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Litter Box Crisis

Charley

Savannah Super Cat
#1
Just like the post says...having some litter box issues between Jengo and Wiggles.

So long and short of it is. They each have their own litter box. Wiggles has been with us for 13 days, quarantined for a solid 8 or 9 days outside of a few escapes. The cats are now getting along, okay. I say okay because each day is a process. They get "community" time now and "personal" time in the house. "Community" time has been going well, after a couple of initial chases they are okay with each other. Jengo likes to be on the fridge or up high - he's still observant of Wiggles and if Wiggles gets too close he bats his head - no claws, Wiggles walks away. Everything I have read says this is normal. They only interact during feeding times - which they do very WELL!!! Jengo is still wary - because of this Wiggles still has a lot of quarantine time. I know my Jengo - I know when he has had enough - usually after an hour or two so Wiggles goes back upstairs!

Wiggles keeps pooping in Jengo's box since it's downstairs and easily accessible. We remove it promptly especially since Wiggles had some diarrhea - we are still sorting out (vet says he's fine, parasite free, they gave some medication for it but think it's most likely diet and stress related. It's clearing up now.) Now, because I once made the mistake of REMOVING Wiggles I got kitty poop down myself as I ran him upstairs to his own box - I don't dare do that again. Thus far if I hear him in there I will grab a toy and distract him upstairs to get him to his proper box - works like a charm.

This afternoon - during community time Jengo went to use his box, Wiggles was on the couch next to me, all was fine until Wiggles heard Jengo in there and ran after him - scaring him out of his own box! Wiggles was promptly removed from the community area and put in his room and will stay there for awhile because Jengo needs to calm down and use the bathroom.

Any ideas on navigating this? The vet said it is fine for them to use the same box if they are both okay with it - and it seems they are but Wiggles can't scare Jengo out of the box!!!!!!

***Additionally - I am noticing during community time that they have kind of established boundaries - Jengo likes to be high (he always has - this is nothing new) and Wiggles is too small to get up there most of the time, thus far whenever JEngo comes low - Wiggles runs after him and he goes back up high and then Wiggles gets removed since Jengo needs to be able to walk across the room. Jengo is VERY much bringing it on himself with his "skittish" behavior - he is enticing Wiggles.

If we can get past this last hurdle - all will be well.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#2
I don't really think you can make cats understand that one box is exclusively one cat's and they are not to use it. They don't read, so you can't post labels. You want them to USE the litterboxes so my fear is that if you rush towards one cat as it is using "the other cat's" box all you will teach them is to avoid using a litterbox!

Has a PCR panel been run on Wiggles' poop or just an inhouse fecal float to determine the parasite status? If there is a negative PCR then I agree with your vet and sharing litterboxes is fine... otherwise you run the risk of Jengo getting what Wiggles has.
 

Charley

Savannah Super Cat
#3
I don't really think you can make cats understand that one box is exclusively one cat's and they are not to use it. They don't read, so you can't post labels. You want them to USE the litterboxes so my fear is that if you rush towards one cat as it is using "the other cat's" box all you will teach them is to avoid using a litterbox!

Has a PCR panel been run on Wiggles' poop or just an inhouse fecal float to determine the parasite status? If there is a negative PCR then I agree with your vet and sharing litterboxes is fine... otherwise you run the risk of Jengo getting what Wiggles has.
They ran a full panel on both cats both came back healthy. I askefor them to run every test they could on both because this was happening.

Okay - so now I'm not sure how to proceed. They both are so good with litter I just don't Jengo getting scared out of his box. The only other thing I can try is a hood - I think Jengo will be happy to have a hidey spot since he hates using the box in "public" and Wiggles refuses to use a box with a hood.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#4
Then as long as the "full panel" is the PCR diarrhea panel then all is well.

You can try one covered box, but I would add it IN ADDITION to the two boxes you already have in the house. You could also try a clear tote box with the lid off... this is less claustrophobic than a hooded litterbox, but the high sides offer "protection" that can be useful.

it might also just be a one-off incident and Jengo may not be startled by Wiggles now that he knows to expect him. that's something for you to judge from watching them, it's hard to know from this side of the computer how disturbed Jengo was and if this will thence make him reluctant to use the box.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#5
I agree with Brigitte - you can't expect or teach a cat to use one litterbox and not the other, that is going to run you into a world of grief. I would put at least two, if not more boxes down in the community area. Have one or two covered, the other uncovered. They should be clear boxes (e.g., an 18gal clear Sterlite storage box) so that Jengo can see around him and know he is 'safe' to go. If he doesn't like going in public put the box behind a couch or other more secluded part of the room, but he will feel safer if he can keep an eye on Wiggles and know he's not approaching while he's going.