Can you teach old cats new tricks?

My mom is redoing her bathroom. While that may sound very fancy, please keep in mind that it is actually her ONLY bathroom, and has never been updated the entire time she’s lived there, save for some well-meaning wall painting I once started and never finished. And it’s rather small. Despite the fact that it’s rather small, she also shares it with the kitties’ shitbox and food dishes. I’m not sure at what point we decided this was a good place for these (I was 16 and living at home then so I have to assume part of the blame), or how much smaller the bathroom must have felt sharing it with two cats and a teenager, but this is where it has remained for two cats and 15 years.

Fatty making the stinkface.

Fatty making the stinkface.

Now, Fatty is, well, fat. And gettin’ up there in years. He also has longish hair and he’s too fat to lick his butt. Little is just weird. One of them is peeing/pooping outside the box at random intervals. Clean box, no less. This is, of course, frustrating, but I think it’s a frequent occurrence

What’s my dearly beloved madre planning to do, she says?

Have a cat door built in the back door so that they have free access to the sun porch and put the box out there.

This, on the surface, seems like a splendid idea. Fatty always runs (he’s pretty freaking fast for his size) out the back door when it’s open and chills out there. It’s totally enclosed, and other than not being insulated or air conditioned, it ensures the kitties remain indoor ones (as they all should be).

But. The ages of these cats. I don’t know that you can just pick up and move a litterbox that’s been in one place for as long as they’ve been alive. And while I can see Fatty venturing out through this new door, Little spends all his time hiding. He’s really not very adventurous. I’ve been trying to think about what Jackson Galaxy would say, and all I can think of is that he would say something like humans live around cats, not the other way around, so don’t stress them out by moving everything around. However, he HAS had people on the show move boxes around. And wouldn’t the kitties feel better doing their business without a human doing THEIR business staring at them?

So what do you think? Are they too old to move the crapboxes around? Or will they adapt? Will they like the cat door? What happens if only one of them likes the cat door? How big is the cat door going to have to be to accommodate Fatty?

Lookit this giant fleshy mound of fur.

Lookit this giant fleshy mound of fur.

This is the first time I’ve ever had (yeah, they’re still mine even though I don’t live with them anymore) a cat this old, so I don’t know how set in their ways they are. I rely on you, dear readers, with your multitudes of cats and experiences. Don’t let me down.

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2 comments

  1. Boomdeeadda

    That’s a tricky one. If the cats have good habits it’s probably not an issue. We moved into this rental and worried a bit but they’ve never had any accidents. I guess If you have to move it, maybe think about putting their food and water near by. Because you know they’re going to find that and then maybe have the notion to wander over to the box.

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