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Cats/Elderly cat and litter tray issues


I moved house four months ago, going to the opposite end of the country.  I have a 16yr old cat who lived primarily out of doors, only coming in to feed and an occasional cuddle when it was cold or wet.

Three days prior to the move I had to catch him (no easy thing as builders had moved on to the site and he was very disturbed) and take him to a cattery until the day of travelling.  The journey went without a hitch.

A few days later he developed a 'cold' with lots of sneezing and watery eyes.  As the move took place over Christmas and we had no phone we weren't able to find a vet until the New Year but the days we took him to the vets one eye ruptured and had to be removed.

He's made a brilliant recovery and is a total gentleman, becoming a real lap cat and very fond of cuddles from all of the family #if I didn't know any better I could be forgiven in thinking he was a completely different cat#!

Bearing in mind his age, new surroundings and now only half his vision I have not hurried him into venturing out into the garden but he now does spend a couple of hours each day out in the fresh air - he was such a country cat before the move.

My question is, we have a litter tray inside but I was rather hoping that now he spends more time outside that he might 'do his business' outside too - but he appears to save it until he's back in the house.  Also, he is very careful about using the tray but sadly sometimes seems to miss cos he's overhanging the tray with his back end.

Sadly he won't use a catflap, having had a bad incident with one as a kitten - the flap has to be permanently wedged open for him to use it, he just won't 'use his head'!

Is there any gentle way that I could persuade him to 'go'  outside or is this a security thing - feeling vulnerable outside with only one eye whilst sitting there contemplating his navel?

Many thanks.

well the poor old chap has been through a lot lately hasn't he?

In my view I think that it is just a time issue for him, ie the more he goes out and gets used to the outside again and his new disability he will gradually find his confidence again. You could also try getting a larger tray or a covered one temporarily to try and stop the accidents.

My old cat was a bit like this as she got older she would go out but when it was cold would wait to use the litter tray inside, but as soon as spring came the behavior reverted to going outside all the time, although we always had a tray for emergencies.

i think it is just a confidence thing with your cat and this should build over time.

you could also make sure that he goes out after his breakfast first thing in the morning as this is a time they will want to go and again after regular meals during the day. If you start this routine he will get used to it and the litter tray will hopefully be only needed in emergencies.

Best wishes Kate


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Kate Tilmouth


I can answer most day to day cat problems encountered by owners. I have a good understanding of cat behaviour and problems which may arise from changes to their daily routine. I can advise on cat training including litter training and general day to day cat care issues. I am not a vet and therefore cannot answer medical questions.


I run my own cat website at and have been a dedicated cat owner for over 20 years. I have encountered many different cat problems and situations and feel that i have a good understanding of cats and cat ownership.

I am a platinum member of Ezinearticles where i write mainly cat related articles.

Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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