or scoop it out everytime they use it so we moved it just outside the back door. She's not a cat person and there is a limit. It's worked absolutely fine to date.
If they were injured and HAD to be inside, that would be fine but we didn't get them to be indoor cats only and I'm not inclined to encourage them to spend the day racing around the house if the weather is good outdoors.

Looks like one cat is to blame and seems to be suddenly very timid about going outside so must have had a run in with something big and scary. Will just have to be patient I guess. We've covered the mat with tinfoil and are running them off it at every approach, plus doing lots of outdoor play with balls and lasers so we'll see if things improve over the weekend.

What's the deal with Feliway?

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