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Friday, February 4, 2011

Litter Box Wars

Macduff came to me at 3 years old, declawed, which is mutilation and needs to be outlawed as it is in the UK and Beverly Hills County.  Aside from a host of psychological and emotional issues stemming from the mutilation of his front paws, Duff sprays when he urinates due to having been neutered late in life.  He'd been neutered at Animal Control, which was his second to last shelter.  Bide-A-Wee rescued him on the day he was to be euthanized and I adopted him the day he came out of isolation at Bide-A-Wee, but that's a story for another day.

So, Macduff goes into the litter box, scratches at the litter, then proceeds to spray the walls and floor.  Of course, the solution was to get a jumbo litter box with a very tight connection between the cover and the actual box so that the spray doesn't leek through.  $200 later, I found the right box.

Enter, Misty…

Misty, a 13 year old rescue, came to live with us in April 2010 (see earlier posts for her story).  Misty is a love, unassuming, unafraid and unwilling to use a covered litter box.  How do I know this?  Every time Misty used the litter box, she'd stick her butt out the opening and pee all over the floor.  I uncovered the litter box and put it n the bathtub, where I could easily clean up any mess.  This worked for about 4 days, after which Duff refused to jump into the bathtub to do his business.  Every time I took the box out of the bathtub to clean it, which I did about 3 times a day, Duff would use the litter box.  Otherwise, he waited. He stopped jumping into the tub.  Period.  End of Story.  "I'm not going in there.  Forget about it."  I understood.  When you declaw cats, it changes the alignment of their spines and, hence, their hips (among other things).  It was uncomfortable for him to have to jump into and out of the tub every time he needed to use the box.

Away went the litter box.  I bought a container from the Container Store with tall sides and back and an opening in the front.  Misty, for some reason, didn't like this box at all and peed alongside the box instead of in it.  Goodbye container.

I finally found a litter box, uncovered, with a tall back.  Misty liked this one.  She used it appropriately and all was well, except when Duff sprayed above the tall back.  After much thought, discussions with hardware salespeople, trips to the Container Store, Internet searches, I found plastic refrigerator shelves - cut them to fit and taped them onto the back of the box, which made the back of the box 2 feet high and easy to clean.  Success!   For a few weeks… until two days ago when Duff decided to spray sideways out of box.

I failed to mention that I had had two litter boxes at one time, but the problems described above were doubled, so why bother with two boxes that don't work, when I could just have one box that doesn't work?

At this moment, we are using the jumbo covered litter box.  I just ordered a dome shaped box with steps leading into the box by a company called Booda.  See photo below.  I'm hopeful that Misty will use the dome shaped box that I will keep on the floor of my linen closet.  If she chooses to spray, she sprays in the box and Duff will use the covered box he's used to using.   Why do I think that might work?  Because hope springs eternal.

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