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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > peeing problems, feeling hopeless
Last Post by LittlePuffyTail at 10/28/2012 5:54 AM (18 Replies)
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User is Offline pippakins
24 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2012 2:48 PM

I admit, Pippa hasn't been the easiest of the 3 rabbits I've had.  I'm used to bun's being curious and a little difficult but she seems to take it to a new level for me.

Her most recent problem is that she won't stop peeing in certain spots in her cage, to the left of her litter box and in the middle of her 3x4x3 nic condo.  She's also pooping everywhere, which she never used to do.  She does occasionally miss the box so we've always had the cage on top of a plastic table cloth.  For some reason instead of getting in the box and turning around like she used to, she just jumps in so her butt sometimes hangs over the front.  That I'm willing to forgive but the rest is pushing me to my breaking point   I just caught her in the act, resulting in her being squirted and hiding in her house.  And me being a very upset and frustrated bunny momma.

She was spayed over a year ago and she's always had good litter box habits.  The box is about as long and wide as one square of the condo.  She is around 2 years old now.

We did move about 4 months ago, and she had a bit of a protest period, especially because we were very unfortunate to move somewhere that still had construction going on.  That lasted a little more than a month, and she stopped.  When we first moved she would only do it once, but now it's multiple times in the same spots (I've cleaned up pee 4 times today).  I usually wipe it up and use cage cleaner, tonight I cleaned with vinegar.  Her box is changed every other day.

I have not taken her to see a vet because it doesn't seem to be like a bladder problem, but maybe someone else here knows more about it to know more warning signs.   It isn't like a dribble where she may be having control problems, and she doesn't seem to be straining or in any pain.  Since I just caught her I saw that she does in fact hop to the spot and start peeing.  And at least this time, there was no unusual noise, people, or smells so I don't know what she'd be upset about.

That turned out a lot longer than I expected but I'm trying to think of all the details I can that might help you all help me.  At least I hope so. 


User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2012 3:22 PM
Unfortunately -- you may have to just re-litter train her. During her "protest period" did she get away with peeing everywhere? If so, then she'll probably need to be re-trained because she thinks it's okay.

I, also, seem to be going through this with ALL three of my buns so don't give up on your little girl. It's frustrating now but if you make the appropriate changes (cleaning up immediately, vinegaring, cleaning, ect) it WILL eventually get better. It just make take time and re training litter habits is much more frustrating so I feel your frustration!

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User is Offline pippakins
24 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2012 3:37 PM
I've never actually caught her doing it before tonight, so I didn't want to squirt her for something that didn't just happen. There has been a few times where it looks like she's raising her tail and shaking the water bottle is enough to get her attention. She usually knows she's in trouble anyway and hides in her house. She still uses her box the majority of the time, so usually the spots only happen once or twice overnight and I find it when I wake up. I'll start refreshing my litter-training skills though.

User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2012 3:48 PM
Same thing with my buns. They've backtracked so bad (I have a bonded trio) and I can't figure out for the life of me why! I've given up finding much of a hope besides they just need retraining. Maybe try the trick of wiping up the spot with a paper towel and throwing it in her litter box. That litter trained my girl right away so hopefully it'll help us (or you!) again!
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User is Offline pippakins
24 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 3:39 AM
I woke up this morning and found no pee, which makes me very happy but doesn't mean it's over by any means. We'll see what happens when I come home from work this evening. Next time I find pee though I'll definitely put the towels in the box. Don't know why I didn't start doing that in the first place? Especially since I put it in the bathroom trash bin since it's taken out more often, such a horrible smell in there when it's fresh... Maybe because she seems to eat everything, including the litter she can reach when her box is freshly changed, so I doubt she'd hesitate to eat the towels too.

User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 6:11 AM
Paper towels are safe if she does decide to munch on them though so it's perfectly okay! Hopefully she'll figure out THATS where you want her to go. I woke up to no accidents either! Hopefully we're both on a good track -- but not going to lie, it's nice having someone else to talk to about this since they've already been litter-trained it's insanely frustrating! It's confusing when there's so many things, health reasons and behavioral, that can make a bun do this that it's overwhelming even figuring out what direction to go in.
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User is Offline lmais
272 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 7:08 AM
Do you squirt her with just a spray bottle? I've been trying to find ways to get Ruby to stop peeing on my bed - it's the only place she goes other than her litter box - but every time I try to shoo her back to her litter box she just dances away!

User is Offline Skipper's Mama
Florida
1252 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 9:02 AM
Have you thought of getting Pippa a bigger box with higher edges so her butt scooting won't be a problem. If a bun has an issue with a litter box their litter habits will tank.

User is Offline pippakins
24 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 11:52 AM
tanlover- unfortunately, she peed once before I left (caught her, got sprayed, put towel in box and cleaned) and I found another spot just now and did the same but without the spray. I doubt it would be effective other than getting her mad at me when it's not something that just happened. So I don't think the link between the punishment and the act would happen. Hopefully your buns did better than mine today!

Imais- Yeah I have a small spray bottle. Sometimes even shaking the water in it will stop her when she knows she's done something wrong. It's actually really funny, because there's times where she knows shes in trouble, so she binkies around so my bf and I won't be as mad.. it works sometimes... But whenever she nibbles on the walls, or digs where she shouldn't, or now if I catch her peeing, she gets a few squirts. Then she runs back to her cage and cleans up.

Skipper- We originally did have a smaller box, so we moved her to a bigger one. Both the boxes we currently have (though she doesn't use the one anymore) have high backs. At some point I'm probably going to get a cat box that has higher sides all around. She used to back too far up, leading us to get the high backs, now she decided she doesn't need to turn around all the time. So since the front of boxes are lower so they can get in and out easily, she misses.

User is Offline lmais
272 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 2:14 PM
I got a cat pan for Ruby as well, it's a regular height but it has a piece that clips on on top which makes it really convenient for cleaning. That helped to get her to use her box when I first started training her. I need to go get a spray bottle!

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14979 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 2:51 PM
Imais- Yeah I have a small spray bottle. Sometimes even shaking the water in it will stop her when she knows she's done something wrong. It's actually really funny, because there's times where she knows shes in trouble, so she binkies around so my bf and I won't be as mad.. it works sometimes... But whenever she nibbles on the walls, or digs where she shouldn't, or now if I catch her peeing, she gets a few squirts. Then she runs back to her cage and cleans up.


Mmm... Be careful it doesn't become a form of play for her. Lol

Is it just the one box in her cage? Is there room to add a second to the place she is favouring?

I wonder if its still related to your move or position of her cage in the new place?
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline pippakins
24 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 5:16 PM
There's two boxes in her cage in both front corners. She used to use the other corner box when her hay was over top of it, but she started consistently peeing over the edge after she ate her hay. So instead I put the hay on the floor of the upper level of her cage. Oddly, she hardly ever poops up where her hay is, which is opposite of how she used to be. Where she's liking going now isn't the easiest place to put a box, but it could be done. I might try that next. Today the pee towels got put in her litter box, but for some reason the smell was insanely strong. Like really burning my nose and giving me a headache (maybe just because it was fresh pee?). So I ended up just changing the soiled parts of the litter.

I wouldn't be all that surprised if it was still because of the new surroundings. It was a lot of change at once because she got a new cage set up and a new apartment (which was also recently painted, and had another apartment on the same floor being worked on, and.... ugh). I knew right away that was why it started, I was expecting something like that to happen. But it stopped for at least a month or two so I thought it was done. Though I know some buns take a lot longer than others to adjust. It definitely wasn't under the same circumstances but the first time we moved she was settled after about a week and a half.

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14979 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2012 7:41 PM
The strong urine smell you might have to keep an eye on.
Is she drinking enough water? Does she use a bottle or crock?

Interesting about the renovations upstairs. I think HRS article on littering problems says about a rabbit associating the box with frightening event. Because that's where they were when startled.

Since she's peering in middle of the condo, do you think it's possible she's finding it "safer"? Like she has room each side to bolt if needed?
Also, is this spot anywhere near the doorway if her condo?
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline pippakins
24 posts Send Private Message
10/25/2012 3:30 AM
I thought about that last night actually. Wondering how strong is too strong. My first bun was an unaltered boy for several years before we got a companion, so his smell was rather pungent. I've only noticed such a strong smell once before and that was when when several pee spots soaked into the wood we use as the levels for her cage. Did a baking soda/vinegar soak and that got rid of it. Or I missed box day 2 or 3 days. I recently finally actually cleaned the box itself, which I admit I've been neglecting but it's now on my calendar to do on a monthly basis. The smell when I changed it was horrid but it's gone away since. But I'm definitely keeping it in mind. I found a vet that's recommended by a nearby rabbit rescue (luv-n-bunns if anyone knows it) but haven't gone there yet.

I remember reading something about that with people who are trying to litter train but sort of scare the bun into the box, that they can associate it with something bad happening. I don't recall seeing her run to or be in the box when she was scared, but maybe I just overlooked it. There was a lot going on for a while, though thankfully it's finally calmed down for the most part.

I never would've thought about the middle part being safer. The cage is 3 panels in the front, so its happening by the third panel on the left, and 4 panels long, so it's happening in the middle of the 4 panels. So it's not near the door, except for last night when she peed in front of me after I had to put her back in her cage. There's also a doorway in the back but she's never peed near there. I told her I wished she would start thumping or growling again (she used to a LOT) when she was mad instead of peeing. lol

Oh, and she seems to be drinking pretty regularly.  She drank more previously, but it was the summer... but she's still drinking.  We use a bottle because she insists on throwing her food and water if it's in even a heavy container.


User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
10/25/2012 6:01 AM
I have to agree with Jerseygirl, make sure she's not associating it with playing. I swear, every since we started using the water bottle for them being naughty -- sometimes they'll nip at the carpet and then as soon as they hear the water bottle they'll run away binkying and kicking their little feet everywhere. Such pains!

I would also be a tad bit worried about the strong smell. Mine only had strong urine before they were neutered and spayed.

And no such luck with my buns being better -- one of them had peed outside the litter box in their bunny condo again! Back to the bunny litter training basics. Thankfully, since I've made their play area outside the pen smaller they've been better about the outside litter box. Not sure when I should make it bigger though. They had one accident on Sunday with my boyfriend but we had moved the play area so I could clean the bunny condo so maybe that was why?
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User is Offline pippakins
24 posts Send Private Message
10/26/2012 3:08 AM

I was so happy yesterday, she didn't pee once! until 11:59 pm... but then I woke up this morning with no pees either, so she got a treat. What else would you suggest instead of a water bottle? making a noise or clapping doesn't work, it has no affect on her anymore. I've never noticed the smell except when I missed a box day or lately when I've been putting the towels back in the box but it still bothers me that something may be wrong.

Before my boyfriend went to school this morning we were sitting watching her while she was nibbling her carrot, and at one point he said she kept lifting her tail like she was going to pee, but then shaking her body and hopping away. I personally have never seen this before and I couldn't get a more clear description of what was going on out of him.  He doesn't spend as much time with her and watching her to be more clear about if it's normal or not, so there may be something going on here that I'm not seeing... I'm gonna start watching her a lot closer, but I think at least a call to the vet may be in order


User is Offline lmais
272 posts Send Private Message
10/26/2012 3:30 AM
My vet often won't mind answering any worries I have over the phone, and only make an appointment if necessary. She had recommended that I shake a jar of pennies when she's about to pee on the bed, but she would just look at me and pee anyways. I'm actually taking her for a check up in a few days, I'm going to ask again while I'm there, maybe we can get some more insight on this.

User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
10/26/2012 8:26 AM
I agree with lmais -- my vet will actually e-mail or phone call back and forth with me whenever I have a question. It's become very useful so maybe you could establish some sort of relationship like this with your vet also.
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User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11693 posts Send Private Message
10/28/2012 5:54 AM
My vet is the same way. She doesn't mind my e-mails and always encourages me to contact her if I'm ever concerned about anything. And I do. Often.
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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