Well, how would you feel if someone moved your bathroom?
January 10, 2014 5:46 PM   Subscribe

I need to move my cats' litterbox. They are not going along with this plan. Advice, please?

I've got a brilliant new furniture buying and rearrangement plan for my little apartment, but it's reliant on convincing the cats that they really must move their business to another room. Thus far, I am not winning the argument. I read somewhere (possibly here?) that you should move the box slowly, bit by bit to where you want it, so as not to completely discombobulate kitty. But moving the box three feet to the right just resulted in crossed cat legs and glares in my case. I am hoping that the wisdom of MeFi can help me with other ideas; I don't want try my cats' patience with too much more experimentation!

Oh, and here are the requisite pics: Molly and Ed.
posted by backwards compatible to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
Not a problem I've had, but what I'd probably do in that case is to set up a second litter box where you want it to go, and scale back my litter box cleaning on the old one over time. Its not going to be fun, but in my experience cats can learn a lot of things if you make it worth their time.
posted by wotsac at 5:52 PM on January 10, 2014

Maybe try moving the box in smaller increments, and try some of Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract.

Alternatively/additionally: two boxes work better for a two-cat household. Can you bring another box in and put it in the desired location, wait for them to start using it, and then move the original box later?
posted by moira at 5:53 PM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Perhaps try two in the old spot, and when they start using both, choo choo one slowly over to the new home? Agreeing with wotsac that cutting back on cleaning one can move cats over to another box.
posted by Lardmitten at 5:55 PM on January 10, 2014

Best answer: I'd just move it. Then show kitties where it is now, a bit like when you first got them-- place them in the litter box and let them sniff at it and such. Do it a few times if you have to. Let them scratch at it.

I can understand your worry at the fact they haven't been going potty even with it three feet away-- but they're not doing it because they're staging a peaceful protest. They're gunna poop eventually. I am betting that their instinct to use a soft sandy substance will trump their offense at having to potty in a different area. I'd imagine that eventually, they'll just use it. But I could be wrong and they might poop on the floor.

If you're worried, do use the two-litter box approach. I did it with my cat. In my case, I moved the old litterbox to the new spot and bought a brand new litterbox to put in the old spot just in case.

Something about the familiarity or smells or something of the old box made him use it over the new one; he hasn't used the new one even once.

Also they are adorable.
posted by Dimes at 6:36 PM on January 10, 2014

The only time I have failed to control a cat peeing problem with Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter is when it was an un-neutered male who accidentally smelled the litterbox of another male and started to spray in response. I would set up a second one with that in the location you want. Add their litter additive if you want additional attractive power. You can get both on Amazon.
posted by Anonymous at 6:41 PM on January 10, 2014

Best answer: On a day you will be at home:
1. Clean the litter box -- putting aside a bit of poop -- and fill it with clean litter.
2. Move the litter box to its new location.
3. Add the reserved poop to the clean litter box, on top of the clean litter.
4 Go get the cats.
5. While the cats are watching, show and encourage them to sniff their new toilet area.
6. Make sure they watch while you flick clean litter over the poop you placed in the box.
7. Hang around and listen for scratching sounds throughout the day. If a cat is readying a non-litter box area for his toilet, then run to pick him up and set him into the litter box.
8. While near the litter box, give lots of immediate verbal praise when the cat uses the new location for the first time.

Once both cats use the litter box, they are unlikely to ever forget.
posted by Houstonian at 7:10 PM on January 10, 2014

After reading Jackson Galaxy's bio, he had a very particular cat like this and his solution was to move the box even smaller distances. Like, at most he could move it 10 inches at a time. So maybe 3ft is too much for them. So experiment finding their threshold.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:20 PM on January 10, 2014

Best answer: It took me three months of moving the litter tray six inches at a time through the bathroom, then the kitchen, then out the door and down the path to persuade one of my cats to poo in the great outdoors. I had additional delays because you can't leave a litter tray out in the rain. Cats are weird.

You need to set up a tray in the new location. When they use their old tray move the soiled litter to the new tray so it smells of them. This might be enough to make then switch if you take the old tray away. If not try moving the old tray by increments (hopefully for your sake more than 6 inches at a time).

Check the new location meets their desires for security/visibility/lack of visibility when pooing. Cats vary on their preferences for this, but they seem to like spots where they can see but not be seen. (If you have to move it slowly, it might pass through some areas that are not favourable, just to add to your woes.)
posted by Helga-woo at 1:50 AM on January 11, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all, I hadn't thought about the cat attract litter. I will try some of that and two boxes and see how it works!
posted by backwards compatible at 2:49 AM on January 11, 2014

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