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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a cat that my daughter found in a parking lot, emaciated and near death last October. She had done very well and is so sweet and affectionate. She seems especially attached to me and is always on the sofa back behind me or on the armrest next to me.

The problem is none other than Duffy....

When he was a small puppy, there wasn't a problem. Cowboy's litter box is in the basement and she was not intimidated by him. However, he learned to go down the basement stairs. So we had to put a gate up at the bottom of the stairs so he doesn't go down there and get into all kinds of trouble.

Here's the problem: Cowboy wouldn't go over the gate. She stopped using her litter box and was eliminating (both 1 and 2) anywhere in the house. I kept carrying her down, putting her in the laundry room where the box is and letting her find her way back up. So she would do that just fine - jump over the gate from the basement back up the stairs.

Just wouldn't go down the other way.

So then I began putting her food bowl on the other side of the gate so she would HAVE to jump over. And I was sooo pleased when she did learn to jump over and go down.

BUT the bad habit remains. Tonight, she pooped right in front of me in the front hallway. Sheesh.

If there are any ideas out there, let me know. I did have her vet checked and she is healthy, no physical problems.

Kris
 

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Is the litter box cleaned on a regular basis? Cats are very, very picky and will refuse to use a dirty box. Is there any way you can get a covered litter box and keep it on the main floor of the house, like in a bathroom? We have 4 cats with a covered litterbox that gets scooped out twice a day and we have never had problems and the dogs can't get into it because of the cover.

There may just be something about the basement that makes her nervous or uncomfortable. I would hate to see you give up on her. She obviously had a rough start in life and it sounds like she really loves you. I could never imagine giving up one of our cats.
 

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I'd move the litterbox back to the main floor (perhaps in a bathroom) . As for the baby gate, leave a small enough opening for the cat to go UNDER but not so much that Duffy can't (I realize he's just a pup). The hooded litterbox is a great idea, just keep in mind it could still be accessible to a dog it just would hide the "treasures" inside...the key would be to supervise the pup. I think it would be difficult to successfully rehome a cat that is not using its litterbox...hopefully switching up the location/access management will resolve the situation. Good Luck! I'm dealing with my cat who goes #1 in the box and steps outside of it to finish up #2...she's 14, so I'm cutting her some slack.
 

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I bought a dog proof litterbox. I did not think it would be, but MacKenzie has not gotten in the box since.

It looks like a rubber maid tote, with a lid. The lid had a hole for the cat to go into. Looks almost like a manhole. I bet you could make something similar by buying a rubbermaid tote.

I bought it at Petco (it was expensive, but worth it). I think you need to keep a litter box on the main floor too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is the litter box cleaned on a regular basis? Cats are very, very picky and will refuse to use a dirty box. Is there any way you can get a covered litter box and keep it on the main floor of the house, like in a bathroom? We have 4 cats with a covered litterbox that gets scooped out twice a day and we have never had problems and the dogs can't get into it because of the cover.

There may just be something about the basement that makes her nervous or uncomfortable. I would hate to see you give up on her. She obviously had a rough start in life and it sounds like she really loves you. I could never imagine giving up one of our cats.
Yea, I scoop it out daily. I have two cats and two litter boxes.

OUr main floor bathroom is very small and no room at all for a litter box.

The thing is that she was FINE using the basement litter box. The trouble began when we had to put the gate up. Then she stopped going down there. I taught her to get over the gate, but she had already gotten into the bad habit of not using the box. I see her jumping over the gate daily now to get to her food.

Kris
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Litterbox on the main floor is out of the question, unfortunately. We have an old (60 year old) house with very small rooms.

The bathroom has a tub, toilet and sink - not even room for a hamper! Then a bedroom, dining room, living room and kitchen. No out of the way place whatsoever for a litter box.

She was using it fine, until the gate messed her up. I'm sure that if she was in a house with no dogs she would do just fine. She was perfect until Duffy came along :-(

Kris
 

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Chester & Murphy's Mom
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When we brought Chester home 2 years ago our cats were not happy. They had grown up with dogs but have never had a puppy to deal with. Our cat boxes are in the basement as well but to solve the gate problem we cut a cat size hole in the plastic gate just large enough for the cats to fit but not puppy so no need to jump over and they could get away quicker. Also it has been a long time since we have had this problem but if you have a cat that is going places they shouldn't try locking them in the room with litterbox (and food & water) for a few days to retrain them to use box...also have at least 2 boxes per cat,(we have 4 litter boxes with 2 cats all lined up in same place in laundry room) keep very clean and maybe different litters brands as well. Hope one of these things helps, can't hurt to try.
 

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What about raising the gate up with some room at the bottom for her to slide under..perhaps when she "has to go" it's a little uncomfortable to have to jump to clear the gate. Or can you supervise the pup more & take down the gate?
 

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Is it possible to set up a long table in the basement that Duffy can't get up on and remove the gate? Litter at one end and food way at the other end. You don't even need a table. You can put a large plank of wood over full storage boxes or totes stacked up - fuctional and a space saver. I had to do something similar with my cats littler boxes but was able to keep their food on top of the dryer.
 

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Is it possible to set up a long table in the basement that Duffy can't get up on and remove the gate? Litter at one end and food way at the other end. You don't even need a table. You can put a large plank of wood over full storage boxes or totes stacked up - fuctional and a space saver. I had to do something similar with my cats littler boxes but was able to keep their food on top of the dryer.
I think that sounds like an excellent idea. I also agree that it's probably pretty uncomfortable to have to jump when she has to go. I sure wouldn't want to have to jump over something every single time I have to go! One of our cats (our only female cat) refuses to jump over baby gates. She'll jump up on the kitchen counters, furniture, any everything else, but she will NOT jump over a gate. I think that putting the box in a place where the dog can't get to it and removing the gate will help solve this problem.
 

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Is it possible to set up a long table in the basement that Duffy can't get up on and remove the gate? Litter at one end and food way at the other end. You don't even need a table. You can put a large plank of wood over full storage boxes or totes stacked up - fuctional and a space saver. I had to do something similar with my cats littler boxes but was able to keep their food on top of the dryer.
GREAT idea!! I think there are a few alternatives you could definitely try before rehoming your kitty.
 

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Could you raise the gate up so Cowboy can go under it instead of jumping. They do make a Natures Miracle for cats that might to get rid of the smell. It works pretty good. I saw on Animal Planet a show called pet psychic encounters and a woman had that same problem. Now dont laugh but she said to take a little bit of your urine and put it in the litter box and the cat will start using it again.
It does sound like a psycological problem, of him needing to show he is not afraid. On the animal planet website there is a cat section that might help
http://animal.discovery.com/cat-guide/cat-care/index-tab-03.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
When we brought Chester home 2 years ago our cats were not happy. They had grown up with dogs but have never had a puppy to deal with. Our cat boxes are in the basement as well but to solve the gate problem we cut a cat size hole in the plastic gate just large enough for the cats to fit but not puppy so no need to jump over and they could get away quicker. Also it has been a long time since we have had this problem but if you have a cat that is going places they shouldn't try locking them in the room with litterbox (and food & water) for a few days to retrain them to use box...also have at least 2 boxes per cat,(we have 4 litter boxes with 2 cats all lined up in same place in laundry room) keep very clean and maybe different litters brands as well. Hope one of these things helps, can't hurt to try.
Yes, I thought of locking her in the laundry room with the litterbox, food and water....but then I'd have to lock my siamese in there as well. I'd feel bad about that - he sleeps with me. And them being in close quarters like that - I know they'd fight. They tolerate each other from a distance, but if either of them is too close to the other, the fur flies.

Again, the gate problem is now solved. She does go over the gate both ways without a problem. Its just that she developed the bad habit while trying to learn the gate and now she won't quit it. She goes over that gate like a champ now, getting to her food.

Kris
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Is it possible to set up a long table in the basement that Duffy can't get up on and remove the gate? Litter at one end and food way at the other end. You don't even need a table. You can put a large plank of wood over full storage boxes or totes stacked up - fuctional and a space saver. I had to do something similar with my cats littler boxes but was able to keep their food on top of the dryer.
That is a great idea, but we really need to keep Duffy out of the basement. I have teens who are horrible about keeping junk food around (yes, I'm working on training them). It is pretty much a given that there will be a bag of chips or some other junk left out where D can get at it. Our basement is quite big, just way too much for him to get in trouble down there. I don't want him to have access.

I thought our solution was going to be to cut a kitty hole in the basement door so the cats could get down there and we could remove the gate. But again....the problem is no longer that she CAN'T get down there. Because she now eats down there. ALL her food is in the basement on the other side of the gate. I have seen her flip over that gate in the blink of an eye, no problem.

The problem is now, that she just won't go down there to poop and pee! She would just rather do it anywhere else in the house.
 

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Again, the gate problem is now solved. She does go over the gate both ways without a problem. Its just that she developed the bad habit while trying to learn the gate and now she won't quit it. She goes over that gate like a champ now, getting to her food.

Kris
I think Johanna stated that it could be uncomfortable jumping over the gate when she has to go to the bathroom. I'm sure it is.

Why not at least try moving the gate up a little so she can squeeze under??
 

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The problem is now, that she just won't go down there to poop and pee! She would just rather do it anywhere else in the house.
I'm not trying to be snarky, so please don't take it that way, but would you want to be required to jump over a hurdle every single time you have to poop or pee?
 

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Again just a thought .... maybe she can do it but she doesn't like to do it. Cat are weird like that. I would try everything to retrain her if she were mine.
Also the vet once told me not to put litter and food to close together....
 

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Once a cat determines that a certain spot has become a 'potty area' it can be very hard to break the habit. They rely on scent even more so than dogs so you might need to buy Nature's Miracle for cats and use a ton of it over the spots she's gone. Even if there is no odor that you can detect...Cowboy can. One of my older cats had this issue a few years ago in a carpeted room and we could not break her of it until we replaced the carpet.

Another thought...how close are the littler box and the food in the basement? If close, that might be the issue. I'm not sure if this goes for all cats but I know our cats do not like their food near their litter or vice versa.

Maybe try putting the litter back up on the first floor and see if that helps. Even in a closet. One of our littler boxes is in the bottom of a linen closet and its the most popular litter box in the house. :)

They make gates nowadays that are regular height and then have a little door in the bottom you can open up so that a small animal can fit through but a large animal cannot. I don't know exactly what they are called but I do know they sell them at Petsmart.

Good luck. I've had both dogs and cats for years and it can be quite the balancing act.
 

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Our baby gates have a door built in for cats. Have you tried one of those?
 

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Once a cat determines that a certain spot has become a 'potty area' it can be very hard to break the habit. They rely on scent even more so than dogs so you might need to buy Nature's Miracle for cats and use a ton of it over the spots she's gone. Even if there is no odor that you can detect...Cowboy can. One of my older cats had this issue a few years ago in a carpeted room and we could not break her of it until we replaced the carpet.

Another thought...how close are the littler box and the food in the basement? If close, that might be the issue. I'm not sure if this goes for all cats but I know our cats do not like their food near their litter or vice versa.

Maybe try putting the litter back up on the first floor and see if that helps. Even in a closet. One of our littler boxes is in the bottom of a linen closet and its the most popular litter box in the house. :)

They make gates nowadays that are regular height and then have a little door in the bottom you can open up so that a small animal can fit through but a large animal cannot. I don't know exactly what they are called but I do know they sell them at Petsmart.

Good luck. I've had both dogs and cats for years and it can be quite the balancing act.
We had a similar problem with one of our cats after his little kitty girlfriend passed away he kept peeing in one corner and we had to clean it really well and block off the area so he couldn't get to it.

Another one of our cats loves to go poop right outside his litterbox...we call them his "offerings". LOL

Since we got Teddy we purchased two gates that have little doors for the cats.
 
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