Christmas loo logistics for our cat
December 16, 2019 2:54 AM   Subscribe

We adopted a gorgeous 2-year-old rescue cat at the end of November and he's settling in really well. Our families are visiting us at Christmas - does he need a temporary second litter tray for that day?

Cat Novak is doing really well after a few weeks - he used his litter tray from day one and has been good about eating and drinking, and he climbs into my lap whenever I sit down. He was probably wild until his foster family took him in, but he's in good health and seems happy. He gets spooked by unexpected noises and hides but it's pretty short-term now, and frankly, it's a pretty chill and quiet house. There is a Feliway plugin in the sitting room.

Our families (about 7 people, all adults, including us) will be visiting on Christmas day and we expect him to run and hide for much of it. Right now, his litter tray is in the utility side of the kitchen, and his food and water are in the cooking side of the kitchen (picture those as sides of an l-shaped small room), while he mostly hangs out and plays in the sitting room, all on the ground floor.

We've introduced him to my sewing room and the bathroom upstairs, and he used it as his safe hiding spot when I hoovered last weekend. In an ideal world, he'll run up here and enjoy the space/garden view/cosy sleeping spot.

However, his litter and food are downstairs, in the areas where we'll have people and food prep. Let's say they'll be there from 11am to midnight, possibly some overnight but probably not.

Do we set up a second temporary litter tray upstairs? Will this cause future chaos or bridge the busy period successfully? He is extremely food-motivated so the food/water part will be easier to handle.

We will have other visitors this week and over the period, which will help a little as a preview, but we aren't experienced with cats and I love him and want to minimise his stress. And his urge to shit in my fabric shelves.
posted by carbide to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd add a litter tray in the upstairs bathroom to prevent accidents. For most cats food with company is fine, but litterbox activities require privacy.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:58 AM on December 16, 2019 [6 favorites]

It's a good idea to have as many litter boxes as cats plus one extra, just in general (so that's two boxes for one cat, three for two, etc.) That way if one box gets disturbed somehow the other one is still good to use. Different cats can have completely different views on what's disturbing or not with regard to litter boxes.

Set up a second box now so he's got some time to learn where it is, although if you scoop some used litter into the new box you can probably fast track the learning process. If you do decide not to keep it out after the holidays most cats can be trusted not to use the same spot without the box, especially if you clean the area where it was with enzyme based cleaner like Nature's Miracle.

If I were you I'd also have a second water bowl upstairs for him too, just in case he's really scaredy around company.
posted by Mizu at 3:51 AM on December 16, 2019 [8 favorites]

I would definitely add a litter tray for comfort, but my extremely shy-around-company cat would still slither out to use the box when she needed to. Even with rowdy company, she never had an accident.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:10 AM on December 16, 2019

You can not go wrong with a second litter box upstairs, but the larger point is, Novak is a beautiful house panther!
posted by BostonTerrier at 8:17 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Definitely add a second litterbox for him in a quiet space upstairs, away from the activity. We forgot to do that once when we had a big party and one of our cats decided (rightfully!) that going downstairs was a non-option and peed on a plastic wrapping paper box under the bed. Thank goodness it was plastic, and we learned our lesson!
posted by cooker girl at 9:08 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't think you should count on him running and hiding, I think you should expressly pick him up and put him in that safe room, with food, water and litter box, and Feliway, and shut the door. Put a sign on the door that tells people to keep out.

It's good that you'll have some visitors before the big day, but on that day a big group of people + the possibility that someone will open the front or back door and give him a chance to dash out in his stress, and/or just a bunch of unexpected noises + the fact that he's very new to your household -- all of that together would definitely mean that it's safer to confine him in a quiet spot first to avoid any sort of problem.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:09 AM on December 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

I suggest one more litter box than cat at all times.
also for the holidays, avoid poinsettias, ivy, and tinsel. both are dangerous for cats.
posted by evilmonk at 1:34 PM on December 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Seconding to move his stuff to that quieter spot and just keep him in there for the day. Makes all the food logistics much easier, as well as the door if people will be coming in and out and you're at all worried he might try to dash.
posted by augustimagination at 6:54 PM on December 16, 2019

Thanks, everyone - we have an identical spare litter tray so we'll set that up, and some water, and will see how he finds it. I don't think he'll try to bolt or that we will have tons of door-opening action, but I'll watch him with visitors before then.

evilmonk - we have lots of houseplants so I've nearly memorised the list of unsafe ones, but thank you for the reminder!
posted by carbide at 1:13 AM on December 17, 2019

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