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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4907
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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I have taken in a cat that has been abandoned by his owners.

Customer Question

I have taken in a cat that has been abandoned by his owners. He has been checked by a vet and is booked in next week to be neutered and microchipped. He is eating well, is obviously a bit nervous and spends most of the day huddled in the window sill, but he licks my hand and is eating well. My problem is he just won't use a litter tray, he seems terrified of it. I don't want to spend the next weeks mopping up after him - any tips on how to get him to use a tray and not any soft furnishings in his path. Thank you, ***** ***** new owner
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.
Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.Tod is so lucky you adopted him! And, yes, this can be a very frustrating problem. Forcing him won't work. We have to lure him in there. And show him it's a positive experience. I do have a few hints for you. You've shown him where it is. That is a good step.First, I recommend if there's a hood on the box, take it off. Keep the box somewhere private but not somewhere where he might get splashed by water (like near a shower) or somewhere noisy (like near the washing machine) or somewhere that might scare him. Try using a slightly bigger tray in a quiet location; try a different location than where it is now. Be sure not to keep his food/water in the same room. Most cats will not eliminate where they eat/drink.Next, maybe he doesn't like the substrate you're using. Try finding a scoopable but odorless litter (I believe there is one made by Arm&Hammer). As well, I also find some outdoor primarily cats are not sure what the litter box is; so bring in some outdoor dirt and sprinkle it in there for the first few days. This helps the cat feel more at home. I've had some people find success with the Cat Attract litter, which has an ingredient that actually makes cats want to get into the box.If he does have an accident outside, do NOT punish him. This only serves to increase his anxiety. If he defecates outside, you can put the stool in the box to show him this is where he should go. Make sure you clean up all areas accidentally eliminated that are not the box with an enzymatic cleanser. I hope that the information I provided has been helpful. Please let me know if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. My goal is to provide the best answer possible prior to you leaving a feedback rating.If you received all the information you needed, then kindly submit a rating.